The massive and barely contained Thomas Fire in Southern California has consumed more than 230,500 acres, and the emergency has caused residents in fire-threatened areas to evacuate. Amateur Radio volunteers remain active supporting communication for American Red Cross shelters in Ventura County. More evacuations are likely, although the need for Amateur Radio assistance remains dynamic. Cal Fire said today (December 11) that evacuation operations will occur ahead of westward fire growth, speeded by low humidity and gusty Santa Ana winds, which will push the fire further into Santa Barbara, County. One of several fires that have broken out across Southern California, the Thomas Fire is far and away the largest.
Ventura County Auxiliary Communication Service (ACS)/ARES activated a week ago to support Red Cross shelters there, providing communications between shelters. Radio amateurs also have deployed to the Ventura County Emergency Operations Center (EOC). ACS/ARES expects to be deployed while shelters are open. According to ARRL Ventura County District Emergency Coordinator Rob Hanson, W6RH, the ACS/ARES volunteers are staffing four evacuation centers, in addition to the EOC.