Residents living in Inyo, Mono, and San Bernardino counties interested in a fire prevention program email

Friday, June 4, 2010

CAL FIRE BDU Participates in Tonner Canyon Drill

Fire crews from four counties and a variety of local cities participated in fire preparedness drills in Tonner Canyon. Tonner Canyon, located across the borders of Los Angeles and Orange counties is ground zero in the mutual threat zone for these four counties and neighboring cities such as Diamond Bar, Chino Hills, Corona, and Brea. A fire in Tonner Canyon poses a threat to all four counties and nearby communities. This area provides a variety of wildland terrain and vegetation to train in. One of the main objectives of this year’s exercises was to test the SOLAR communications plan.

What is SOLAR? SOLAR stands for San Bernardino, Orange, Los Angeles and Riverside Multi-County Mutual Threat Zone. This plan was developed in part as a response to the 2008 Freeway fire. SOLAR is primarily a unified communications plan. In the past, numerous fire departments responding to fire reports in that general area were using multiple radio frequencies and weren’t immediately able to talk with other responding departments. Today, thanks to the SOLAR communications plan, those same departments rolling into the same areas now do so utilizing a pre-set group of common radio frequencies. This allows for a unified response and more rapid coordination of arriving fire resources and fire fighting efforts.

This year’s Tonner Canyon scenario involved an initial attack response to a call of a vegetation fire in Tonner Canyon by the City of Brea Fire Department. Upon their arrival, the scenario expanded the fire to both sides of the canyon. Utilizing the SOLAR communications plan, the additional responding resources from the four counties and surrounding cities were able, utilizing the common radio frequencies to quickly establish staging areas and multi-agency aircraft operations. As the exercise grew, fire resources such as engines and crews were able to respond to the immediate areas of need.

The goal of the exercise was to test the communication plan along with the preparedness of the fire fighters and their ability to work together. The exercises were conducted on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, June 1,2,and 3, 2010.