AirTalk for April 2, 2010

After the Station Fire: should the U.S. Forest Service reinstate night flights?

Mercer 7010

David McNew/Getty Images

The 241-square-mile Station Fire blackens forests and races up rugged canyons along its eastern front deep in the Angeles National Forest on September 4, 2009 northeast of Pasadena, California.

Should the U.S. Forest Service fight fires at night from the air? Burbank Congressman Adam Schiff thinks so. He has asked a House panel to consider revising the policy that bans night flights, put in place after a fatal helicopter collision in the 1970s, a request LA County Supervisor Mike Antonovich has lauded. Schiff contends that improvements in technology may make night flights safer, and that firefighters will have more flexibility containing California blazes, like last year’s massive Station Fire. Will nighttime helicopter deployment improve firefighting? Are the flights safe? And is this a wise allocation of public funds?


Tony Bell, spokesman Supervisor Mike Antonovich

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