Eleven Senators sign letter asking Forest Service how they will suppress wildfires during the COVID-19 pandemic

Bureau of Indian Affairs firefighters participating in a fire briefing. Bureau of Indian Affairs photo.

By / Bill Gabbert, Wildfire Today

Eleven Senators signed a letter dated April 30 asking Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen a series of very pointed, detailed questions about how the agency will manage their 10,000 wildland firefighters and safely suppress wildfires during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are some of their questions, paraphrased:

  • According to the Agency’s Quantitative Risk Assessment, the worst-case scenario gives a six percent “cumulative mortality rate” at large fire camps.
    • What measures and training protocols are the agency implementing to mitigate COVID-19 virus exposure and response?
    • How are you communicating the level of risk to field staff and local leaders, and how are you setting national guidance for priortizing firefighter safety?