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Colorado ARES Supported Emergency Communication in Wildland Fire Response:

from The ARRL Letter on July 4, 2013
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Colorado ARES Supported Emergency Communication in Wildland Fire Response:

Colorado Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES volunteers mustered to support emergency communications after wildland fires broke out in June.

"For the second summer in a row the entire state of Colorado seems to be on fire," said North Central Colorado Region ARES Emergency Coordinator Perry Lundquist, W6AUN. "Currently there are 16 wildfires burning within Colorado."

Several Colorado ARES districts activated in the wake of the Royal Gorge and Black Forest fires June 11. Members provided communication support for sheltering activities. Later the same day, the Black Forest Fire erupted close to the Waldo Canyon area in Colorado Springs, where a similar wildfire caused widespread destruction last year. "The Black Forest Fire has now become the most destructive fire in Colorado history," Lundquist said. It ultimately consumed 14,280 acres and 507 homes and caused two deaths.

During the fire's peak, eight shelters were opened for both people as well as animals large and small, Lundquist reports. More than 35,000 residents had to evacuate, he said, which placed a very heavy burden on the American Red Cross, which immediately requested ARES communication support between its eight various shelters and the Pikes Peak Red Cross headquarters. ARES volunteers responded by providing around-the-clock radio operators for several days.

Lundquist said in late June that several Jefferson County ARES members were still working on other fires within the state where their ARES members are assigned individually as National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG certified communication technicians and radio operators. "Colorado Section and Regional ARES leadership has worked closely to support the local ARES districts and to provide ARES mutual aid in the form of communications equipment and ARES-trained manpower resources wherever and whenever needed," he said. -- Thanks to Perry Lundquist, W6AUN; Colorado SM Jack Ciaccia, WM0G, and Rick Palm, K1CE


The ARRL Letter

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