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Firefighters prepare for early fire season amid COVID-19

Firefighters prepare for an early fire season while preparing to fight wildfires during a global pandemic.

Posted: Apr 22, 2020 5:30 PM
Updated: Apr 22, 2020 6:53 PM

Firefighters say they’re seeing more and more grass fires as we inch closer to warmer months. One of the main causes for fires in Southern Oregon during this time of year are private burns that get out of control.

Oregon Department of Forestry is asking rural residents to hold off on burning because of our current dry and warm conditions.
“The smart advice is to postpone burning projects until this fall,” said Brian Ballou, ODF’s public information officer.

Although it has not been declared to be fire season for Southern Oregon the conditions are right for fires to spread quickly. The problem is that spring is usually one of the few times for property owners to clear underbrush and burn fire fuels, creating defensible space around their homes. Ballou says it’s still a good idea to create burn piles and clear underbrush, they are just suggesting you wait until fall to burn.

According to Ballou, if you start a fire that gets out of control you could be help financially responsible for firefighting costs.

As we do get closer to fire season and firefighters warn of an early season, fire agencies are working to solve another problem; fire-fighting during a pandemic.

COVID-19 has caused some changes for structural firefighters already and right now multiple agencies are working to identify ways to best protect firefighters, not only from the dangers of their job but also the dangers of the virus.

“Agencies are looking into what they can do to prepare for that. It’s definitely going to be a challenge,” said Prince.

Ballou shared some of the steps that are being considered and implemented by ODF, “Spacing, reducing the number of people who travel in the same vehicle, wearing facemasks when they’re all in the same vehicle, facemasks possibly when they’re out on the fire line,” said Ballou, “I think it's going to be a plan that's pretty fluid and refined as reality steps in and we try to figure out how to do our best."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 11188

Reported Deaths: 230
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah269472
Marion174353
Washington172020
Clackamas91427
Umatilla8867
Union3671
Lincoln3634
Lane2713
Malheur2661
Deschutes2290
Yamhill1719
Linn16810
Polk16812
Jackson1640
Jefferson1450
Morrow1321
Klamath1311
Wasco1021
Benton996
Hood River990
Douglas560
Clatsop550
Josephine541
Coos520
Columbia470
Lake240
Crook171
Tillamook150
Wallowa120
Curry90
Baker80
Sherman30
Harney20
Gilliam10
Grant10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 302484

Reported Deaths: 6859
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1249923690
Riverside23334533
Orange21517402
San Diego18402415
San Bernardino17414304
Imperial7654127
Fresno762787
Alameda7407146
San Joaquin606567
Kern597989
Santa Clara5678166
Tulare5509148
Sacramento493278
Stanislaus436450
Contra Costa435788
San Francisco414550
Ventura409353
Santa Barbara386829
San Mateo3787111
Marin322730
Kings285539
Monterey234317
Solano198527
Merced179312
Sonoma151914
Placer99311
San Luis Obispo8774
Madera8578
Yolo80228
Santa Cruz5063
Napa4664
Sutter3374
Butte3194
San Benito3112
El Dorado2920
Lassen2690
Shasta1766
Yuba1633
Humboldt1614
Glenn1590
Nevada1591
Mendocino1070
Colusa1030
Lake1011
Tehama981
Calaveras610
Tuolumne600
Del Norte580
Mono491
Amador360
Inyo341
Siskiyou330
Mariposa311
Plumas150
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
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Hi: 92° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 63°
Brookings
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 54°
Crater Lake
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 58°
Grants Pass
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 63°
Klamath Falls
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 58°
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