Santa Barbara amateur radio operators respond to Thomas Fire

Local hams monitoring firefighting operations and disseminating fire information over the air, online.

Looking northeast from the Santa Barbara Riviera toward the Westmont College area and the Thomas Fire smoke plume.

Looking northeast from the Santa Barbara Riviera toward the Westmont College area and the Thomas Fire smoke plume. (K6BPM photo)

SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. – Amateur radio operators at the Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club (SBARC) have been on the air around the clock monitoring the progress of firefighting efforts during the Thomas Fire. The local radio enthusiasts monitor a number of over-the-air and online resources and disseminate information over the air including updates on aerial firefighting operations, weather conditions, evacuation orders and traffic and road conditions.

SBARC operates five primary emergency telecommunications sites including Santa Barbara City and Santa Barbara County facilities on various peaks throughout the area including Diablo Peak on Santa Cruz Island and from the American Red Cross building on State Street in Santa Barbara. Club members volunteer to build and maintain resources such as analog and digital radio repeaters, shortwave radio stations, microwave internet links and local area mesh network nodes, webcams, weather stations, and GPS asset tracking systems. These systems allow for live tracking of firefighting aircraft over the Thomas Fire online.

Access to many of the resources provided by SBARC including a live audio stream of the Club’s radio repeater is available to the general public at Anyone interested in obtaining an amateur radio license may contact the club at that website or by calling 805-456-5689.

SBARC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public benefit corporation organized to promote education for persons interested in radio telecommunications, to disseminate information about scientific discoveries and progress in the field, and to train communicators for public service and emergency communications. SBARC operates a wide-area network of analog and digital communications systems across Santa Barbara County and encourages and sponsors experiments in electronics while promoting the highest standards of practice and ethics in the conduct of communications.

Media Contact:
Levi C. Maaia, Director at Large
Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club

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About K6LCM

Levi is a member of the SBARC Board of Directors and is the K6TZ Trustee. He is also a Volunteer Examiner.

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