Delaware Wildland Fire Program
Are you interested in participating in an adventure of a lifetime? Would you like to help protect human lives, property and precious natural resources during a national crisis? Do you have the mental fortitude, physical stamina and work flexibility to spend 14 days on a fireline far from home?
Every year, millions of acres of forests, marshes, and grasslands across the United States are ravaged by wildfire. But thanks to a training program sponsored by the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and the Delaware State Fire School, Delawareans from across the state can qualify to serve on national fire crews.
Since 1996, the Delaware Forest Service has trained more than 600 volunteer firefighters, and now every fire season deploys 20-person crews for out-of-state wildfire assignments. The program is growing and in need of additional firefighters who are interested in assisting the national effort to control and contain devastating wildfires. Delaware used to send one crew a year, but now can send multiple crews. In 2013, two separate crews fought fires in Alaska, Utah, and Idaho.
July 5: Delaware sends 20-person crew to battle wildfire near North Pole, Alaska
July 9: Update on Delaware wildfire crew in Alaska
Aug 9: Delaware sending wildfire crew to Utah in response to large fires in West
Aug. 21: First State firefighters battle blaze in Idaho’s Payette National Forest
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Am I eligible to join?
Eligible crew members must be 18 years or older, complete all four training courses (see below), pass a work-capacity pack test, be willing to travel for at least two weeks, have a commitment to serving the public and work well with others.
- I-100, Introduction to Incident Command System
- L-180, Human Factors in the Wildland Fire Service
- S-130 Firefighter Training
- S-190 Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior
- In addition, an annual work capacity (physical fitness) test is required. To qualify, you must carry a 45-pound pack over a three-mile course in under 45 minutes. A health screen questionnaire must be completed prior to taking the test.
Q. Where do the crews work?
Delaware wildland fire crews have worked on assignments in many states, including California, Florida, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.
Q. What are the benefits from joining the program?
- Camaraderie: You will be part of a well-organized and highly efficient team of dedicated wildland firefighters with whom you will share unique life experiences.
- Adventure: No two assignments are exactly alike, but you can be sure that the crew will work in a picturesque area with challenging terrain features that offer spectacular vistas.
- Experience: Your newly-acquired wildland fire knowledge and skills will improve your effectiveness in in-state incidents, including fire in the wildland/urban area.
- NIMS Compliance: All firefighters work under the Incident Command System, and you will see first-hand how this system operates on a large scale.
- Leadership: Advanced training for future roles at the squad boss and crew boss level are available for interested firefighters.
- Financial Gain: Every firefighter position is fully paid. A typical 16-day tour of duty will usually average between 220 and 250 working hours.
Q. How do I apply or learn more?
Contact the Delaware Forest Service at (302) 698-4500, or write to 2320 South DuPont Highway, Dover, DE 19901.