AT&T Wireless lends phones in Colorado wildfire suppression effort
The AT&T Wireless office in Denver, CO, has lent 20 wireless phones to the U.S. Forest Service to support the agency’s efforts to control the Hayman fire in the vicinity of Lake George near Deckers, CO.
The fire originated from an illegal campfire and was reported on June 8 at 4 p.m.
Cindy Larsen, an AT&T Wireless spokesperson, said that the company is available to deploy more phones, including voice and data services, if emergency agencies need them. Federal agencies that need phones normally submit their request through the carrier’s corporate communications office.
The start of the Hayman fire followed the suppression of the Iron Mountain fire near Canon City, CO. The new wildfire erupted about 30 miles west of Colorado Springs.
Supporting firefighters, law enforcement officers and Red Cross volunteers are volunteers from the American Radio Relay League’s Amateur Radio Emergency Service. ARRL Colorado Section Manager Jeff Ryan, K0RM, said that the latest fire, burning in the Pike Natonal Forest, has consumed 30,000 acres and is fanned by a 30mph wind.
“Dense smoke from the blaze drifted throughout Front Range cities and towns including Denver, Castle Rock and Colorado Springs, and occasionally reduced visibility to less than one-quarter mile,” Ryan reported. He said that more than 1,000 homes have been evacuated, and several thousand more are threatened.
Late last week, Ryan called amateur radio support for the Iron Mountain Fire “nothing short of outstanding.” More than 1,000 residents were evacuated near Canon City in Fremont County, some 100 homes and an additional 100 structures were destroyed.
Members of Fremont County ARES staffed a Red Cross shelter set up to serve the evacuated residents in nearby Cotopaxi as well as the incident command post and the Deer Mountain Fire Station. Hams from Pikes Peak ARES staffed the Red Cross headquarters in Colorado Springs.
(By Don Bishop, with additional information from American Radio Relay League Bulletin.)