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Public Safety

Girl Scouts Camp Helipad To Be Used For Firefighting, Rescue Helicopters

A screenshot from video of Girl Scouts waving while at the just-completed helipad at a Girl Scouts camp near Julian.
Girl Scouts San Diego
A screenshot from video of Girl Scouts waving while at the just-completed helipad at a Girl Scouts camp near Julian.

A just-completed helipad at a Girl Scouts camp near Julian will be used for firefighting and rescue helicopters, it was announced Monday.

The helipad 200 yards from the Upper Lake at Camp Winacka will allow Cal Fire to pre-position firefighting choppers and provide a landing area close to where they fill up with water.

"Every second is critical when getting to the scene of a wildfire," said Tony Mecham, the San Diego County fire chief. "We thank Girl Scouts San Diego and SDG&E (San Diego Gas & Electric) for providing a valuable asset that will help us more quickly reach small wildfires and prevent them from becoming big ones."

Helicopters already get water from the lake, which was restored two years ago in a project funded by SDG&E. The utility subsequently paid $150,000 toward construction of the helipad, and fire prevention education and projects for Girl Scouts at the camp.

"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 Jacob. "These enhancements will also provide valuable program space for thousands of Girl Scouts."

The helipad will also be used for training and for responding to medical emergencies involving campers, hikers or area residents.