Cameron Peak Fire

crazy88

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Jun 22, 2014
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Big worry about communications failures happening soon. Too many agencies coming to assist are dragging their home systems with them to the local sites instead of using travel channels or state mac. A primary site for DTRS and other is about to be impacted by the fire. They've put a wet ring around the radio tower but it might not be effective
A couple days ago, incident command ordered surge crews - I believe an additional 50 trucks from across the state. Either on LC Fire or MAC 7, Emergency Operations staff were saying fire trucks were asking for a channel to use so they don't crash the whole system.
 

nicavery

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Fort Collins, CO
A couple days ago, incident command ordered surge crews - I believe an additional 50 trucks from across the state. Either on LC Fire or MAC 7, Emergency Operations staff were saying fire trucks were asking for a channel to use so they don't crash the whole system.
I saw about 2 dozen of the various vehicles from around the state (and WY) parked at one of the hotels by Ihop on the south end of Fort Collins this morning. I never did hear the system crash or run out of frequencies after hearing IC warn it was happening. However, Grand Junctions Fire/EMS system is STILL on the Horsetooth Mountain site lol, so one of their trucks is just sitting scanning their home system
 

GrayJeep

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N. Colo.
I got to wondering why I wasn't hearing much traffic during the last two evenings. Normally I hear CSP and such so I decided to see what's going on with the towers I can hear from my location in Ft. Collins.

Using Pro96COM I discovered that the control channels have not changed.
BUT!
Buckhorn tower now has 15 frequencies - up from the 8 listed in the RR database.
Horsetooth tower has 16 freqs up 8 as well.
N. Bald Mtn has 11 freqs up 3 from database.
Ft. Collins has 9 - up 2 from database.

Of course these freqs may be temporary for the Cameron Peak Fire.

It doesn't explain why I didn't hear CSP but that's ok. This was interesting to find.
 

Spitfire8520

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I got to wondering why I wasn't hearing much traffic during the last two evenings. Normally I hear CSP and such so I decided to see what's going on with the towers I can hear from my location in Ft. Collins.

Using Pro96COM I discovered that the control channels have not changed.
BUT!
Buckhorn tower now has 15 frequencies - up from the 8 listed in the RR database.
Horsetooth tower has 16 freqs up 8 as well.
N. Bald Mtn has 11 freqs up 3 from database.
Ft. Collins has 9 - up 2 from database.

Of course these freqs may be temporary for the Cameron Peak Fire.

It doesn't explain why I didn't hear CSP but that's ok. This was interesting to find.
It could possibly be talkgroup patching if you happen to have an old Uniden scanner or a newer Uniden scanner without an updated firmware from within the past 2 years. Most Unidens except for the x36HP with latest firmware and SDS series ignore patched talkgroups entirely, so you might have to manually go to a completely different troop's talkgroup to hear your local troop if they have been patched. You should be able to look at the Patches tab in Pro96Com to verify if this is the case.

As for the channels on the sites, they are probably permanent, but were not identified in the past. A lot of the site information outside the major metro areas are more than a decade old, so the newer frequencies have not been identified. A lot of times site are only logged for a couple of minutes by someone passing by. If the site isn't busy, then it often will not show all the channels that it has access to. I have found that it takes at least a day and sometimes at least a week before all the channels a site uses is revealed through logging of the system.

Colorado and local agencies have been capacity to sites in the past several years that have been undocumented. I believe that the current minimum channel count for all sites is six channels (one control and five voice), although the database only shows 3-5 for many of the out of the way sites.
 

nicavery

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Fort Collins, CO
It could possibly be talkgroup patching if you happen to have an old Uniden scanner or a newer Uniden scanner without an updated firmware from within the past 2 years. Most Unidens except for the x36HP with latest firmware and SDS series ignore patched talkgroups entirely, so you might have to manually go to a completely different troop's talkgroup to hear your local troop if they have been patched. You should be able to look at the Patches tab in Pro96Com to verify if this is the case.

As for the channels on the sites, they are probably permanent, but were not identified in the past. A lot of the site information outside the major metro areas are more than a decade old, so the newer frequencies have not been identified. A lot of times site are only logged for a couple of minutes by someone passing by. If the site isn't busy, then it often will not show all the channels that it has access to. I have found that it takes at least a day and sometimes at least a week before all the channels a site uses is revealed through logging of the system.

