ARRL San Francisco Section Manager Bill Hillendahl, KH6GJV, says the message he stresses during the weekly Sonoma County Radio Amateurs (SCRA) ARES net is this: “When an incident occurs, take to the air and form a net. Anyone can act as net control.” Radio amateurs took that lesson to heart, he said, in the wake of the devastating, destructive, and deadly wildfires in Northern California this past week.
“They have performed admirably,” Hillendahl told ARRL. “I hung in at my home, providing Internet, commercial radio and TV, and NIXLE updates to the net until the fire came close enough to see the flames above the trees at about 5:30 Monday morning.”
“The Tubbs Fire came to within 2 blocks of my home, but stopped on its own with no fire equipment on it at the time,” Hillendahl said. “I bugged out with the two cats.”
Hillendahl said that while he has since returned home periodically over the past few days, there is no phone or internet. He’s been using a local Wi-Fi hotspot.