One choice is open everything up, do nothing and just let the fire burn through the state. We all know that fires naturally stop once enough fuel has been consumed whereby the fire can no longer be sustained. In pandemic terms this is called Herd Immunity. For comparison, most other viral illnesses require more than 80% of the population to contract a virus, survive, and become immune to reach this goal. Personally, I am not a fan of this option as I consider the risk for my family, friends, and colleagues. A second option is to close everything down, shelter in place and wait for winter snows to put out the fire and lower the fire threshold. In pandemic terms this is called Vaccination. Once we develop a vaccine, we can inoculate our citizens so they are no longer susceptible to the virus. The only problem with this choice is that a vaccine is a good 12 to 18 months away. Personally, I am not a fan of this option as I consider the economic well-being for my family, friends, and colleagues.
Our last, and most logical option, is to slowly open up our forests, engage in fire suppressive behaviors, constantly survey our surroundings for flare ups, and when flare ups do occur quickly put them out. In pandemic terms we are heading into the Contingency Phase. This will be our challenge for the next 12 to 18 months. It will only end when we have a vaccine ready or we reach herd immunity. Personally, this is the only option that incorporates everyone’s values and concerns while weighing the risks and benefits.