NPR

Wildfires Are First Big Test To COVID-19 Firefighter Safety Plans

Thousands of firefighters are deployed to dangerous megafires in the West, the first big tests to the added safety protocols fire managers scrambled to get in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Firefighters in the valley area of Vacaville, in northern California, during the LNU Lightning Complex fire on Aug. 19, 2020. Source: Josh Edelson

When firefighter Ahri Cornelius got the call that his Missoula, Mont., based crew was deploying to central California, he had some reservations.

They'd be traveling from a rural state with a relatively low infection rate to California, a coronavirus hot spot. Cornelius also has a three-year-old toddler back home with a preexisting lung condition.

"Coming down here and knowing that you're going to be around this many people in such a busy setting definitely stirred up quite a bit of anxiety for all of us," Cornelius

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