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Radio hams played crucial role in Thomas Fire

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    Posted: 04/January/2018 at 12:36

Radio hams played crucial role in Thomas Fire

Noozhawk reports amateur radio volunteers who helped during Thomas Fire seek to replace lost gear 

As the Thomas Fire roared to life on the night of Dec. 4, a video camera in Ojai caught what is among the first video images of the blaze.

The camera on Sulphur Mountain Road was pointed toward Santa Paula, where the wildfire started south of Thomas Aquinas College off Highway 150 around 6:30 p.m.

A group of ham radio volunteers who operate the camera -- part of a network of shared equipment around the county -- first saw flames on screen around 7:15 p.m. Within 15 minutes, they had the camera's feed streaming live on YouTube.

"I turned around and called all of the people I knew," said Benjamin Kuo AI6YR, who was among the amateur radio operators closely monitoring the fire's path.

Such volunteers ended up playing a crucial role as the fire exploded toward Ventura, Ojai and eventually into Santa Barbara County.

Read the full story at

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