FCC declares communications emergency in Arizona
Reflecting the important role played by amateur radio operators in support of emergency communications associated with the evacuation of residents in the area affected by the Rodeo and Chediski Fires, the FCC has declared a general communications emergency in Arizona.
The effect of the order is to protect emergency communications on frequencies in the amateur radio bands, including 7265 kHz (daytime) and 3990 kHz (nighttime), plus and minus 3 kHz. Unless they are taking part in the handling of emergency traffic, amateurs are required to refrain from using those frequencies.
The order, issued today by Arlan K. Van Doorn, senior advisor for public safety in the FCC Enforcement Bureau, was effective immediately and continues for 14 days unless it is rescinded earlier.
The Rodeo Fire has consumed 205,000 acres and has not been even partially contained. The fire is burning three miles north of Cibecue. The fire is advancing north, east and west. Crews are constructing an indirect attack fireline in Cottonwood Canyon in preparation for a burn out.
Bulldozers and crews are creating defensible space around threatened structures. The towns of Show Low, Pinedale, Lakeside, Clay Springs, Pinetop, Hon Dah, Linden and surrounding populated areas remain evacuated. The fire has consumed 115 structures. Evacuation centers are open in Winslow and Holbrook. Highways 260 and 277 are closed.
The Chediski Fire has burned 100,000 acres and also has not been contained. The fire is 12 miles northwest of Cibecue. The leading edges of the Rodeo and Chediski Fires joined along Highway 277, and the fires are drawing together near Highway 260. Steady southwest winds resulted in active fire behavior, with crowning and long range spotting observed during the afternoon today.
Yesterday evening the front reached Overgaard where firefighters saved numerous structures. Crews burned out around the town as the front reached the community. The burn out reduced or eliminated fuels. Burnout operations are under way south of Heber, and crews are constructing an indirect fireline on the southeast flank, tying into the Rodeo fire. The towns of Heber and Overgaard and the Forest Lakes subdivision remain evacuated. Sixty residences, 25 commercial properties and 40 outbuildings have been destroyed.
Meanwhile, in Colorado, the Hayman Fire in the Pike-San Isabel National Forest is 69% contained. The fire has consumed 137,000 acres and is burning six miles northwest of Lake George in ponderosa pine, gambel oak and mixed conifer forest. Crews are improving handline and mopping up on the north, south and east flanks. Spike camps and helispot locations were identified on the west flank in the Lost Creek Wilderness Area where construction began today.
A revised estimate of evacuated residents puts the number at 2,400. Evacuation centers are open in Park, Douglas, Teller and Jefferson Counties. Residents of Douglas County, Perry Park, Trumble and Deckers were allowed to return to their homes. The four counties evaluating structure loss are reporting 18 additional residences and 22 outbuildings lost. Highway 67 is closed.