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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB012 (2002)

ARLB012 ARES/RACES responds in California wildfire emergency

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 12  ARLB012
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  February 12, 2002
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB012 ARES/RACES responds in California wildfire emergency

Amateur Radio operators from the ARRL San Diego Section assisted the
American Red Cross and local agencies in responding to the larger of
two West Coast wildfires. ARRL San Diego Section Manager Kent
Tiburski, K6FQ, said ARES and RACES have been activated in response
to the fire in Fallbrook, California. ''Our hams quickly mobilized to
provide damage assessment, man shelters and assist the Red Cross
with communications,'' he said.

The fire, driven by intense Santa Ana winds in excess of 50 MPH,
erupted February 10. The California Department of Forestry and Fire
Protection said flames damaged or destroyed dozens of houses and
other structures, and about a dozen people received minor injuries.
In addition, two fire trucks and a sheriff's vehicle were lost. So
far, the fire has burned more than 3000 acres.

Bob Gonsett, W6VR, of the Fallbrook Amateur Radio Club said the fire
spread along the western portion of the Santa Margarita River basin
and leveled a number of houses within blocks of downtown Fallbrook.
Residents of 200 homes were evacuated to a shelter set up at
Fallbrook High School. ''Amateur Radio operators were posted at key
points in the community, including the fire department, the
sheriff's department, the hospital and the evacuation centers for
people and animals,'' Gonsett said. Nearly 30 amateurs were involved
in the response.

Gonsett said the Fallbrook ham net terminated its operation February
11. ''Red Cross damage assessment teams are currently in the field,''
he said. ''Some ham activity continues in support of their efforts on
one of the Palomar Amateur Radio Club machines.''

''The voluntary, non-profit basis of Amateur Radio has proven its
worth once again,'' Gonsett said.

News reports indicate that the Santa Ana winds have died down. Some
700 firefighters were involved in efforts to quell the brushfire,
and the diminished winds have permitted the building of fire breaks.

Fire crews reportedly expect to have a second brush fire near
Anaheim under control by Wednesday evening.


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