MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif. - Cal Fire announced the grand opening Thursday morning of their new ‘Southern Region Interagency Operations Center.'
News Channel 3's Madison Weil got a behind-the-scenes tour of the new state of the art facility, which is 25 years in the making.
"This is a great day in the California Fire Service. This modern building and the technology that's in it will allow the California fire service to better mobilize," said Brian Marshall, State Fire and Rescue Chief, California Governor's Office of Emergency Services.
"For the fire department, this is the hub," said Captain Fernando Herrera, with Cal Fire.
The new center is located on the March Air Reserve Base. It's equipped with new technology and designed to act as a 'one-stop shop' for emergency resource needs allowing all of our agencies to work together in one place.
"What's also unique about this center is that we have multiple agencies here. And we work cooperatively to support those incidents throughout the state and that includes U.S. Forest Service, BIA, BLM, OAS Fish and Wildlife Services, Department of Interior and Department of Agriculture," said Chief Dan Johnson, Southern Region, Cal Fire.
With more than 72,500 square feet of building space on a 12 acre lot, the facility is much larger that what our agencies were using before.
The center has a new media room, a large dispatch area: "This is our aircraft board if you look down here there is the Riverside area," said Richard Cordova, Fire Captain & PIO, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection with Cal Fire.
On this board they can visually mark and see where their resources are dispatched across the state, which helicopters are being used where, and what teams and agencies are working together on any given incident.
They also have a new training and teaching space and a large yard where they can repair damaged vehicles and manage needed equipment.
They say in a few months they'll unveil a new fleet of new Blackhawk helicopters across the state capable of carrying 1,000 gallons of water to combat fires. Cal Fire added that this new space will be the model for emergency resource endeavors in the future.
The center officially opened on May 6th and is fully operational now.
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