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Potential COVID-19 outbreak in fire camp: Modeling scenarios and interventions

Author(s): Matthew P. Thompson, Jude Bayham, Erin J. Belval
Year Published: 2020

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.

Citation: Thompson, Matthew P.; Bayham, Jude; Belval, Erin. 2020. Potential COVID-19 outbreak in fire camp: Modeling scenarios and interventions. Fire. 3: 38. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire3030038
Topic(s): Risk
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 21608
Record updated: Aug 5, 2020