Figuring out where the fire is while camping.

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Figuring out where the fire is while camping.

Postby Modstock » Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:10 am

During our recent trip we had a new dilemma. After having clear blue skies nearly all day, about 4p.m. we started to notice smoke roll into the canyon.
Within the hour , all blue sky was gone.

Fairly concerned I talked to a few neighbors if they heard anything about any new local fires popping up recently. Nobody knew anything. Even a guy who just came from town.
Then it started raining ash. Small tiny bits at first but got bigger pieces falling down.
About that time everyone was packing up, not knowing how close the fire was or not.

Tried busting out my baofong radio and scanning frequencies to see if I'd pick anything up (while packing).

During this im also thinking maybe the way we came in could be on fire.
I had 2 other optional routes to escape. One was a 30mile dirt road to get to a canyon to get to a small town.

Once we got to the hwy and down the canyon safely, we found out the fire was on another mountain range accross the valley.

I thought this maybe a good topic to bring up and discuss since its fire season.

Any ham users know if or what channels/frequencies to monitor if this happened to you ?

Share your stories, escape plans, ect.ImageImage

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Re: Figuring out where the fire is while camping.

Postby lfhoward » Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:10 am

That sounds pretty scary, not knowing where the fire is in relation to your campsite. Here is a website that the Forest Service maintains showing all current fires. It says it isn’t updated more than once a day, so perhaps the up to the minute resolution you want is not quite there, but it sounds like a pretty good resource to explore.

https://fsapps.nwcg.gov/
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Re: Figuring out where the fire is while camping.

Postby saltydawg » Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:56 am

The radio channels are going to change locally, and with who is fighting the fire. Now local ham guys might be giving more updates on public freqs but you would need to know the repeater channels to listen to.

You can download all the freqs from the net and put them in manually to listen but thats a pain with a baofeng. Do you have chirp? and or know what it is?
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Re: Figuring out where the fire is while camping.

Postby twisted lines » Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:08 am

I guess if my phone worked this might :thumbsup:
Make sure its current I don't think this link updates each time? Meaning My clip, site works great.
But its been great for a few years for me.

https://tools.airfire.org/websky/v1/run ... 2020091600?
Last edited by twisted lines on Wed Sep 16, 2020 11:32 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Figuring out where the fire is while camping.

Postby tony.latham » Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:14 am

It's a good question. Here we were a month ago in the middle of Idaho:

Image

And here's what that spot looked like two weeks later:

Image

I think the red of the retardent drop would have clashed with Flame's red. :frightened:

We didn't have cell service at that camp but here's a good URL that is updated about every two hours if I recall:

https://fsapps.nwcg.gov/afm/activefiremaps.php

Me? I used to camp next to fires for fifteen years... Or at least during the summers.

Image

And I only slept with my boots on a couple of times. :thumbdown:

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Re: Figuring out where the fire is while camping.

Postby Tom&Shelly » Wed Sep 16, 2020 12:25 pm

Modstock wrote:Share your stories, escape plans, ect.


It's an issue for us at our home, especially since we live in back of a neighborhood with some hundred homes and there is only one road out. (And we are at the end of the line!) (Our other way out is on foot over our hill. I expect someday the county may call imminent domain on us and build a back-door but it would involve at least one other neighbor's land and there may be better routes.)

When I was fairly new here, I smelled and saw smoke and called a friend who lived where the smoke seemed to be coming from. Turns out it was from a fire in Arizona a few hundred miles away--seemed much closer from the concentration of smoke.

So these days, Shelly keeps in touch with the neighborhood forum and other facebook accounts, and when in doubt I run to the top of the hill to look around.

Far as bug out plans, our teardrop will be kept ready when we're in port during fire season.

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Re: Figuring out where the fire is while camping.

Postby RJ Howell » Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:13 pm

Doesn't National Weather service update this? Just asking..
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Re: Figuring out where the fire is while camping.

Postby lfhoward » Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:42 pm

twisted lines wrote:I guess if my phone worked this might :thumbsup:
Make sure its current I don't think this link updates each time? Meaning My clip, site works great.
But its been great for a few years for me.

https://tools.airfire.org/websky/v1/run ... 2020091600?


That’s an awesome website. Good visualization, and hourly changes reported.
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Re: Figuring out where the fire is while camping.

Postby Modstock » Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:48 pm

saltydawg wrote:The radio channels are going to change locally, and with who is fighting the fire. Now local ham guys might be giving more updates on public freqs but you would need to know the repeater channels to listen to.

You can download all the freqs from the net and put them in manually to listen but thats a pain with a baofeng. Do you have chirp? and or know what it is?
I didn't do the chirp thing. I manually put in all the frs/grs frequencies just so I'd be more familiar with the unit.

Lately I've made it a habit to scan frequencies in the area while im fishing or other. Just for kicks but maybe just in case.

I found these frequencies on here. Might help, just to monitor. If I can even pick em up.
Mainly I just listen, other than communicating with the wife while away from camp.
https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?aid=8851

Would it be better to try and find the forest service OR fire frequencies in this situation ?




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Re: Figuring out where the fire is while camping.

Postby Modstock » Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:11 pm

Here's a recent scary video of being trapped while camping.
https://youtu.be/HU05ftpkC-M



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