Shasta County Fire's radio system is a typical CALFIRE system, dispatched out of their ECC in Redding, with the standard local net, county net and tacticals. However, the county still has hold of some of their frequencies before they were fully branded by CDF. The Anderson, Cottonwood, Happy Valley and Shasta Lake City "District nets" are utilized by department training or tactical overflow. During the 4th of July or other major Fairgrounds based operations, Anderson District Net is cooking.
The fire danger in Shasta County should just be tagged as extreme for the duration of Fire Season. The county is where the urban valley floor meets the forest and wildland. This is called the Urban/Rural Interface Zone or I-Zone for short. There are countless houses built for urbanization in and around wildland vegetation. During a wildland fire, these houses don't stand a chance unless the state mandated 100ft clearance is placed around the house and there's enough resources to protect the houses. With the geographics of the Redding basin, 30mph winds can whip up the 110 degree heat and the slightest spark will start off a large fire.
Recent I-Zone fires in Shasta County have been:
Fountain Fire - Aug 1992 - 636 structures and 63,960 acres
Canyon Fire - Sept 1999 - 230 structures and 2,580 acres
Jones Fire - Oct 1999 - 954 structures and 26,200 acres with 1 death
Whitmore Fire - Oct 2003 - 0 homes (plenty saved) and 1200 acres
Bear Fire - Aug 2004 - 110 structures and 10,484 acres
French Fire - Aug 2004 - 26 homes, 1 commercial, 76 outbuildings and 13,005 acres
Lightning Complex - July 2008 - 6 homes, 16 outbuildngs, and 86,500 acres
Detailed USFS frequencies can be found on USFS page.
Whiskeytown has its own Rangers and fire resources. For any fire larger than a spot, they will request CALFIRE mutual aid. Radio raffic can be pretty busy during summer days and weekends.
Redding CHP Communications Center serves a wide geographic area, including the Red Bluff, Redding, Burney and Weaverville CHP stations. They also dispatch for Caltrans in the off hours, cover the Fish and Game and old UHF State Law Nets. Because of this, you may hear the same dispatcher talking on 42.440, 47.100, 151.415, 460.025 and 858.7375. You can see how to monitor CHP to understand their radio ID's and radio operations.
151.415 Fish and Game
154.680 Dept of Justice
460.450 State Law Net
CLEMARS statewide mutual aid
154.935 (low power)
This remote base is linked to Marine Channel 16 (156.800) USCG San Francisco and USCG Humboldt Bay transmissions. I also just heard Monterery Bay USCG. It will re-broadcast those transmissions for the USCG Auxiliary on Lake Shasta. Also, all marine channel 16 transmissions on Lake Shasta seem to be rebroadcast over 150.700. This is probably related to the Lake's new Marine Band VHF Radio Network that the Auxiliary has installed to provide better coverage of the marine channel 16 on the Lake. There are numerous remote base stations on various Forest Service radio sites around the lake which provide the Auxiliary a way to monitor the entire lake at once.
Shascom is a joint dispatch center for the county of Shasta and the city of Redding. This setup allows all agencies to work together in the need of joint mutual aid response. The building is a very secure building located in western Redding.
This modern facility can support all the agencies listed, as well as many meetings, news/press conferences, trainings, and other logistal support needs. The dispatch center has 4 octoganal "pods" of dispatch consoles. Each pod can support 3 dispatchers and a calltaker in a fullsized, computer controlled dispatch system. The shape of each pod allows the dispatchers to be in close proximity to each other, yet not interfere with the other's operations. One pod is dedicated to the Sheriff, another Pod to the Police, and the third pod shared to the fire/medical dispatchers. All the pods can handle any kind of traffic for backup or expansion purposes. The 4th pod is a smaller setup and it is the shift supervisor's position. They can monitor and oversee all the operations at Shascom and come to support any dispatcher who needs help handling a call or give advice.
The behind the scenes support for this facility is amazing. There is complete security all around the building so nothing goes in or out without being known. This is the 911 PSAP for the area. Two other backup locations in Redding serve as secondary PSAP as well if needbe. Also, all the officers in the city and county are linked by Mobile Data Computers (MDC) to Shascom, as well as key apparatus for Redding FD (buildout as budget allows).
Dispatch is out of SHASCOM. There are 4 repeaters in the county to serve the vast geographic separation of the department. All traffic stops are handled on F2 by the same dispatcher who handles Redding PD's F-2 traffic channel. This allows a seperate dispatcher to focus on the primary F-1 radio traffic and dispatch calls. Sometimes Blue is utilized as a services repeater. For large operations - they can split dispatch into North County and South County or similiar using Blue and F-1. General radio traffic is routine. Most everything you will hear is on F-1 and if they change to a secondary channel they will say so on F-1 most of the time. There are some special units you will hear on F-1. The Sheriff is 101 and Undersheriff is 102 (so using radio ID page they are 3A101 and 3A102). BLM and BOR officers are 3N34 and 3N51. The Medical examiner is 1366 and the UP Railroad Police Special Agent is 20N1.
