Fire season will arrive regardless of the virus

Fire season will arrive regardless of the virus

Our world has changed! The COVID-19 virus is presenting a novel challenge to our communities and first responders and at this time has no expiration date.

We must adapt our wildfire management practices as well, starting now. We must recognize that the 2020 “fire season” Owill come and go regardless of the virus.

California residents are all too familiar with our wildfire problem and our State’s wildfire response system may become stressed due to COVID-19 issues. That means we all need to consider adapting our evacuation planning also. Historically, communities and first responders prepare for a wildfire and then respond to the fire’s complexities. This has been a rather localized practice with localized involvement. History has shown that there has always been some type of “reserve capacity” available in the system to combat the challenges.

Today with COVID-19, we have no choice but to begin thinking outside the box on how we will address our wildfire challenges. It is unknown how stressed our firefighting response system may be when wildfires occur; therefore, we should all take responsibility now. Time is of the essence in preparing for the heightened fire season, and the pandemic situation only exacerbates the urgency and challenges our individual and collective ability for success.

We’ve talked in the past about having a plan including evacuation. Think now about that plan with the “social distancing” and “stay at home” directives. Your evacuation plan may have to include scenarios in which there are no shelters, no schools or parks open. You might have to stay in your car somewhere. What additional items would you need? Think about this and add to your “to go” bags.

Life is full of the unexpected and how we react to the unexpected determines our fate/success. We can begin to address the impending wildfire and COVID-19 challenges today. We must improvise, overcome and think outside of the box. The intent of this article is to generate contingency thinking in the face of the COVID-19 impacts. Stay safe and healthy

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