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The Forest Service Technology and Development (formerly Equipment Development and Testing) Program began shortly after World War II. Its mission is: The systematic application of scientific knowledge to create new or substantially improved equipment, systems, materials, processes, techniques, and procedures to meet the objectives of advanced forest management and utilization.

old fire pictureThe centers started with a focus on fire and aviation management. The southern California center spearheaded an effort to standardize fire equipment; the western Montana center concentrated on improving equipment for parachuting firefighters and their cargo onto the perimeter of wildland fires. In 1961, the decision was made to broaden the charter of both centers to consider all national forest problems. In October 1987, the name was changed from "Equipment Development and Testing" to "Technology and Development (T&D) Program" because this more accurately described the mission. As resource management became more complex, the problems the centers were asked to solve became more diverse, and solutions were not always equipment-oriented.

The Missoula Technology and Development Center

old parachute pictureIn the late 1940's, a small group started development activities for smokejumper and cargo dropping in the Northern Region, headquartered in Missoula, Montana. Under this program, regular aircraft patrols were used to detect fire, and methods were developed to parachute firefighters and supplies to remote fires. These basic innovations are still in use today. In 1953--largely because of the Northern Region's success in the use of aircraft for fighting forest fires--the Missoula Aerial Equipment Development Center was established.

This center's mission was to develop equipment for air operations throughout the Forest Service. Although designated primarily for general aerial development work, the Missoula center was frequently assigned work in other fields. In 1959, the Missoula center was expanded to include development for many land management activities in the Northwest.

The San Dimas Technology and Development Center

in the draft roomThis center was originally established in 1945 at Arcadia, CA, as the Arcadia Fire Equipment Development Center. The center resulted from the consolidation of all Forest Service fire equipment problem-solving efforts into a "laboratory sufficient to serve the fire control requirements of the Western Regions." The southern California site was selected because of the frequent fire activity in the area, the evolving industrial and academic centers, and an available Forest Service facility in Los Angeles County.

Late in the 1940's, a conference of Forest Service range management administrators and researchers recognized that a major effort was needed to adapt or develop suitable equipment for range seeding and other improvements. Thus, range became the second "sponsor" of the program and the center's name was changed to the Arcadia Equipment Development Center.

In 1965, a new facility (replacing the Arcadia facility and specifically designed and constructed for the equipment development activity) was built at San Dimas, CA.

For information about publications, please contact:

USDA Forest Service
National Technology and Development Program (Missoula)
5785 Hwy 10 W
Missoula, MT 59808
Phone: (406) 329-3900
Fax: (406) 329-3719

USDA Forest Service
National Technology and Development Program (San Dimas)
444 E. Bonita Avenue
San Dimas, CA 91773
Phone: (909) 599-1267 + Ext.
Fax: (909) 592-2309