Tennessee Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) remains on standby if needed to assist in the response to more than a dozen wildfires blazing in East Tennessee. Radio amateurs in individual communities have been volunteering to support the fire response, however. The fires are threatening the resort communities of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Force, and thousands already have evacuated. Spurred on by high winds and tinder-dry conditions, a wildfire that started on the Chimney Top Mountain in Great Smoky Mountains National Park swept into communities outside the park on Monday. Heavy wind gusts, some exceeding 70 MPH, also carried blazing embers aloft, and these started new fires at some distance to the initial fire. Power lines also were downed, sometimes causing additional fires to erupt.
Tennessee Section Manager Keith Miller, N9DGK, and Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator Bill Farnham, KI4FZT, told ARRL that Tennessee ARES is on standby, and all Amateur Radio response is being handled locally in Sevier, Jefferson, and Knox counties, with no need for outside assistance at this point.
Miller and Farnham said there has been a request for Amateur Radio support from the American Red Cross to provide communication between the Red Cross Incident Command and two area shelters. This request has been filled by local radio amateurs.
No fatalities have resulted from the wildfires, but three people suffered serious burns, and numerous homes and businesses in Gatlinburg have been destroyed. The State Emergency Operations Center in Nashville has been activated at a level 3 state of emergency.
“Conditions remain extremely dangerous with trees expected to continue to fall,” Great Smoky Mountains National Park said in a news release posted to its Facebook page. “Officials are asking that motorists stay off the roadways throughout the area. Travel in the Gatlinburg area is limited to emergency traffic only. The National Park is closed at the Gatlinburg entrance.”
Authorities have issued evacuation orders for Gatlinburg and neighboring areas, including part of Pigeon Forge, home to the Dollywood theme park. More than 1,300 residents have taken shelter so far. Great Smoky Mountains National Park has evacuated all visitors and employees from affected areas. Rain moved into the area on Monday evening, although forecasters say that weather system will bring more wind with it.
“Even with the rain that is currently falling there, the fires continue to burn and structures remain engulfed with little hope that the rainfall will bring immediate relief,” the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) said in a statement.
The Chimney Top Fire alone covers some 550 acres.
Xiegu X510 X5105 is a highly portable transceiver working at HF+6m band, with a built-in power output of 5W. Technical features: double-conver... Read more
“I’m a bit of a 220 aficionado, but decent 220 equipment can be hard to come by. The 1.25 meter band has some unique properties, blending the pr... Read more
Short video showing the steps in the firmware upgrade process of the Icom IC-7300 HF radio. Make sure you read section 15 of the full owner’s ma... Read more
“YOTA 2018 South Africa is now over, and one of the highlights of the youngsters’ week were the kit building sessions. They had the opport... Read more
Design goals Like many fellow radio amateurs, I own a fairly standard shortwave radio station consisting of a 100W HF transceiver driving a 1kW... Read more
The Alaskan antenna is meant for those who live in the higher lattitudes and need a little more gain. For us mere mortals who live in the lower 48 of... Read more
Description Functional overview of the application DR functions You can use some transceiver’s DR functions. Share pictures Send and receive vo... Read more
Get Your Ham Radio License You are only 35 questions away from getting your Ham radio license. The questions come from a pool of questions publ... Read more
Wouxun KG-879 Description of Features 1. DTMF encoding and decoding 2. 105 groups DCS / 50 groups CTCSS 3. Wide /narrow bandwidth 4. Selection 5. ANI... Read more
“The 2015 editions of the Icom Amateur radio and D-STAR catalogues are now available to download from this website. Both catalogues have been up... Read more
Ham Radio 2.0: Episode 20 As a follow up to Episode 5, this video shows you how to program a repeater channel into the radio and save it into the memo... Read more