BC Wildfires on 123.1?

Jay911

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Hey all,

Does BCFS use 123.1 at all for wildfire ops?

I was out west of Calgary this morning and picked up some weak comms on the above frequency that were definitely wildfire related. It was recognizable as someone making a report in a tabulated format about a fire. It wasn't Alberta Agriculture & Forestry Wildfire Branch because they have a similar but different system.

What I'm used to hearing from Alberta crews is like this:

"Line 5: Today's date at this time" (5 = assessment time)
"Line 6: 0.01 hectares" (assessment size)
"Line 9: 51 degrees 12 minutes 34 seconds north" (lat)
"Line 10: 114 degrees 56 minutes 00 seconds west" (long)
"Line 12: Recreation" (general cause)
"Line 16: Abandoned fire" (true cause)
and etc.

What I heard today used Alpha/Bravo/Charlie/Delta/Echo (etc) prefixes instead of line numbers, but was otherwise similar (except it was not in the AgFor WB order either).

Any thoughts on what it could have been?
 

dwc

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Vancouver, BC
Given the info provided it sounds like they were transcribing a standard IFR (Initial Fire Report) for the BC Forest Service. However there is no way an aircraft would be legitimately reporting this to fire base or "fire centre" on 123.1. With that said, since most pilots are trained to monitor and provide assistance on 123.1 I am guessing that this may have been a mistake and they may have had the wrong radio selected (i.e one of the air band VHF radios vs the VHF FM radio) on their headset when they were providing the IFR.

The ABCDE,etc you described is in a IFR. See here for more info;


Cheers,

dwC
 

Jay911

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That sounds like that's what I heard. Thanks! Yeah, in Alberta the IFR is generally done over a ground based repeater frequency as well (the Firenet repeater network). I figured it was a stretch but it was the only legitimate thing I could come up with.
 

Jay911

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I found I had a recording of it, and interestingly enough it is an Alberta location that was called in. I'm not used to hearing them use this format though, and it doesn't 100% match your sample IFR.

"Alpha: Negative"
"Bravo: 50 59 114 33" (which puts it about 5 minutes from my house)
"Charlie: Undetermined"
"Delta: 3"
"Echo: 3"
"Foxtrot: By golf course"

I guess it must have been an Alberta crew calling it in, though I don't see a wildfire for that location in the daily data (and it would be in my municipal FD response area as well). Unclear on what D and E refer to - it's a fairly flat plain with some trees but largely open swaths of grass.
 

BC_Scan

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Vancouver BC
C +D + E ,Cause , Rank & Rate of fire ? I am a casual observer, no expert by any stretch but based on what they say (over here)
 

YYCPilot

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Aug 31, 2020
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Jay,

What you heard was an Air SAR aircraft sending a NOCL (Notice Of Crash Location) message to its base. Given the location (Calgary CASARA often uses Moose Mountain area as a practice location) and no news of an aircraft gone missing is was probably an exercise.

The freq 123.1 (Aircraft) is designated as a SAR freq across Canada and used for both exercises and actual SAR Missions. If the aircraft ident sending the message is three numeric digits it is an RCAF aircraft, if it is three or more letters it is a civilian aircraft. If the ident is preceded by RESCUE, ie Rescue402 then it is an actual SAR mission otherwise it is an exercise. RCAF aircraft will usually use a CANFOR prefix i.e. CANFOR402 to identify themselves.

From memory the NOCL message format is:
Alpha: Is the object positively identified as the search object: Affirmative or Negative - You have to either be talking to someone on the ground or see the aircraft ident of the aircraft to positively identify the object.
Bravo: Object location: DDMMDDDMM a nine digit string indicating the degrees and minutes of the latitude and longitude
Charlie: Condition of survivors: Undetermined - cannot not determine number or condition of survivors, or Black, Red, Green with a number to indicate the number of deceased, critical condition, or uninjured.
Delta, Echo - Description of location - numeric codes specifying location information
Foxtrot: Additional remarks

Hopefully that helps
 
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