DELAWARE - Severe snow and ice storms in Delaware often cause numerous downed trees. The dried trees create extreme forest fuel loading which contributes to major fires in Delaware pine forests on an annual basis. These conditions lead to extra budget demands for personnel overtime, aircraft rentals for suppression, and reimbursement of volunteer equipment damage and losses.
A reduction in loss to State forest lands is obtainable through an elevation in readiness, public warnings, fire bans and restrictions, and budgeting for manpower before fires occur. The Fire Weather Monitoring Stations project was submitted with the support of the State of Delaware, FEMA, and the Delaware Department of Agriculture. Contact with the US Forest Service and other state forestry groups provided data for justification of the project.
The estimated value of one acre of good timber is approximately $1,500. Between 1989 and 1992, Delaware lost about 40 acres to fire. Installation of the system will cut response time by 10 percent and acreage loss to about four acres. Since the installation of the project, Delaware has not experienced a fire season that would exercise the system.