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Friday, April 29, 2011

#USFS: Will allow Los Angeles County helicopters for night #wildfire firefighting

 In a report they issued on November 18, the LA County Fire Department criticized the USFS for not using helicopters at night during the early stages of the August-September 160,000-acre Station Fire near Los Angeles that killed two LA County firefighters.

Now if another wildfire strikes the Angeles National Forest, it will be easier to get water-dropping helicopters into the air at night to slow the blaze.

Wally Skalij photo. August 27, 2009.
That’s what U.S. Forest Service officials say, as the agency faces pressure to avoid a repeat of the 2009 Station Fire that burned 250 square miles, killed two firefighters and destroyed 89 homes.

Deputy Forest Supervisor Marty Dumpis said Thursday an agreement with local firefighters will make it easier to summon Los Angeles County helicopters for night firefighting in the huge forest on the edge of Los Angeles.

The Forest Service is considering allowing its own helicopters to attack wildfires at night, but the agency has long discouraged the practice because of risks to pilots. That policy is under review.

The USFS experimented with night flying in the 1970s, but abandoned it after a helicopter collision and since then has said it is too dangerous to fly helicopters 30 minutes after sunset.
Info Source article: CBSLocal - Link

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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