Colorado and local agencies have been capacity to sites in the past several years that have been undocumented. I believe that the current minimum channel count for all sites is six channels (one control and five voice), although the database only shows 3-5 for many of the out of the way sites.
I agree with Spitfire, I believe to hear 2455 CSP 3C (Larimer) on some hardware you will actually need to listen to talkgroup 2451 CSP 3A (Weld). They are patched. I can listen to either on my Uniden scanner but for sdr-trunk and others i just get silence on 2455. As far as the horsetooth frequencies go I've seen no difference than whats on the FCC license for years now. The database hasnt had the full list for awhile. Maybe you are counting uplink frequencies as well? You can see all the freq's on any given site, for example here is Horsetooth Mountain ULS License - PubSafty/SpecEmer/PubSaftyNtlPlan,806-817/851-862MHz,Trunked License - WPSM706 - Northern Colorado Radio Communications Network - Frequencies Summary
 

nicavery

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Fort Collins, CO
I did throw a feed up of some of the Cameron Peak fire, search for larimer county fire/ems/sar. I also threw MAC 7 on the feed for the law group chatter, as it has some of the best info on fire movement and evacuations. No VHF for now, I'm not in a great area for receiving vhf traffic.
 

GrayJeep

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N. Colo.
Killpecker radio site just got knocked out by fire activity. This includes DTRS site
Update- correction was the power company cut the power. Not (yet) a line burnthru.

Fire is moving east and checkpoints are moving east as well. Fixed wing aircraft aren't flying due to poor visibility. Bucket helos aren't flying due to turbulence/winds. Only belly-drop Skycrane can do air attack. (heard that several hours ago)
 

nicavery

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Fort Collins, CO
Update- correction was the power company cut the power. Not (yet) a line burnthru.

Fire is moving east and checkpoints are moving east as well. Fixed wing aircraft aren't flying due to poor visibility. Bucket helos aren't flying due to turbulence/winds. Only belly-drop Skycrane can do air attack. (heard that several hours ago)
Thanks for clarification. I wonder why the propane backup didn't take over?
 

GrayJeep

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N. Colo.
Thanks for clarification. I wonder why the propane backup didn't take over?
It might have. The call I heard was Radio Tech reporting to incident command that supply had been lost. Likely he got a pager notification rather than having the system crash.
 

Paysonscanner

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A couple days ago, incident command ordered surge crews - I believe an additional 50 trucks from across the state. Either on LC Fire or MAC 7, Emergency Operations staff were saying fire trucks were asking for a channel to use so they don't crash the whole system.
Is the term "surge crews" used officially in Colorado? Was it used on the radio to make the order? We've not heard it in Arizona or California. If it is used there, what does it mean? Also the Incident Command System (ICS) only recognizes the term "truck" for ladder trucks. Some people call all FD apparatus "fire trucks," but those with hose, water and a pump are called "engines." I'm not trying to criticize here, I'm just wondering if county fire agencies are using the ICS terminology or not.
 

GrayJeep

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I'm not trained on specific fire incident language. I've heard calls for Type 6s to be moved here and there. While I was out riding my motorcycle I saw a convoy of about 8 engines/truck/pumpers fire apparatus/fancy red trucks (?) from Black Forest Colorado staging at Livermore.

You'll have to find a way to listen for yourself to decide if the Colorado crews are language-compliant. Larimer County fire and MAC 7 channels on Colorado DTRS have the core activity.
 

nicavery

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Fort Collins, CO
Heard the use of the word surge a lot in this incident and by the media, can't say I've heard it before but it doesn't seem specific to just local teams.

I heard sheriff Justin Smith (9L7 or Lincoln 7) all over the various channels all day and he mentioned it as well, staging surge crews at the pot belly restaurant
 

crazy88

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I heard sheriff Justin Smith (9L7 or Lincoln 7) all over the various channels all day and he mentioned it as well, staging surge crews at the pot belly restaurant
Lincoln 7 is the LCSO Emergency Services Director/Lieutenant and the Sheriff is Victor 1 from what I have heard.
 

nicavery

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Lincoln 7 is the LCSO Emergency Services Director/Lieutenant and the Sheriff is Victor 1 from what I have heard.
Could be! my reasoning he is L7 is people keep calling him by name, Justin, and the radio traffic shows all the lcso supervisors clearly taking direction from him. I think the ES leadership are the Ocean call signs.
 

nicavery

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Ok so after a bit of research, L7 is indeed a different Justin. Justin Whitesell and he is the director of the Emergency Operations Center. Ocean units 1, 2, 3 are the emergency services specialists. I hear them at every incident ES covers, from fires to water rescues to SAR. Sam 17 is the Emergency Services Sergeant. All of these folks are heard all day long on this Cameron Peaks incident.
 

