Tag: safely

How to Camp and Recreate Safely During Wildfire Season

Wildland fires are nothing new, but their current impact is dramatic. So far, in 2020, about 8.5 million acres have burned across the U.S. The financial toll is mind-boggling. In 2018, estimates of wildfire damage were about $18 billion. So far this year, nearly 33,000 people have been involved in fighting wildfires and 12 are dead—not including civilians. Most of these fires were preventable; approximately 87 percent of wildfires are caused by people. Responsible recreation during wildfire season can make a difference.

The vast majority of small fires are put out. But strong winds and critically dry fuels can turn a spark or neglected campfire into a “megafire,” which can have an extraordinary impact on local populations and the environment. Not only are forests and grasslands scorched, people lose homes, businesses and, tragically, their lives. Forest closures and hazardous air conditions devastate local economies. Fuels and forests have built up in the absence of natural wildfires over the past century, leading to a contagious tinderbox in many forestlands. Warmer, drier summers and increased human-caused ignitions have dramatically increased the length of the average fire season.

Boulder CO wildland fire
A cyclist pauses to take a photograph as police officers direct motorists at a roadblock as nearby residents evacuate an Oct 17, 2020 wildland fire races through the mountains near Boulder, CO. David Zalubowski/AP/Shutterstock / Shutterstock

Susan Prichard, fire ecologist at University of Washington, says that the balance of human- versus lightning-started fires varies from place to place, year to year. But it’s important to understand that since most camping takes place at the height of fire season, fire irresponsibility coincides with wind and dry forests. “Even though it seems like the West is burning up (historically, there have always been wildfires), there are still many places under a fire deficit,” explains Prichard. “There will always be fire danger, and, while we’re very good at extinguishing them in this country (97 to 98 percent of fire starts are put out, it’s only 2-3 percent that get away), any fire, even a small one, has the potential to explode.”

Oddly enough, there’s evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic is fueling this season’s devastating blazes. Stacy Corless, Supervisor for Mono County, CA, reports that this summer, “our forests (like most others throughout the West, maybe the nation) saw big increases in visitation.” With many visitors new to camping and the outdoors, there was a likely gap in terms of understanding and following rules. “We saw some bad behavior—illegal campfires and camping, trash left behind, and lots of crowds,” Corless notes, “There seemed to be little awareness of wildfire danger, or the impact on the land.”

“Due to COVID, we’re seeing a lot of people on public lands this year that don’t typically camp or hike,” adds Tina Boehle, information officer for NIFC (National Interagency Fire Center). “It’s a great opportunity for education and we hope people fall in love with their public lands, use them responsibly and protect them for future generations. Before heading out, take the

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Safely and Sustainably Enjoy Brews at World’s First Craft Beer Hotel

Companies around the world are shifting their focus to the green — not money — but sustainability. Beer is no different. The largest beer company in the world, Anheuser-Busch InBev. says that by 2025, they plan to have packaging that is 100% returnable or made from majority recycled materials — among other long and short term goals to help the planet. BrewDog, the world’s largest craft brewer, announced in August that it had officially gone carbon negative—the first international beer brand to do so.



a store inside of a building: DogHouse, the world’s first craft beer hotel, outside of Columbus, Ohio.


© Courtesy of BrewDog
DogHouse, the world’s first craft beer hotel, outside of Columbus, Ohio.

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What does this mean? BrewDog is not only reducing its carbon footprint, as many companies are looking to do as climate change and global warming continue to threaten the planet, but it is removing carbon from the air.

“We thought we were doing part for the planet as a business, but after our co-founders, James and Martin, heard a talk on climate change, we started doing more research into the matter,” Jason Block, CEO of BrewDog USA tells Newsweek. “When we looked at the totality of our carbon footprint, it was clear we were part of the problem—and even with the measures we had already taken, we needed to do more to positively impact the planet and climate crisis.”



a park bench next to a body of water: An early sketch of what the hop farm will look like on the campus of DogHouse in Ohio.


An early sketch of what the hop farm will look like on the campus of DogHouse in Ohio.

BrewDog does more than brew beer, it also is responsible for the world’s first craft beer hotel, DogHouse, which opened in Winchester, Ohio, in 2018 and features 32 beer-themed rooms with a beer tap in each.

Located 20 minutes from downtown Columbus by car, the hotel is a great getaway for beer lovers and those looking for a unique lodging experience. Beyond the beer-themed rooms, there is also a craft beer museum and of course the brewery located right next door.



a close up of a bottle: Punk IPA is the beer that "started it all" for BrewDog. Courtesy of BrewDog


© Courtesy of BrewDog
Punk IPA is the beer that “started it all” for BrewDog. Courtesy of BrewDog

From the ground up, BrewDog is looking at ways to be more green. In the coming year, they are planning on installing more solar panels on their U.S. headquarters to help power the DogHouse hotel, breweries and the headquarters themselves. There are also plans of opening a hop farm on the grounds of the hotel that will take guests’ brewery experience to the next level. The company plans on using the hops, and an additional apple orchard as a way to source ingredients organically.

