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: Oct 1, 2020 10:54 AM

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.

Cases: 173626

Reported Deaths: 2457
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah34641566
Washington23309229
Marion20037299
Clackamas15216204
Lane11478144
Jackson9846127
Umatilla795383
Deschutes698772
Linn410763
Yamhill407074
Malheur342558
Polk341752
Klamath340859
Josephine304262
Douglas302765
Benton272518
Jefferson205932
Coos196631
Columbia153326
Union141124
Lincoln129720
Wasco128628
Hood River112429
Morrow107815
Clatsop8838
Crook86819
Baker85114
Curry5919
Tillamook5763
Lake4137
Grant4044
Harney3046
Wallowa1575
Sherman570
Gilliam551
Wheeler251
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3714587

Reported Deaths: 60922
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122811823601
Riverside2972154525
San Bernardino2944644544
San Diego2745663662
Orange2687624886
Santa Clara1167722013
Kern1077641317
Sacramento1010581646
Fresno1004311642
Alameda850891475
Ventura802301000
San Joaquin714311334
Contra Costa66839781
Stanislaus603061028
Tulare49383829
Monterey43260352
San Mateo41050560
San Francisco35947517
Santa Barbara33830446
Solano31875239
Merced31196452
Sonoma29632311
Imperial27920718
Kings22755245
Placer21751283
San Luis Obispo20917256
Madera16234239
Santa Cruz15554203
Marin13851226
Yolo13547199
Shasta11677217
Butte11529196
El Dorado9688109
Napa965479
Sutter9268109
Yuba609844
San Benito596963
Lassen566624
Tehama543056
Nevada444775
Tuolumne406664
Mendocino398747
Amador361646
Humboldt358737
Lake339943
Glenn235425
Colusa219216
Calaveras205551
Siskiyou194021
Inyo141738
Del Norte12747
Mono12734
Plumas6906
Modoc4884
Mariposa4197
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned610
Medford
Partly Cloudy
80° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 78°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 46°
Medford
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 78°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
80° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 78°
Klamath Falls
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 69°
Very warm Sunday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events