LAKEVIEW, Ore. — At least nine people working the Bootleg Fire in Southern Oregon have tested positive for COVID-19. As of July 21, there were 2,359 total personnel working to fight the fire.
People who test positive for COVID-19 are quarantined away from the main fire camp, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Incident Management Team. A spokesperson told KGW the firefighters were part of the same fire camp. There are multiple set up to fight the fire.
People who report symptoms, as well as anybody who worked closely with someone who reports symptoms, are being tested and isolated until results come back, following protocols developed with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) in 2020.
ODF said COVID-19 prevention measures at fire camps include a designated health liaison, whose primary focus is to prevent the spread of the virus and managing outbreaks. Fire camps also have a "thorough risk management process" to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including handwashing stations, sanitation and cleaning supplies and cleaning services to regularly disinfect surfaces. Food services are designed to minimize person-to-person contact and the camps are laid out to encourage social distancing.
Because of the number of cases, this will be reported as a workplace outbreak to OHA. Workplace outbreaks reported to the Oregon Health Authority are those with five or more cases and only for places with at least 30 workers.
The Bootleg Fire is now the third-largest in Oregon history and has burned nearly 400,000 acres.