Lightning strikes, extreme weather conditions, dangerous levels of smoke and ash, and a deadly pandemic are pushing firefighters and the communities they're trying to save into uncharted territory. Roughly 11,000 lightning strikes over a few days spawned nearly 370 individual fires that have killed at least five people, and led tens of thousands to evacuate. Nearly 600,000 acres are burning in the eight largest fire complexes as of Friday morning, and California's firefighters have had to work in steep and difficult-to-access terrain under record-breaking temperatures. But COVID-19 adds a new dimension of risk to the job, both on and off the front lines, and poses new threats to those seeking refuge in temporary shelter. Christine McMorrow, a spokeswoman for Cal Fire, tells NPR there are several new protocols in place to prevent firefighters from getting sick. She notes that fire crews are already armed with significant personal protective equipment while they're battling active fires. That includes gloves, face and neck shrouds, and protective eyewear. When they're at base camps, firefighting personnel are required to wear face masks and maintain physical distancing, McMorrow says.