MCCLELLAN PARK, Calif. (KTXL) — With COVID-19 cases on the rise, fire crews are preparing to not only battle wildfires but also this virus.

Cal Fire says it’s next to impossible for some ground crews to keep 6 feet between them. It’s why aircraft will be even more important this year.

“I think aviation assets are going to be the key to response this year,” said Global Supertanker COO John Winder.

Winder explained his crew is training at McClellan Airfield this week on the 747-400.

It’s the largest firefighting aircraft in the world, packing more than 19,000 gallons of water.

Winder is expecting a busy few months traveling to wildfires across the country, especially due to COVID-19.

“It’s going to be very difficult, if not impossible, for ground firefighters to maintain social distancing and still do their job on the fire line,” Winder told FOX40.

So, he said aircraft will need to be deployed often and quickly.

“A rapid initial attack means keep the fire small,” he said. “Less people committed, less likelihood of people contracting COVID.”

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