"With little or no sleep, we were contacted by the Amateur Radio Emergency Service District Manager Mike McQueen," said Amanda Alden of Canon City. "He told us the situation was looking grim for communications."
Alden, along with Canon City residents Jeff Carrier and Phil Ott, and Pueblo West resident Neal Tew, "Didn't think twice about going to assist," Alden said. "We mostly handled health and welfare communications for the Summit shelter.
"The four of us had never assisted in an actual emergency and it felt slightly overwhelming. June 25 became a real test of our abilities to remain calm and do what was needed," Alden said, referring to when the wind-stoked fire jumped two ridges and started burning homes.
At that point, Pueblo West resident Jeff Reynolds and Puebloan Chaz Carmichael arrived to help at the Cripple Creek shelter. The ham radio operators stayed at the shelters around the clock, helped make food, ate with the evacuees and slept on cots.
The hams stayed on site until Sunday when evacuations began lifting.
"We are proud of how quickly we came together and keep the emergency lines open for the real heroes and victims of the Waldo Canyon Fire," Alden said