The ongoing COVID-19 might pose a lot of problems in fighting bush fires this season, indicated the bush fire royal commission this week. In some parts of northern Australia the fire season has already begun. The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements is already in touch with the fire and emergency chiefs from all across the country taking stock of the preparations and arrangements that need to be made.
Greg Leach Commissioner of Queensland Fire and Emergency services has advised to quarantine gear that might be hired from overseas for firefighting. A larger air tanker is being hired for Queensland this year. The plan is to have the air tanker commence operations from September 1st. Its not only the gear, manpower will also accompany the gear especially the air tanker that need to be quarantined at any cost.
The bottlenecks do not end here; Rob Rogers the NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner has categorically stated that there might be a drop in the number of local firefighters in the wake of the increasing number of cases of COVID-19. His fears are not baseless since no one knows how many people might have to be puled out and quarantined in case the infection shows up even in one or few of the men fighting bush fires.
The NSW fire department however is planning in advance for the presence of coronavirus. They have already started recording the temperature of the workforce in their trucks, good hygiene practices are being followed and there’s a whole lot of things that is being done in sync with the New South Wales Health Department.
About 1000 personnel from Canada, US and New Zealand had assisted fire crews last season when bush fires were raging. However it takes time to get these personnel here. This time it would be more of a challenge given the pandemic and the situation it has created almost all across the world. Additional personal protective equipment and sanitisation supplies are being engaged to ensure a better chances of containing the bush fires.