Girl Scouts Build Helipad Near Julian to Aid CAL FIRE

Local San Diego Girl Scouts have no doubt won their fire safety badges this week.

The Girl Scouts of San Diego and SDG&E have teamed up to build a helipad at Girl Scout Camp Winacka near Julian.

The scouts announced the completion of the helipad Monday, which will be used as a key landing area for CAL FIRE and emergency responder aircraft.

The helipad, strategically located in a high risk fire area, is just 200 yards from Upper Lake, a dipping station for CAL FIRE helicopters. During a wildfire, firefighters will now be able to pre-position a helicopter at Camp Winacka and load water directly from the lake, saving precious time.

“Every second is critical when getting to the scene of a wildfire,” said Tony Mecham, CAL FIRE and San Diego County Fire Chief, in a release. “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 Girl Scouts will also be able to use the helipad for fishing, canoeing, stargazing and other activities during camp.

“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, in the news release. “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.”

The helipad cost $150,000 and will also help with medical emergencies.

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