US plans reimagine fighting wildfires amid crews’ virus risk

News May 12, 2020

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US plans reimagine fighting wildfires amid crews’ virus risk

REGIONAL | By REBECCA BOONE (AP) — New plans offer a national re-imagining of how to fight wildfires amid the risk of the coronavirus spreading through crews. But it’s not clear how officials will get the testing and equipment needed to keep firefighters safe in what’s expected to be a difficult fire season.

A U.S. group last week released broad guidelines to consider when sending crews to blazes. Different parts of the country can tailor the guidelines, which include having firefighters camp in smaller groups and keeping crews separated.

A letter from lawmakers says the U.S. Forest Service determined that large fire camps could have a disproportionately high mortality rate in worst-case scenarios. Agency officials say that risk assessment is “outdated.”

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