August 16, 2005

HPWREN establishes connection to CDF Helitack Base at Gillespie Field

A recent HPWREN connection was established to provide high speed data connectivity in support of firefighting activities of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection at the eight helicopter Gillespie Field Helitack Base in El Cajon.

CDF will utilize the connection for many fire support functions including

  • Real-time weather data affecting both flight planning and fire behavior
  • Keeping updated on FAA restrictions and advisories
  • Keeping the map databases current
  • Sending map data that CDF creates in flight to GIS professionals
  • Maintaining a connection to CDF's Aviation Management server in Sacramento
  • Broadband based Aerial Firefighting Training as well as Ground Firefighter Training for the Helitack Crew
  • Staying current with the general firefighting community
  • Departmental electronic communications

    "I'm sure there will be a great deal of collaboration between HPWREN, the San Diego Sheriff's Office and CDF in the future," says Steve Shoemaker. Fire Captain, Gillespie Helitack Base, CDF - San Diego Unit. "HPWREN has been a good partner to Public Safety Agencies and has been creatively supporting and enhancing our capabilities. I eagerly look forward to working together on technologies like airborne imaging systems and data links for air-to-ground applications."

    An HPWREN connection to the CDF Air Attack Base in Ramona was established in July, 2003. The Ramona base is predominantly used for fixed-wing firefighting operations.

    Gillespie Field Helitack Base

    Helitack Base at the Gillespie Field airport in El Cajon

    The firefighting capability at the Gillespie Field Helitack Base is a joint operation between the San Diego Sheriff's Office and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. joint operation

    helicopter air drop equipment
    CDF fire captain Steve Shoemaker shows one of the two new county helicopters stationed at Gillespie Field
    Besides an ability to transport firefighters, the helicopter also has the capacity to collect water during flight, and discharge it onto fires

    Lyons antenna

    The antennas and Trango Atlas radios at a CDF tower on Lyons Peak (top) and Gillespie Field (right) form the link from the HPWREN backbone to the Helitack Base

    Gillespie antenna

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