The Fort McMurray fire - a two-fer

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First - from CBC News - burned ground never stays sterile for long:

'Pyro' bugs will help restore burned Fort McMurray forest
The blackened landscape around Fort McMurray is far from a dead zone, despite a wildfire that has reduced more than 229,000 of hectares of boreal forest to cinders and ashes.

Amid the charred skeletons of spruce and still smouldering muskeg, Alberta's fire-loving insects are on the move.

"Its really spooky if you ever go to a burn after it's gone out," said Peter Heule, an insect expert with Edmonton's Royal Alberta Museum.

"Every step you take, there is just ash and soot, and you see these little beetles shimmering like little jewels on these black-burned trees, laying their eggs and doing their thing."

And a little bit of the ewwww factor here:

Better known as the tar-sand beetle, they are a common sight in Fort McMurray and are much maligned for their tendency to crawl into the warmth of mine-workers pant legs, and latch on.

Second - from the Amateur Radio Relay League:

Canadian Radio Amateurs Went on Alert to Assist in Alberta Wildfire Emergency, Evacuations
A wildfire in Alberta, Canada, that began unremarkably on May 1 as “MWF-009” soon ballooned into a major, fast-moving conflagration, owing to hot, dry weather, high winds, and low humidity, creating a disaster of historic proportions. The flames caused extensive property damage and led to the evacuation of the entire population of Fort McMurray, in the heart of Canada’s oil sands country. While the wildfire emergency never became a “communications event,” prompting an ARES activation, Radio Amateurs of Canada said, radio amateurs on the ground helped other organizations such as the Red Cross.

Alberta Section Manager Garry Jacobs, VE6CIA/VE6OW, reported on May 5 that Alberta ARES went on standby “to provide VHF/UHF linking,” although there was no HF activity due to the fact that Fort McMurray had been evacuated.

ARES is a national service - Amateur Radio Emergency Service. The group I am involved with - Whatcom Emergency Communications Group is a member of ARES. A bit more:

According to the Amateur Radio Coalition, PERCS (Provincial Emergency Radio Communications Service) was put on standby to staff the radio room and to establish communication into Fort McMurray, and the club in Fort McMurray was staffing its local emergency communications center in case communications fail. PERCS Alberta Assistant Coordinator Curtis Bidulock, VE6AEW, said the organization directly supports the Alberta Emergency Management Agency and assists all Alberta Amateur Radio clubs with provincial coordination of resources and communication links, as requested. PERCS operates in partnership with Radio Amateurs of Canada.

So no immediate need but they mobilized to standby level and were ready. At standby level, we are monitoring our rigs and ready to roll if needed.

There is also a group called RACES which is under the wing of FEMA. RACES stands for Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service. We use their study materials and are part of it as well. If that isn't enough, I have also taken training in SkyWarn and am a member of that - from time to time, our area can get localized intense weather bursts and SkyWarn provides a place to notify and correlate these events - something that just a station at our local airport might not be aware of.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on May 12, 2016 4:42 PM.

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