ARRL

ARRL General Bulletin ARLB027 (2002)

SB QST @ ARL $ARLB027
ARLB027 New Mexico amateurs support fire response

ZCZC AG27
QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 27  ARLB027
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  May 9, 2002
To all radio amateurs 

SB QST ARL ARLB027
ARLB027 New Mexico amateurs support fire response

Amateur Radio Emergency Service/Radio Amateur Civil Emergency
Service members this week assisted the American Red Cross in New
Mexico following evacuations prompted by yet another wildfire. The
latest fire emergency came about as tinder-dry conditions continue
to keep New Mexico ARES/RACES members busy.

A dozen or so air tankers were ordered to battle the most recent
fire near Pecos--the so-called Dalton Fire in the Santa Fe National
Forest. More than 100 residents were evacuated in the Dalton Canyon
and Pecos Canyon areas.

''The fire hazard remains high throughout virtually all of New Mexico
so there is no doubt that ARES/RACES teams will be called out
again--the only question is, when?'' said New Mexico Section
Emergency Coordinator Bill Kauffman, W5YEJ

Kauffman said the US Forest Service now estimates the so-called
Dalton Fire is 70 percent contained. ''This fire, which is believed
to have been intentionally started, was hit hard with slurry bombers
and hot shot ground teams,'' Kauffman said.

As the fire emergency escalated earlier this week, Kauffman said
hams quickly set up at a Red Cross shelter and other facilities near
Pecos. The New Mexico State Emergency Operations Center in Santa Fe
was not activated, but EOC personnel had asked ARES/RACES to be
ready if needed.

On May 2, ARES/RACES activated an HF net at the request of the state
EOC to provide possible communication support with Otero County EOC
in response to the so-called Penasco Fire. That blaze near Mayhill,
was expected to be 100 percent contained by mid-week after burning
more than 15,000 acres. Most residents of the James Canyon have been
allowed to return to their homes after being evacuated earlier last
week.

The Penasco Fire destroyed more than a dozen homes and more than two
dozen other structures. About 15 families were reported in Red Cross
shelters as of the end of last week. More than 1500 firefighters
have been involved in fighting the Penasco fire.

Kauffman said Forest Service supervisors have been discussing
closing all or parts of the Cibola and Santa Fe National Forests,
and the City of Albuquerque is considering closing the area along
both sides of the Rio Grande as it runs through the city, known as
the Bosque.

The New Mexico statewide emergency frequencies are 7233 kHz days and
3939 kHz nights (plus or minus adjacent QRM).

ARRL New Mexico Section Manager Joe Knight says the situation ''could
change at any time.'' Little or no rain has fallen in New Mexico in
recent weeks, he said, noting that Albuquerque got just 0.04 inches
of rain in April. The lack of rainfall, combined with extremely low
humidity, led to the critical fire situation in New Mexico, which is
now at Level III.

Knight said hams in New Mexico remained on alert to render possible
aid to neighboring Arizona, where another 12,000 acre fire was
raging.

In Colorado, Jeff Ryan, K0RM, reports that El Paso County RACES
supported firefighters during the April 28 Black Forest fire,
northeast of Colorado Springs. Several homes were evacuated. A dozen
RACES operators provided continuous detailed weather data to the
fire team command post until the fire was brought under control. No
one was injured, and no structures were damaged as a result of this
fire, Ryan said.
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