State agencies discuss fire season preparedness amid pandemic

State agencies discuss fire season preparedness amid pandemic

June 16, 2020
NBC Montana

There are new challenges ahead for Montana fire crews, as outlined by Gov. Steve Bullock in a statewide briefing Tuesday afternoon.

The messages from agency heads were consistent: agencies are prepared, but this fire season will be unlike any other as they prepare to manage two crises at the same time.

As we told you last week, predictions already call for a hot and dry summer, which translates into an above-average fire season outlook. That, combined with adding COVID-19 to the long list of existing risks, means even more planning.

Agency heads say they’re taking it seriously but don’t want to get tunnel vision on the virus and lose sight of other safety measures for fire crews.

Every person on the panel agreed through cooperation and collaboration state agencies will adapt and evolve. As Leanne Marten with the U.S. Forest Service put it, COVID-19 turned the apple cart upside down, but this fire season’s challenges are not insurmountable.

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