According to several fire industry news reports, state and federal public lands fire authorities are looking at more “old school” firefighting strategies this year, which includes massive intervention and engagement as soon as possible in order to reduce manpower requirements. This also includes more use of aircraft sooner in the firefighting process.

Officials had been allowing some nonthreatening fires to burn away undergrowth in recent years, but with the difficulty in putting together and deploying traditional firefighter crews and camps this year due to the coronavirus impact, aggressive initial engagement is the best way to go. “Aggressive initial attack is the single most important method to ensure the safety of firefighters and the public; it also limits suppression costs,” said Jessica Gardetto, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Land Management at the National Interagency Fire Center.

As in other industries, the virus is affecting all segments of the nation’s firefighting system, including mutual aid agreements among adjacent landowners and the use of state inmates to fight fires.