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Firefighting in the time of COVID-19

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Town Crier “Briefs from the Region” (1) – 8/25/20

The fire outlook for August is above average in nine states. We’re also still in the midst of a global pandemic that requires distance to prevent spread. A lack of tests are preventing rapid testing of firefighters as they arrive and teams are required to work in close quarters in order to respond to a fire. “If simultaneous fires incurred outbreaks, the entire wildland response system could be stressed substantially, with a large portion of the workforce quarantined,” wrote a study by the Colorado State University and the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station. While guidelines such as screening, isolating crews and disinfecting shared areas regularly have been implemented, it only takes one case to shut down an entire crew. While more than 15,000 firefighters and support personnel are assigned to fires across the nation this month, the success of those COVID-19 prevention protocols depend on them.

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