Fallbrook On Fire, Feb. 10-11, 2002

This was the second time that the Fallbrook amateur radio repeater system had been used to assist the community during an emergency. (The first emergency use of that repeater was during the De Luz flood of 1993.)

With the fire of February 2002 – and current as of the time we post this (20 Feb)- there were 13 people injured, 43 homes, 49 outbuildings and 40 vehicles destroyed, 100 engine companies and 655 fire fighters involved, 5000 acres burned, with two fire engines and one Sheriff’s patrol car destroyed.

The following captions and pictures were provided by Bob Gonsett, W6VR:

Bill and Wayne Dewey, WD6AHW and WD6AHX, a father and son team, served as the Net Control operators and directed all radio communications on the Fallbrook Amateur Radio Club’s repeaters during the February 2002 fire. Bill is on the right.

A view of the fire plume from a distance early Sunday afternoon. The fire spread along the western portion of the Santa Margarita River basin and leveled a number of houses within blocks of downtown Fallbrook. Joel Brown’s (KE6FHS) home survived, but some of his neighbor’s did not. The fence between his house and the one next door reportedly burnt to the ground.

Amateur Radio operators from far and wide came to the aid of Fallbrook. Pictured is Jess, KD6YEI, of San Diego, wiping his slate clean and getting ready to man the San Diego County radio communications van.

Residents of the fire zone were evacuated to Fallbrook High School. Here, Bob N6OX (orange vest), provides ham radio communications in support of Red Cross activities at the evacuation center.

This photo was taken inside the high school gymnasium where the Red Cross had set up a temporary shelter. A video news photographer from XETV/Fox Channel 6 is visible on the right.

Special thanks are extended to Chris Durso AA4CD, who designed and built the Fallbrook Amateur Radio Club’s dual repeater system.

The Fallbrook Amateur Radio Club extends its sincere appreciation to each and every ham operator who contributed his and her time and effort to this community emergency. The list of operators participating on February 10, as provided by Net Control, is as follows:

Bill WD6AHW, Wayne WD6AHX, Chris KF6AJM, Don WD9BBC, Frank KB6CPZ, Bob WD6DIJ, Fritz KE6EKY, Joel KE6FHS, Norm KF6GOF, Sue KF6GOY, Ron KG6HSQ, Peter AB6IH, Scott KF6JXT, Alonso KF6LFZ, Erich W6LKK, Stephen KC6MIE, Jo KB6NMK, Jim KJ7NT, Bob N6OX, Terry K3PXX, Paul W6SJL, Randy KD6UAK, Dan KF6UFZ, Bob W6VR, Arnie N6VXM, Jess KD6YEI, George N6YMH