USFS ATU Compliance for the 2024 Aerial Firefighting Season

This article provides a look at the specific changes and actions required to meet USFS compliance for ATU solutions like the AFDAU-T1, DataVault, and DZMx.

As the 2024 aerial firefighting season approaches, operators must navigate the new landscape set by the United States Forest Service (USFS) for Additional Telemetry Units (ATUs). This article provides an in-depth look at the specific changes and actions required to meet USFS compliance for ATU solutions like the AFDAU-T1, DataVault, and DZMx.

Decoding USFS ATU Requirements

The USFS mandates for 2024 necessitate significant updates in aerial firefighting technology. The primary changes include the integration of ATUs and Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) systems into Type 1 and Type 2 rotorcraft and fixed-wing water bombers. These ATUs must be capable of recording detailed firefighting event data, including water and retardant volumes, GPS positions, and timings, and transmitting this data within two minutes of occurrence.

Key Compliance Features for ATUs

ATUs must comply with specific USFS standards to be considered operationally viable. This includes:

  • Real-time GPS position reporting.
  • Accurate recording of events such as tank or bucket fill, drop-start, and drop-stop.
  • Immediate data transmission capabilities to government agencies like the USFS or TracPlus Cloud in New Zealand and Australia.
  • Compatibility with current load cells, hopper gauging systems, and tanks.
  • Ability to report detailed information such as gallons filled and dropped, pump on/off events, and coverage levels.

ATU Solutions: Meeting and Exceeding Standards

For compliance and operational excellence, consider ATUs like the AFDAU-T1, DataVault, and DZMx:

  • AFDAU-T1: Known for its calibration-free installation, it seamlessly integrates with existing systems and provides comprehensive data reporting.
  • DataVault: Offers a single-component solution with customizable tracking intervals and robust equipment control features.
  • DZMx: Stands out with its all-in-one communication system, offering global voice, messaging, data, and tracking functionalities.

Action Plan for Operators

Operators must:

  • Assess and understand the specific USFS ATU requirements.
  • Ensure their ATU systems can capture and transmit the required data reliably and in real-time.
  • Confirm ATU system compatibility with their existing firefighting equipment.
  • Choose ATU solutions that are validated for compliance with USFS standards.


As we prepare for the 2024 fire season, aligning with USFS ATU requirements is imperative for operational efficiency and regulatory compliance. TracPlus offers expert guidance and a range of USFS-compliant ATU solutions to meet these challenges.

To ensure you’re compliant, you need to be purchasing your ATU from an approved vendor such as TracPlus, who can set you up with an all-in-one solution covering ATU and AFF compliance.

TracPlus offers the most comprehensive range of additional telemetry units (ATUs) in the market.

To discover which ATU best suits your needs, reach out to us today.

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