Center of Excellence Projects

Center of Excellence Projects
Project Title CoE Contact Description
sUAS in Public Safety Study (House Bill 17-1070) Garrett Seddon House Bill 17-1070, concerning the study of use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for public safety applications, became law on June 6, 2017. This act requires the CoE to conduct a study regarding the integration of UAS into government operations as it relates to public safety. After the conclusion of the study, the CoE is required to submit a report to the legislature about the conclusions of the study. For this UAS pilot program, the CoE will test and evaluate various UAS platforms, sensors, and software on a variety of public safety missions. The CoE will also develop policies and procedures and advise public safety agencies on how UAS technology can improve the safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of their daily operations. The UAS study and pilot program will absorb the risk, cost, and effort of developing a meaningful UAS capability for public safety agencies in Colorado.
Aerial Application of Water Enhancer Study Dave Toelle Water enhancers (commonly referred to as gels) have been limited in their operational use in recent years. As such, their effectiveness has not been thoroughly evaluated through field testing. Consequently, wildland fire agencies in Colorado do not have access to information about the availability, use, and effectiveness of water enhancers. The Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting (CoE), with support from the Division of Fire Prevention and Control’s (DFPC’s) Aviation Unit and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), is conducting a study during the 2017 wildland fire season to evaluate the effectiveness of water enhancers on wildfires by using single engine air tankers (SEATs) to test three products. For more information visit the Water Enhancer Project page or contact the CoE Aerial Firefighting Expert at
Night Aerial Firefighting Operations Dave Toelle The CoE is investigating the goal of bringing safe, effective, and efficient night aerial firefighting operations to Colorado. A Night Aerial Firefighting Operations Summit was held on January 27–28, 2016, and aircraft operators, vendors, and experts in the field of night aerial firefighting operations provided the CoE with input and recommendations to help shape and guide Colorado’s night operations program. Currently, the CoE staff is analyzing data from the Summit and performing further research to prepare a recommendation to DFPC.
Team Awareness Kit (TAK) Brad Schmidt Many fires and public safety incidents in Colorado and other western states occur far from cities and permanently populated areas. Voice communication is typically available to firefighters in these backcountry areas through land mobile radios or satellite phones. However, Internet connectivity is frequently unavailable to firefighters in the backcountry or during large disasters in populated areas that disrupt communications infrastructure. The CoE is working to provide map-based situational awareness to firefighters and other first responders when traditional Internet access is unavailable or unreliable.
Satellite Messenger Evaluation & Experimental Deployment Brad Schmidt

Completed: The CoE has issued the final report on this project.  The final report can be viewed here:
Satellite Messanger Evaluation for Wildland fire Managment CoE-17-005.1​
Zip file of test data (kmz file).
Note that the appendix of this report also discusses concurrant ATAK/Gotenna testing.

The CoE is evaluating the capabilities and limitations of satellite-based, handheld devices that transmit messages and tracking information. Devices are currently being tested by DFPC firefighters so that CoE personnel can gain real-world feedback.

Colorado Fire Prediction System Brad Schmidt
C.R.S. 24-33.5-1232 directs DFPC, through the CoE, to establish and support a Colorado-specific fire-decision-support system. The state is contracting with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, to develop the system, which will be able to predict fire spread, smoke dispersion, and other fire phenomena up to 18 hours in advance. A stakeholder committee has been assembled to provide guidance as the system is developed.
Geospatial-PDF maps Brad Schmidt Maps providing information on DFPC wildland-fire-related efforts are being created by CoE personnel. Interested parties can view maps and plot their location by downloading the Avenza PDF-Maps app onto their smartphone or other device. Check back regularly for new content!
Air-to-Ground Data Link Brad Schmidt The CoE is evaluating technologies that will allow firefighters to access digital fire information in areas where reliable Internet connections are unavailable. Specifically, the CoE is assessing technologies with the capability to create a data link from the Multi-Mission Aircraft to fire crews on the ground.