It has now been over a month since the first big fires started in Victoria and it could still be another few weeks or months before they are out. It won’t stop until we get some heavy rain, and there is none forecast now or next week.
As I write this the death toll from the worst fires in the state’s history has risen to 210 people.
Of course the amateur radio community has not been untouched by this disaster. Some amateurs in the Healesville area have lost there homes. There have also been repeaters damaged and other club equipment destroyed. The local Healseville radio club has also postponed their white elephant sale for a second time.
WICEN, the Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network, has been activated since Black Saturday and have been providing communications assistance to municipal councils and the Country Fire Authority. I offered to help out and worked a volunteer shift at the Kangaroo Ground Incident Control Centre. I was working as a radio operator passing traffic between those in the fire area and the Operations team. An interesting experience.
It was also interesting to see the make up of the night shift team in the ICC. Most of them were from interstate and had come to Victoria to help out.