Wildland Fire Safety & Health Reporting Network

SAFENET Event Information
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Event Start Date:
08/15/2016 1700
Event Stop Date:
Incident Name:
Radio Interference
Fire Number:
New Mexico
Local Unit:
Gila National Forest
Incident Type:
Incident Activity:
Line, Support
Stage of Incident:
Initial Attack, Mop Up, Demobe, Non-incident
Position Title:
Assistant Center Manager 
Radio operation for IA and Prescribe fire 
Management Level:
Resources Involved:
Functions of Fire, Recreation, Range Techs, Other Misc. Overhead, and Aviation Local Flight Follow 
Contributing Factors
Contributing Factors:
Communications, Human Factors
Human Factors:
Risk Assessment, Situational Awareness  
Other Factors:
Describe in detail what happened including the concern or potential issue, the environment (weather, terrain, fire behavior, etc), and the resulting health issue.
The Gila NF has been experiencing radio interference on the main Copperas Base/Repeater Station for some time now. Copperas serves as a central communication hub for (3)three Forest Service Districts. The Interference can be heard through the response area of all three districts resulting in field going resources stating they feel like turning the radio down or off.

The Gila National Forest just went through a radio network upgrade that was to fix a previous interference issue with Cab Cars in Mexico to interference from, what has been determined to be localized radio interference from radio users close to or within the Gila NF. This problem is known by a CIO Radio Technician stationed on the Gila NF and supervisor.

The radio interference overrides USFS radio traffic and poses a huge safety problem if this interference takes place during critical times of communication.
Immediate Action Taken
Reporting Individual : please describe actions you took to correct or mitigate the unsafe/unhealthful event.
This radio interference involves Spanish speaking individuals and this traffic has been translated to a local CIO Radio technician by local dispatchers and district personnel to help identify as to what the radio traffic may consist of i.e locations, work being performed, telephone numbers, and names. Several attempts have been made to contact the individual's via Copperas with no response. It was also suggested by a CIO Radio Technician during the interference to send a 1000HZ dBM test tone to see if will interfere with their communication. This did not seem to alleviate any communication interference.

The CIO Radio Technician has also worked diligently with frequency finding equipment to pinpoint locations however has been unsuccessful due to the large amount of area that the radio interference could potentially be happening in.

The FCC has been contacted and is also scheduled to arrive within the coming weeks for evaluation of this issue. In the mean time Silver City Interagency Dispatch Center will work closely with CIO Radio Technician and field going personnel to assure all communications are relayed appropriately

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