The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) notified radio operators that they can no longer operate network repeaters, which make ham radios possible by extending their range, unless they pay significant rental fees for using public land.
“…With constantly changing technological advances, there is no longer the same [emergency] benefit to [the] state as previously provided,” reads the letter Cal Fire sent to operators. “Therefore, the department no longer financially supports ham operators, radios or tenancy.”
The department also apparently claims that to have an rental agreement in place, there’s a $2500 “technical analysis fee” and a “lease administration cost” which ranges from $3000-$5000.
Ironically, Cal Fire also sent a “Wildfire Action Plan” to residents which advises them to have a “communications plan.”