Operation Wildfire
October 1, 2011
0900 until 1300
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This page was last updated: June 24, 2013
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Operation Wildfire, Simulation On and Around Beamers Knob
In the South Section of Carroll County Virginia
Operation Wildfire, at the Crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains
After Action Review
Posted after 08-02-2011
Wildfire  Photos
Update-08-17-2011

Our area Simulated Emergency Test will be held on October 1, 2011 beginning at 0900 and continuing until 1300 (1:00 PM).  This simulation will be based on a Forest Fire (wildfire) situation.  Simulated conditions will be a dry summer and an early dry fall proceeded by a winter of heavy ice and high winds pruning much of the timber of dead limbs in the area of southern Carroll County Virginia.  Thus the ground is covered with brush and dry fallen limbs on the forest floor.  By the time the fire is reported it will have several hours to grow. The fire will begin  in the early morning hours when people are still asleep.  ln these early hours, the flames have been pushed by high winds on the mountain above 3200 feet elevation.  The first indication of problems is when police, fire and rescue radio repeaters go off the air.  These were all housed at the highest point in the county on Beamers Knob at an elevation of about 3680 feet.  The nearby cell tower has also been taken off the air. Hard wired phone exchanges (728) and (730) covering the county seat of Hillsville and the (236) exchange covering the City of Galax and areas around Woodlawn have been taken out but the fire.  By daybreak on October 1st the simulation has brought most normal communications to a near halt.  Much of public service is having to depend on "talk around" (simplex) and some of the remote repeaters that have been used as remote receivers have been switched to act as a repeater but at a much lower elevation than Beamers Knob.  All Internet customers depending on dialup and DSL in the 728, 730 and 236 exchanges have lost their Internet and email service.

Public service such as police, fire, rescue and search and rescue have been toned out to meet the challenge of this simulation.  This is the entry point for EmComm to be called out to provide emergency communications for failed or overloaded communications systems.   At 9:00 am there will be a message concerning current weather condtions give by Skywarn at the NWS office, followed by the activation of emergency communications groups.
After Action Summary
Posted after 08-02-2011
Purpose and goals for this exercise:

To insure seamless operation of EmComm groups in various jurisdictions

To combine the effective use of digital and voice to provide the needed agency communications service

To provide an opportunity for new hams to experience a simulated exercise

To provide an opportunity for supported agencies to work with our EmComm groups in a realistic
drill

To provide an opportunity for hams to work with the National Weather Service in a non-typical situation

To provide an opportunity for hams to meet training requirements to advance, or retain EmComm certification that requires periodic activation or Simulated Emergency Test participation

To provide an opportunity for hams to work a drill that requires passing a high volume of traffic on behalf of served agencies

This exercise is not an attempt to test Amateur Radio operators ability to grab a "go bag" and get to an unannounced disaster scenario as quickly as possible.  You will know your assignment and the scenario prior to the activation.  The activation will provide an adequate challenge without the element of a surprise deployment.

Hams are welcome to register and participate regardless of affiliation or the lack of affiliation.  We are looking for RACES, ARES, members of clubs interested in emergency communications or individuals that are non-affiliated hams.
Don't forget your After-Action-Reviews and Photos