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Engineering > Technology & Development > SDTDC

San Dimas Technology & Development Center

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[Graphic Image]: Technology and Development logo
"Caring for the Land
and Serving People"
[Photograph]: SDTDC headquarters design graphic
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The San Dimas Technology and Development Center (SDTDC) was established in 1945 to standardize fire equipment. At that time the Center—known as the Arcadia Fire Equipment Development Center—was located in Arcadia, California. It consolidated all Forest Service fire equipment problem-solving efforts into a "laboratory sufficient to serve the fire control requirements of the Western Regions." Southern California was selected due to the large fire activity in the area, its evolving industrial and academic centers, and the availability of space in an existing Los Angeles County Forest Service facility.

Additional program sponsors brought new work to the Center and its name was changed to Arcadia Equipment Development Center. In 1965, a new facility, 13 miles east of Arcadia, was designed and constructed to house the Center. In conjunction with the move, the Center's name was changed to the San Dimas Equipment Development Center. For the past 10 years, the Center has been known as the San Dimas Technology and Development Center.

Who We Are

SDTDC is a national program of the Forest Service Engineering staff in Washington, DC, and serves emerging technological requirements of the Forest Service and its cooperators.


To support the Technology and Development program's mission of resource management problem solving, the Center has a cadre of personnel with far reaching skills. Engineers, technicians, foresters, draftsmen, writers, and desktop publishers all work as project team members to support the problem-solving goals of the Center. Program areas include fire and aviation, recreation, engineering, watershed, and timber. The Center's team approach to creative problem solving has resulted in some unique and innovative projects.


These projects include the development of: scenic byway

  • A "Scenic Byways Roadside Improvement Guidebook" to help managers develop successful scenic byways.
  • The only spark arrester qualification facility in the world.
  • Self-monitoring water treatment systems for remote sites.
  • A new series of publications entitled "Water/Road Interaction'' to provide guidance in all aspects of the ways roads affect the hydrology of forested watersheds.
  • Re-engineered chemical toilets that do not smell.
  • Bear-proof food lockers for forest campsites.
  • Soil hardeners that stabilize trails for universal access.
  • A digital tally meter for estimating timber yields.
  • Biological odor control filters.
  • The "Plastic Road" for crossing wet sites on soils of low bearing capacity.

Other projects

  • Qualification testing for fire chemicals, water handling fire equipment, general purpose and locomotive spark arresters, and multiposition small engine exhaust systems.
  • Field demonstrations of "Mobile Rock Crusher" technology to determine the capabilities of road reconditioning equipment.
  • Demonstrations of the "Soil Nail Launcher" to expand this technology nationally.
  • The use of transponders for marking timber boundaries.
  • Composting as an alternative method of waste disposal.
  • Noise control on National Forest lands.


SDTDC is located on 18 acres in eastern Los Angeles County. The Center occupies state-of-the-art facilities designed to support the wildland urban interface and to provide opportunities to test applications and products under 'real time' conditions. Office spaces were specially designed to accommodate the laboratory-to-field transition.

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