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Wildfire evacuation plans changed in San Diego County amid coronavirus

Posted at 6:46 PM, Jul 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-01 21:46:28-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- County leaders and the American Red Cross are being forced to change fire evacuation plans due to coronavirus.

According to a news release, residents under evacuation will now be housed at hotels or motels, or multiple shelters with less than 50 people instead of traditional shelters.

The Red Cross says it’s working with nearly 100 lodging businesses to make rooms available during a crisis.

“We’re entering the riskiest part of the wildfire season while still being in the middle of an unprecedented health crisis,” said county Supervisor Dianne Jacob. “That is forcing us to rethink and retool our disaster-planning efforts.”

The County Office of Emergency Management is also asking people to include face coverings and hand sanitizer in their evacuation kits.

“As we head into our warmer months, we need all resources available,” said County Supervisor Jim Desmond. “The question isn’t if, but when. We know fires are a part of living in San Diego, but putting in the preparation ahead of time is the best tactic we can use.”

The Red Cross also says packaged meals will be provided instead of the usual cafeteria-style dining in light of the virus.

“Disasters require flexibility and planning for a number of variables – especially in the COVID-19 environment,” says Sean Mahoney, Regional CEO of the American Red Cross Southern California Region. “As wildfire season approaches, the goal of the Red Cross remains to provide comfort and support to anyone in need after a disaster, and we are prepared to do just that.”