Australia’s WICEN Activates to Support Bushfires Emergency
Australian Amateur Radio volunteers, operating under the WICEN banner, were activated to support communication in the aftermath of bushfires in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. WICEN is Australia’s equivalent of ARES/RACES. The incident controller has since asked WICEN volunteers to remain on standby until further notice.
“Thank you to the many WICEN members who have responded to the activation,” said WICEN NSW President Compton Allen, VK2HRX. The official activation was to support the declared state of emergency in the Lithgow area, west of Sydney, leading to mandatory evacuations. Some 200 homes have been lost have been lost in the fires, which have caused smoke to overspread the City of Sydney.
The NSW Rural Fire Services fear that up to four separate blazes could come together to form a huge fire front. New South Wales has been badly hit by bushfires after the hottest September on record, and officials predict conditions will worsen this week. WICEN operates as a specialist support squad under the NSW State Disaster Plan. — Jim Linton, VK3PC, chairman of the IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee; BBC