The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday urged the U.S. Forest Service to allow nighttime air attacks on brush fires. The board cited damage done and momentum gained in the first night of the deadly Station Fire in August, which ended up as the largest wildfire in county history.
“County helicopters could have dropped water as needed throughout the night, attempting to control these spots,” states a county report. “Such action was not taken because the USFS policy prohibits night flying. Would night flying have made a difference? No one can say for sure, but night flying is a policy change that is needed.''
According to KPCC (89.3 FM), the county is urging a “paradigm shift in wildland fire suppression,” including mandating 200-foot brush clearances around strutures, requiring fire-resistant ground covering around the Mount Wilson communication towers, allowing night-flight firefighting, and making sure costs don't get in the way of using the best resources.
The county is sending its laundry list to Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Forest Service.