Challenges of fighting wildfires during pandemic
TRI-CITIES, WA-Like most things in 2020 how firefighters fight major wildfires in Washington will be different due to COVID-19. 
 
With the amount of people it takes to fight a major wildfire the biggest issue fire crews may run into is how to set up a command post. Fire crews from across the state typically eat, sleep and rest at the command post when they aren't fighting the fire. In the era of social distancing figuring out how to effectively socially distance dozens of crews presents a challenge.
 
"A typical wild land fire can have 100 to 250 firefighters in a camp for up to 14 days fighting some of these wildfires," said Chief Mike Harris, the fire chief of Franklin County Fire District 3. 
 
Preparing for fire season has also experienced some issues. Fire simulations and trainings across the state have been canceled and firefighters who received training last year didn't get the full experience because of a slow fire season. Fire crews will have to rely on leadership from veterans and the training they have been doing in the meantime. 
 
"We have had to do small groups no more than five we had to do video training on computers in their home so we haven’t been able to get together and prepare like we have in the past," said Chief Harris. 
 
Fire crews will also use PPE, hand sanitizer and properly sanitize all equipment. If any firefighter is showing symptoms,  they won't be allow to fight the fire and sent home.   

Recommended for you