Coronavirus safety guidelines create challenges for wildland firefighters in Oregon

  • Source: KATU-TV ABC 2 Portland
  • Published: 06/29/2020 12:00 AM

Firefighters were called to Rowena on Sunday after a wildfire started. It's the first of the 2020 wildfire season, and the first time some crews had to work under the CDC's coronavirus guidelines. From the ground, Rick Fletcher with the Oregon Department of Forestry, helped coordinate crews fighting the fire. Not only did he have to make sure crews had all the resources they need, they also had to make sure crews were keeping as much distance as possible from each other - but that caused some problems. "It's extremely difficult," explained Fletcher. "The wind makes it hard to hear, so when you need to hear critical information or listen to your radio to make sure things are going right, it definitely poses a challenge. It's very difficult to space apart." As another precaution, crews on the hill are kept in specific units to lessen their contact with others.


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