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Old 01-29-2008, 02:26 PM   #1
KE5NWT
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Default 1-29-08 Red Flag Warning/ most of Texas

1-29-08. Most of Texas and Oklahoma is under a Red Flag Warning
(Extreme Wildfire Danger) due to a strong NW front, winds gusting to 50 MPH, dry drought conditions, and very low humidity. See map at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/
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Old 01-29-2008, 04:33 PM   #2
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I just saw a guy on a motorcycle blown over in the wind while sitting at stop light. He got up an pushed it into the gas station where I was gassing up. I've never seen that before. He wasn't hurt. I also heard a ham in Canyon, Texas this morning say they were getting gusts to 70 mph. Not a good day in Texas for driving the motorhome.
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Old 01-29-2008, 07:11 PM   #3
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I didn't know that Texas was having a drought, I have noticed that the Satellite images I download have shown few clouds over Texas but I didn't know it was that bad. 70mph winds are serious winds and can do a lot of damage and even worse when you add fire. I remember how bad it was in Southern California last fall with all the Santa Ana winds and fire. I hope no fires start and the winds die down soon. I also hope they get some rain too.
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Old 01-29-2008, 08:17 PM   #4
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They had quite fires west of Ft Worth this afternoon and some folks lost their homes. I don't think this area is officially in a drought. but the winds dry the grass out so quickly that it becomes tinder in very short order.
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Old 01-30-2008, 07:42 AM   #5
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Many areas are in drought,(see drought map here http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html ) mine included in SW Texas hill country. My last measurable rain, excluding 1 or 2 hundreths of an inch a few times, was on 11-25-07 with 0.54 inch. Wednesday through Friday shows a continuation of Red Flag Warnings with high winds predicted each day. We had a dust storm Tuesday and another expected Thursday. We dont normally get blowing dust in this part of the state. It is coming from 200-300 miles away in west Texas.
In remote areas, wildfires are often reported by hams, especially in areas where cell phone coverage is lacking.
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Old 01-30-2008, 09:38 AM   #6
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So to whom would a ham report a wildfire assuming

A. good cell coverage?
B. no cell coverage?

Just in case someone really need to know

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Old 01-30-2008, 11:19 AM   #7
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For good cell coverage....call 911 using the cell phone
For no cell coverage... use a radio to............


BEST METHOD: Relay to another ham that is at a land line telephone or through a repeater that has a phone patch.
i.e. "This is KE5NWT mobile, needing an emergency relay...any station having telephone access please reply now"

OTHER METHOD: Ares/Races members can use MARS/CAP modified radios (outside the amateur frequencies) to make radio contact with law/fire dispatchers. Remember in "emergencies" any radio / any frequency / anybody.

Contacting a fire or police dispatch by radio is a last resort method and best practiced with pre-approval of the agency, thus Ares / Races. Otherwise you have some explaining to do after the fact to the agency and maybe the FCC.
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Old 01-31-2008, 02:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KE5NWT View Post
For good cell coverage....call 911 using the cell phone
For no cell coverage... use a radio to............


BEST METHOD: Relay to another ham that is at a land line telephone or through a repeater that has a phone patch.
i.e. "This is KE5NWT mobile, needing an emergency relay...any station having telephone access please reply now"

OTHER METHOD: Ares/Races members can use MARS/CAP modified radios (outside the amateur frequencies) to make radio contact with law/fire dispatchers. Remember in "emergencies" any radio / any frequency / anybody.

Contacting a fire or police dispatch by radio is a last resort method and best practiced with pre-approval of the agency, thus Ares / Races. Otherwise you have some explaining to do after the fact to the agency and maybe the FCC.

Most agencies frown on that unless it is regarding the imminent threat of life ( notice life but not property). I believe the FCC rule regarding that is when all other means of communciation have been exhausted and there is imminent danger of life threatening emergencies or significant loss of property. (But don't quote me on that).

Yes, you will be explaining and possibly defending (read: legal action - prosecution) your actions to the local agency and or the FCC.

KE5NWT's explanation of options other than using public safety frequencies is the best method.
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Old 01-31-2008, 07:50 AM   #9
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If you have HF capability the odds of getting ham-ham relay is very good, And most hams I know of have no problem with making long distance calls to report fires, and other life or serious property threats. Done it myself a few times.. Done it PROFESSIONALLY a few times
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Old 01-31-2008, 07:59 AM   #10
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You are correct L7.....That is why I put in there to have an agreement with the agency before the fact so that they will know you. I am an agency head (police) and our area deparments will allow hams that we know to contact us in emergencies over the radio. We are a rural ranch county with thousands of acres of rough remote lands. We include wildfires as major emergencies, since they can grow to hundreds of acres within the first hour if not reported while they are still small. Last year we had two seperate wildland fires each over 2000 acres burning at opposite sides of the county on the the same day.
The practice of getting onto a frequency of a busy metropolitan department is a whole nother matter and I do not recommend it. I cant see much possibility that the cell service will be down or out of range in such an area. Chances are even a MARS/CAP modified radio won't work on their digital system anyway.

So first course of action is ALWAYS try a cell phone to call 911.
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Old 02-01-2008, 07:49 AM   #11
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Well the Red Flag Warnings were on the mark. Yesterday while winds were gusting to 50 MPH at times, two major wildland fires broke out in nearby counties, and several smaller fires. LaSalle County burned 15,000 acres and parts of the town of Cotulla where 37 structures were damaged and 10 structures were lost. Cotulla's population is only a few thousand. Winds were intense enought to cause the fire to jump over Interstate 35. Dimmitt County had a fire of about 10,000 acres in isolated ranch land caused by a blown down power pole. That fire traveled more than 10 miles and jumped several two-lane roads.

Winds across this part of Texas subsided last night so the fire danger is lower. Speaking of lower, our overnight temp. was 17.6 F last night.

Amateur radio / ARES was not activated for the fires because normal radio communications were able to handle the traffic.
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Old 02-01-2008, 09:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Stouffer View Post
I just saw a guy on a motorcycle blown over in the wind while sitting at stop light. He got up an pushed it into the gas station where I was gassing up. I've never seen that before. He wasn't hurt.
Almost happend to me a couple of times.

Just gotta be ready for it and if it starts going. Let it. Ain't worth hurting yourself............
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