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Hams Assist Los Alamos Fire Evacuation

from W1AW Bulletin / ARRL on May 10, 2000
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ARRL Bulletin 25 ARLB025
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT May 10, 2000
To all radio amateurs

ARLB025 New Mexico amateurs assisting in evacuation

Hams in the Los Alamos, New Mexico, area are assisting local
authorities and relief agencies in a mass evacuation as a result of
wind-driven wildfires. ARRL New Mexico Section Manager Joe Knight,
W5PDY, in Albuquerque reports the National Forest Service advised
the City of Los Alamos and Los Alamos National Lab on May 10 to
evacuate Los Alamos city limits by 5 PM Mountain Time. Knight was
not sure how many hams were directly involved in the fire emergency
response at this point.

''This affects approximately 12,000 to 15,000 people who will
require immediate shelter,'' Knight said. The Red Cross is
requesting additional medical personnel, as the evacuation includes
hospital patients and staff.

Amateur Radio Emergency Service and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency
Service personnel in Los Alamos have been activated for the past
three days as a result of the ongoing fire situation. Knight said
three repeaters in the fire zone have been put into use to handle
emergency traffic, although the W5PDO Los Alamos Amateur Radio Club
repeater at the fire station apparently has been shut down. ARES and
RACES teams elsewhere in New Mexico are on standby to assist if

Knight reports that winds in the vicinity are currently gusting to
40 MPH and the flames are jumping treetop-to-treetop. ''It's a
firestorm,'' Knight said. ''It's a bad situation.''

Standby emergency personnel from the Albuquerque Fire Department
have been called to immediate duty, Knight reports, to assist in Los
Alamos some 80 miles away.

Meanwhile, Knight says the City of Alto, northeast of Ruidoso,
already has been evacuated, and a number of houses east of Alto
reportedly have been consumed by flames. The fire is spreading
rapidly northeast of Ruidoso and already has consumed more than 6000
acres of forest.

Citizens have been placed on alert in the Ruidoso area.

ARRL Amateur Radio emergency and section personnel will continue to
monitor the fire situation in New Mexico.

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