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2009 News Releases




WICEN - Victorian Bushfire Update

Date : 27 / 02 / 2009
Author : Mark Dods - VK3XMU

WICEN is maintaining a team of five operators in Alexandra to operate DSE/CFA equipment at the Incident Control Centre (ICC) and Amateur equipment at the Municipal Emergency Coordination Center (MECC). Shifts are round the clock 8 hour shifts at the ICC and 0800 to 1800 at the MECC.

In Melbourne, WICEN is providing operators for the DSE/CFA equipment at ICCs at Kangaroo Ground, Woori Yallock and Belgrave. Two day shift and two night shift operators are scheduled at each ICC. Shifts in Melbourne run from 0700 to 1900 and 1900 to 0700 to match the firefighters' shifts.

An HF net on 3.6 MHz is operating at 1000 and 2130 daily for WICEN support and coordination, and the frequency is being monitored as much as possible at other times. The scheduled nets are being made available for listening only via the VKEMCOMM Echolink conference.

We do not currently have authorisation to incur interstate travel costs, however some operators have offered to travel interstate at their own expense to assist. We greatly appreciate this, but please talk to us before travelling so we can try to ascertain whether you are suitable for deployment.

So much for the big picture.

Today we have the ICCs fully staffed for the expected bad fire weather. The Melbourne forecast is "Partly cloudy. Areas of smoke haze. Northeast to northwesterly winds averaging up to 35 km/h shifting cooler gusty southwesterly 25 to 40 km/h by early evening. Isolated showers in the evening. Max temp 36 degrees."
We have had a report from Woori Yallock ICC that they are expecting the change between 2100 and 2300.

Two ACT operators are travelling down to join the team in Alexandra today. We welcome them, and thank them for their assistance.

Rosters are filled through to Sunday Night, but we need operators to go to Alexandra for 3 to 5 days on Sunday and Monday. We also need Day and Night shift operators for the Melbourne ICCs from Monday on.

Please note however that ICC deployment is not for every Amateur Operator! The ICCs can be extremely noisy, busy environments where multiple radios are going simultaneously. Headphones are not an option as the DSE/CFA Controllers want to be able to listen in if they feel the need. Despite all this, accurate message handling and concise voice procedure are absolutely required!

To assist operators get up to speed with CFA/DSE firefighting jargon we a compiling a glossary of terms. This is now available online at by clicking the following Link we will refine the glossary over time.

Regular Wicen updates are available online via the folllowing Link


Mark A. Dods, VK3XMU


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