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BrewDog has bars and breweries around the world from Brisbane to the U.K. to Ohio. It purchased 2,050 acres in Scotland, where the parent company is based, to create BrewDog Forest, which will be home to 1 million trees by 2022 to help offset the company’s carbon emission. It also plans on investing $39 million in “green investments” back into BrewDog, which has been raised in

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How to Take a Vacation as Safely as Possible Once It Gets Cold Outside

howtostayin

How to Stay In is a series about redefining “normal” life in order to take care of ourselves and one another during the COVID-19 pandemic.

2020 was the year of canceled vacations. As spring welcomed itself into our lives, so did a series of stay-at-home orders that had no conceivable end, leading us to postpone our summer trips and save our PTO in desperate hope that a better time to vacation would eventually present itself. And while some people camped, socially distanced at the beach, or made the most of a staycation, there are still many of us who have been sitting tight since March, with an ever-growing vacation itch waiting scratched.

Maria Sundaram, an infectious disease epidemiologist at health research institute ICES, told VICE that the best way to travel safely right now is to combine meticulous trip planning with in-the-moment flexibility. By this, she means taking extra care when deciding exactly where and how you travel, while preparing yourself for the need to change some plans along the way—whether that means skipping a rest stop that’s unexpectedly filled with people, or canceling at the last minute if case numbers start increasing at your destination. Here’s exactly how to make smart vacation choices before you leave home, and during your trip.

Opt for driving instead of taking public transport or flying.

“Driving your own car is the safest way of getting around. All forms of public transportation including trains, planes, and buses require prolonged exposure to others. If the high-touch surfaces of a rental car are properly sanitized, they can be safe as well,” Manisha Juthani, an infectious disease specialist and an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Yale School of Medicine, told VICE.

If you’ve chosen to drive to your destination, it’s smart to continue using that same car throughout your trip, rather than jumping in an Uber or on the train. “As much as possible, try to limit the spaces that you occupy,” said Sundaram. Since you’ve occupied your car en route to your vacation spot, continuing to use that same car throughout your trip won’t increase your risk, as long as you’re washing or sanitizing your hands regularly when going from a public place to the car and avoiding touching your face.

If you’re considering taking a bus or train, check what company policies are in place before you book. “Sometimes a train company’s website will let you see how many other people have already booked a seat. If the train car’s really full, you might want to avoid being in that car,” said Sundaram. It’s also worth considering if, or how often, you will have the opportunity to switch seats or cars if someone is, say, coughing non-stop or wearing their mask around their chin. “We don’t know exactly how much time you need to spend with someone, or how close you need to be, to become infected yet. But the closer you are and the longer you spend with them in an enclosed

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How to safely commute, go shopping, and go on vacation as states reopen for business during the coronavirus pandemic

A coronavirus vaccine remains far off, but the stay-at-home orders in many states are starting to lift, if they haven’t already.

That means millions of Americans can step outside their door and go to reopened retail stores, restaurants, gyms, parks and other public venues across the country.

They’ll be finding a world that’s vastly different from the last time they visited a doctor’s office, travelled, grabbed a cup of coffee or sat at their office desk.

For example, under state laws, Georgia hairdressers need to take a customer’s temperature. Colorado’s rules will let employers fill their offices with only 50% of their workforce and retail stores in Florida can only fill up to a quarter of capacity.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say everyone — from workplaces to schools to homes — needs to come up with plans on when they should clean (which removes germs and dirt) and when to go further and disinfect (which kills germs on surfaces).

So people can start getting back to everyday life — but should they? And how to do it now that social distancing is the watchword to slow the spread of COVID-19?

The question of “should” is a choice everyone will have to decide for themselves.

As for the “how,” MarketWatch looked at the various scenarios people may have to navigate.

Rethink your commuting routine and your work habits

Millions of Americans have been working from home since March, but at some point their employers will want them to return to the office.

Forty percent of employers told Mercer, the human resources consulting firm, that after shelter-in-place rules end, they’ll keep employees working remotely until they deem it safe to return. Roughly 20% of polled companies said they would ask workers to come back as soon as possible.

About 60% of the surveyed companies said they would alternate workers on-site; one tactic was shifts based on alphabetical order.

Returning to work means commuting, potentially on a bus or train, and spending the majority of the day in an office with break rooms, conference rooms, bathrooms and other shared spaces.


Visualize every part of your home-to-work commute routine.

People should visualize every part of that home-to-work routine, said Dr. Tista Ghosh, senior medical director of Grand Rounds, a healthcare assistance platform helping users with appointments and questions about billing and diagnoses.

That means being aware of all the rails, buttons, handles and seats you might touch along the way. A commuter can avoid them, bring gloves, or do both, she said. Don’t forget a face mask, she emphasized. If there’s discomfort wearing it, Ghosh said to think of it this way: “It’s not protecting you, it’s protecting others…it’s like you’re doing your part.”

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At the office, people should ditch their office supply-sharing habits for now, Ghosh said. She also advised people to bring their lunches

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