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Wildfire and pandemics 

Like a wildfire, this pandemic is now at a point where those fighting the emergency are either going to successfully put out the numerous spot fires and prevent a disaster, or lose control and move into a defensive posture where they are struggling to care for the many victims who will overwhelm our capabilities.

As the disease spreads in California, we may soon reach a point where there are more spot fires than first responders. If the spot fires are allowed to grow, they will combine into a conflagration where the virus is everywhere, creating a disaster. In a disaster, first responders become overwhelmed and the casualties mount. Even first responders become victims as more risks are taken in the firefight.

In a wildfire, once the unified incident commanders see the potential for a disaster, they immediately order more resources, develop contingency plans, and ready their forces. We now must support our pandemic leaders as they lean forward to ensure there are adequate supplies and personnel. Back them as they prepare to implement their contingency plans under a unified command. The next few weeks are critical, let us use this time and support their efforts; lives depend on it.

Robert Lewin

San Luis Obispo

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