Paysonscanner

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I'm not trained on specific fire incident language. I've heard calls for Type 6s to be moved here and there. While I was out riding my motorcycle I saw a convoy of about 8 engines/truck/pumpers fire apparatus/fancy red trucks (?) from Black Forest Colorado staging at Livermore.

You'll have to find a way to listen for yourself to decide if the Colorado crews are language-compliant. Larimer County fire and MAC 7 channels on Colorado DTRS have the core activity.
One of the largest goals in establishing the Incident Command System was to standardize terms, procedures and the names of apparatus. It is not like I'm trying to be the word police here, I'm just interested in the procedures of agencies in other states. I haven't been to Colorado in ages so I thought I would see how their procedures have evolved since the nationwide adoption of ICS.
 

GrayJeep

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I think they will be at it for quite awhile longer. Today I put my scanner in my jeep and drove up US287 to a hilltop north of Livermore so I had line of sight to the fire area. I could pick up the air attack freqs and the activities there. I can't hear those things from my house. Fire didn't expand a lot today but....... it's not over.

The Mullen fire in Wyoming has implications as the evacuations for that fire were trying to come thru the back roads in Colorado (LCR 80C) to go south which put them near the Cameron Peak fire. WY 230 was closed which is how folks from Fox Park would evacuate toward Laramie.
I'm pretty sure the fires are too far apart to merge but air attack was being divided between the two fires since it's just spitting distance between them for fixed wing.
 

crazy88

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One of the largest goals in establishing the Incident Command System was to standardize terms, procedures and the names of apparatus. It is not like I'm trying to be the word police here, I'm just interested in the procedures of agencies in other states. I haven't been to Colorado in ages so I thought I would see how their procedures have evolved since the nationwide adoption of ICS.
In post 21, the conversation I was referencing was casual in nature. In fact, I believe they just said "trucks" or "engines" when speaking about the need for a channel to put them on. When I spoke of the surge crew order of additional trucks/engines, that was based off of a social media post and not heard through a radio transmission. The surges included different types of structure and wildland engines based on social media pictures I've seen. "Surge" is a term used by the various incident management teams on the fire in their official video updates. I assume the surge crews were for additional structure protection, line creation, burnouts etc.
 
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Paysonscanner

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In post 21, the conversation I was referencing was casual in nature. In fact, I believe they just said "trucks" or "engines" when speaking about the need for a channel to put them on. When I spoke of the surge crew order of additional trucks/engines, that was based off of a social media post and not heard through a radio transmission. The surges included different types of structure and wildland engines based on social media pictures I've seen. "Surge" is a term used by the various incident management teams on the fire in their official video updates. I assume the surge crews were for additional structure protection, line creation, burnouts etc.
Interesting that various incident management teams have used the term "surge." The last time I heard it used in an official capacity was during the Bush Administration to describe a huge and sudden increase in troop numbers in Iraq. It was a term used for political purposes.

The dictionary of wildland fire terminology is complied by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. It defines "surge" as a "rapid increase in water flow which may result in a corresponding pressure rise." Hydraulic principles are very important in wildland firefighting. When my late Hubby was on a volunteer fire department and wishing to increase his qualifications and usefulness, studying engine hydraulics was important, but fairly easy for him, given his education/experience as a civil engineer. I'm sorry to see that an agency has adopted a term that seems to be rooted in the media and social media, both of which possess very little understanding of fire management.

What is a better way of describing a sudden increase in resources on an incident? I would just relate how many additional engines, dozers, crews, overhead, aircraft had been ordered and their expected first working shift. That is how it is done, at least on InciWeb and other good sources available. I've not heard anyone in the fire profession use the word "truck" and "engine" to refer to the same apparatus. For obvious reasons the differences are important.
 
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