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Forest Service still undecided on nighttime firefighting

File: A Los Angeles County fire fighter monitors hot spots as he fights the Station Fire August 30, 2009 in Acton, California.
File: A Los Angeles County fire fighter monitors hot spots as he fights the Station Fire August 30, 2009 in Acton, California.
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Firefighters in Southern California are still waiting to find out whether the U.S. Forest Service will help them battle flames from the air, after dark.

Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell says his agency is almost done reviewing its policy on night flying. In the interim, he says, the Forest Service will "work with our partners that do have the night flying capability, so that they’re available to assist when we have fires in the National Forest. But we’re going to complete our review and be able to sit down and look at what we need to do, whether to move forward or not."

Tidwell has been under pressure from Southern California lawmakers to change the Forest Service policy on night flights.

The ban went into effect after a 1977 helicopter crash. Critics say the lack of Forest Service air support during the 2009 Station Fire allowed it to get out of control — two firefighters were killed and dozens of homes were destroyed.