SAN DIEGO, July 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Girl Scouts San Diego are pleased to announce the completion of a $150,000 helipad at Girl Scouts' Camp Winacka near Julian. This helipad provides a new strategic landing area for CAL FIRE and emergency responder aircraft in a key, high-risk fire area.
The helipad is located just 200 yards from Upper Lake at Camp Winacka. The lake became a dipping station for CAL FIRE helicopters as a result of restoration work funded by SDG&E in 2013. Now, with the completion of the helipad, a fire-fighting helicopter can be pre-positioned at Camp Winacka and load water directly from the lake, saving precious response time in the event of a backcountry wildfire. CAL FIRE also will use the camp for logistics training.
"Every second is critical when getting to the scene of a wildfire," said Tony Mecham, CAL FIRE and San Diego County Fire Chief. "We thank Girl Scouts San Diego and SDG&E for providing a valuable asset that will help us more quickly reach small wildfires and prevent them from becoming big ones."
The helipad and lake renovation serve dual purposes. During summer camps and weekend visits, Girl Scouts can fish, canoe, and engage in science, technology, engineering and math activities, such as stargazing through telescopes and launching water rockets.
The helipad also improves the local community's ability to respond to medical emergencies involving campers, hikers or area residents.
"We are thrilled that, by partnering with SDG&E to renovate the lake and create the helipad at Camp Winacka, we are contributing to emergency response during fire season," said Girl Scouts San Diego CEO Jo Dee C. Jacob. "These enhancements will also provide valuable program space for thousands of Girl Scouts."
"Sealing the lake and building a helipad at Camp Winacka greatly improve the region's fire preparedness," said John Sowers, vice president of electric distribution operations for SDG&E. "SDG&E is proud to support the safety of the region, and we applaud Girl Scouts San Diego for creating a 'win-win' situation that benefits campers, the community and CAL FIRE."
Click here for a video that includes a brief interview with Chief Development Officer Debbie Rider of Girl Scouts San Diego and aerial views of the lake and new helipad taken by one of SDG&E's unmanned aircrafts.
SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and 868,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The utility's area spans 4,100 square miles. SDG&E is committed to creating ways to help customers save energy and money every day. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego. Connect with SDG&E's Customer Contact Center at 800-411-7343, on Twitter (@SDGE) and Facebook.
Founded in 1912, Girl Scouting provides the nation's best leadership experience for girls. Through Girl Scouts, girls discover themselves, connect with others, and take action to make the world a better place.
Girl Scouts San Diego provides activities for 43,000 local girl and adult members, trains volunteers, and maintains two camps and four program and service facilities.
SOURCE San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)