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Potential COVID-19 Outbreak in Fire Camp: Modeling Scenarios and Interventions

Sciprofile linkMatthew P Thompson, Sciprofile linkJude Bayham, Sciprofile linkErin Belval
Published: 1 August 2020
 by  MDPI
 in Fire
Fire , Volume 3; doi:10.3390/fire3030038

Abstract: The global COVID-19 pandemic will pose unique challenges to the management of wildland fire in 2020. Fire camps may provide an ideal setting for the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. However, intervention strategies can help minimize disease spread and reduce the risk to the firefighting community. We developed a COVID-19 epidemic model to highlight the risks posed by the disease during wildland fire incidents. Our model accounts for the transient nature of the population on a wildland fire incident, which poses unique risks to the management of communicable diseases in fire camps. We used the model to assess the impact of two types of interventions: the screening of a firefighter arriving on an incident, and social distancing measures. Our results suggest that both interventions are important to mitigate the risks posed by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, screening is relatively more effective on short incidents, whereas social distancing is relatively more effective during extended campaigns. We conclude with a discussion of model limitations and potential extensions to the model.
Keywords: risk / Suppression / wildland fire / Workforce Capacity / SARS-CoV-2

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