Public health officials plan for fire season during COVID-19 pandemic

HUMBOLDT COUNTY, Calif. (KIEM) – Public health officials try to overcome a new obstacle as fire season rages on amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virus continues to present new challenges in the community while potential evacuation orders could further complicate the situation. As wildfires across the state continue to burn, health officials try to figure out what shelters will look like during the pandemic.

Dr. Teresa Frankovich said the Public Health Department is working to create a safe plan alongside other agencies including the Emergency Operations Center, CAL FIRE, and the Office of Emergency Services.

“We are also looking at areas that have already been having to do sheltering and seeing lessons learned,” Dr. Frankovich said. “So yes, we are concerned about this certainly and it is going to take collaboration to be able to do it if it occurs.”

Dr. Frankovich also highlighted that some evacuees are fleeing to Humboldt County to camp or live with family. Further discussions surrounding the informal evacuations are underway to make the process even safer.