Wildland fire incident management activities create an ideal environment for the transmission of infectious diseases: high-density living and working conditions, lack of access to and use of soap and sanitizers, and a transient workforce. These and other environmental and occupational factors (e.g., smoke, heat, plants, insects, fungus, fatigue, and physically demanding work) can increase the likelihood of disease transmission. In some situations, the number of symptomatic fire personnel and suspected cases can increase rapidly, resulting in an infectious disease outbreak on the incident. An outbreak is the occurrence of more cases than would normally be expected in a specific place or among a group of people over a given time period. This guidance is intended to enable Incident Management Teams (IMTs) to effectively prevent, plan for, recognize, and respond to infectious disease issues during wildland fire operations.
This guidance provides National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) recommendations for infectious disease prevention, planning, identification, and response during wildland fire incident management activities. It does not supersede the guidance or direction of local health authorities but supplements existing direction from them.