The Marshall's Office is a very special office and one of 3 or 4 in the whole state of California. Its primary duties are to service high risk subpoenas and courthouse security. The Marshall's office was supposed to close down and services go to other portions of the Sheriff Dept. Not sure if or when that happens. (that means more freqs for SO to play on ;) They have two Marshall's serving subpoenas, and about 8 doing courthouse security (2 always at the metal detectors). They also have service officers.
Marine boat patrol on Lake Shasta and the Sacramento River is on 155.070. In the past a UHF repeater on 453.8375 repeated the 070 traffic across Lake Shasta so units could hear each other on different arms of the Lake. I personally haven't heard this repeater in a while and nobody in the area has either so I have changed it to an unconfirmed status.
Redding City Fire, dispatched by SHASCOM, is very easy to listen to on the scanner. You will find them only on VHF-hi frequencies, thanks to a declined invitation to the city's trunked system. The dept wanted to maintain its mutual aid capability with nearby Calfire and Shasta County. Fire administrators and investigators do have access to the trunked system for their related traffic.
Redding geography is very mixed, with plenty of urban-rural interface I-Zone areas within the city limits. The department has to be multi-disciplined to respond to the different incidents with Interstate 5 and Union Pacific railroad running through the middle, Sacramento River swift water rescues, over-the-edge cliff rescues, industrial fires and hazmats, airport crash-standby as well as 100+ acre fires inside and along the edges of the city, threatening many homes.
Redding Fire has an automatic aid agreement with Calfire and Shasta County Fire. When city apparatus respond outside of the city, they will show up on Calfire Local Net 151.160 with the "RDN" designator such as "RDN Engine 2". Also, any significant vegetation fire within the city of Redding will automatically become managed by Calfire dispatch. Redding City Fire dispatcher will no longer handle the incident and all traffic, including response traffic moves to Calfire Local net.
A new station 8 was built at the intersection of Churn Creek and College View to serve the growing remote area of northeastern Redding. Recent budget-saving ideas were to combine Stations 2 and 3 apparatus and personnel. With budget constraints in the city, these ideas might be looked at again.
City Trunked System
58672 F-1 Patrol 1 Dispatch
58704 F-2 Patrol 2 Traffic
58736 F-3 Chit-Chat
58768 F-4 Investigations (Blue)
58800 F-5 Records
58832 F-6 Tac 1
58864 F-7 Tac 2
Redding City PD is dispatched by both a mobile data computer (MDC) and radio. Most calls are dispatched via MDC but hot calls, which most scanner listeners are interested in, are dispatched over the radio. All traffic stops are handled on F2 by the same dispatcher who handles the Sheriff's "Blue" channel. This allows a separate dispatcher to focus on the primary F-1 radio traffic and dispatch calls. Records is a lower priority channel that is covered by one of the dispatchers when they are not busy.
RPD has a digital mode for tactical traffic that needs to be secure from scanner listeners. However I'm not sure if this is simply a digital APCO25 transmission (monitored with a digital-capable scanner in mixed mode), or actual encryption.
Since RPD is the only public safety agency in 228 square miles in the 800MHz range, let alone trunked, it is completely by itself in radio land. This also means it's isolated from its neighbors for mutual aid help. Luckily SHASCOM helps in this matter by patching together VHF and 800MHZ CLEMARS, and other channels as needed to provide mutual aid with neighboring agencies. With a remote base on 800MHz and VHF CLEMARS on a nearby mountain top, dispatch can be heard pretty far at times. If the patch is on, sometimes other CLEMARS traffic from a distance gets inadvertantly pushed out over 800MHz CLEMARS.
Anderson City is a small city south of Redding that at times, can stir up some trouble. Housing the county fairgrounds, an old downtown, a huge river park along the Sacramento River and a great traveller's foodstop, many of their calls can compete with huge city calls. They've had their murder or two recently, their fires, their chases and so forth. If the fairgrounds are empty, don't bother trying to hear some "action" ;)
If you decide to listen to APD though, here is some great info thanks to Jacy Krogh. The city is divided into two beats, my guess is east and west of Hwy 5. West of Hwy 5 is the downtown district, high school and fairgrounds. East is the growing residential district and the river park.
On patrol usually are two officers and a roving sergeant. One officer per beat and the sergeant rolling to cover any calls as backup. The radio ID's are 1 David 1 and 1 David 2 most of the time. The community service officers are 445 and 447. The volunteers are in the 800's. Dispatch name is "APD" and the radio codes are the same as Shascom. This is because Shascom dispatched for APD until APD got their dispatch center finished and back online.
Mercy went into agreement with PHI (Petroleum Helicopters Incorporated) to transfer the operations of Mercy Air Ambulance to PHI. Mercy was going to retain the "Mercy Air" designator, however when Reach changed their copter to "Reach 5" instead of keeping "AirMed", PHI went with their corporate name also. PHI uses Outerlink for air asset and data link