Fire crews leave Delaware to help battle wildfires in California

"Love to help as much as I can," said Justin Sauble, from Delaware Wildfire Crew.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2022
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Crews are driving across the country for four days to the Klamath National Forrest where a wildfire has grown to around 60,379 acres.

SMYRNA, Delaware (WPVI) -- Twenty members of Delaware's Wildfire Crew packed up their gear in Smyrna, Delaware at Blackbird State Forest, and headed out to Northern California to help battle the wildfires there.

The group will be self-contained, as they packed all the equipment that they'll need. They are funded through a combination of federal funding through the U. S. Forest Service and state funds.

"The heat is very tough, we encourage everyone to maintain as high a level of physical fitness as they can. That's the best mitigating factor we have against the heat," said Sam Topper, a crew representative.

Crews are driving across the country for four days to the Klamath National Forrest where a wildfire has grown to around 60,379 acres. The trucks they're in will help reach places that fire trucks can't to battle the McKinney Fire in a national firefighting effort.

"Love to help as much as I can," said Justin Sauble, from Delaware Wildfire Crew.

Crews have battled wildfires in other parts of the country before, but what makes this mission especially challenging is the terrain.

"Extremely steep extremely rugged terrain very difficult to operate in which is why they call crews along with the engines to get to those difficult to reach places," said Topper.

The call came in yesterday and the men are on the road today. Each day could have around 16 hours of work, which is why they'll carry a line bag with them on the job.

"In here I'll just carry, you know, I have my own personal medical supplies, pliers, battery for my phone," said Eric Brown, from Delaware Wildfire Crew.

The group plans to spend 14 days in California doing different work throughout the weeks.

"We'll assist in doing what's called line work where we're cutting in some lines, trenches, just to prevent the fire from being able to spread that way," said Brown.

The group plans to be back in Delaware in 22 days. They say that crews from across the country come here if we need help in the spring and fall, which is Delaware's wildfire season.