[Updated 2018 November 13 @ 1024 UTC] Amateur Radio volunteers have been active or are standing by on several fronts as wildfires continue to rage in large sections of California.
In Butte County, in Northern California, the Camp Fire, the state’s deadliest wildfire, triggered a call up of ARES members for communication support. A small wildfire that started in a mountainous area of Butte County quickly grew to some 20,000 acres, due to high winds and gusts of more than 50 MPH. Evacuations were ordered by the county, and eventually more than 25,000 people were evacuated. As multiple shelters opened to assist the evacuees, five Sacramento Valley ARES groups were called out to support communication between the Red Cross Disaster Operations Center (DOC) and the shelters.
The uncontrolled wildfire eventually consumed the town of Paradise, and the town of 27,000 residents has been devastated. As of November 13, the Camp Fire covered some 125,000 acres, and more than 40 people had died, many while escaping the fires or trapped in their homes. More than 7,600 structures have been destroyed. An additional 15,500 residences are in danger.