by Jeff Knudson, Incident Commander
Fire season impacts all of us – from those out on the fire line to individual community members and businesses handling the influx of hundreds of firefighters into town. Dealing with COVID-19 in addition to a wildfire incident can be unnerving. Over the past week, the community of Caliente welcomed firefighters, camp crews, heavy equipment and aircraft responding to the Bishop Fire.
Caliente Elementary School graciously opened its doors to Team 7 to serve as an incident command post. Smoke is starting to dissipate, and crews are making good progress with containment line along the rugged north perimeter. As we start to leave, the safety of your community, as well as all our wildland fire responders, will always be our number one priority. With that in mind, I want you to know what precautions we implemented to keep your community safe during this incident.
To protect your teachers and students, the school is cleaned and sanitized twice a day. All persons entering the facilities are required to wear masks. Hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and other sanitation supplies are readily available and used to clean individual workspaces. Prior to teachers returning to school, Team 7 will work closely with school administration to ensure a thorough cleaning of the school. Our intent is to leave it better than we found it. We appreciate the school’s willingness to let us use their facilities.
To keep firefighters and communities healthy and safe, all fire personnel are instructed to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We operated several remote spike camps to spread out firefighters to allow for social distancing. While in your local community, our crews wear masks when visiting stores, restaurants and gas stations.
Thank you for welcoming us into your community as we manage this fire.
Submitted opinions are the views of individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Lincoln County Record.
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