Los Angeles News

Station Fire review calls for night choppers

Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The Station Fire was the largest fire in L.A. County history burning 250 square miles of the Angeles National Forest

A review of the Station Fire calls for a change in procedures to allow firefighting aircraft to fly at night. (KABC Photo)

A review of the devastating Station Fire calls for a change in procedures to allow firefighting aircraft to fly at night.

There has been criticism of the early attack on the fire, from its start on August 26 until 8 the next morning. Firefighting helicopters weren't used during that time, although embers from the fire crossed Angeles Crest Highway into the Arroyo, starting spot fires. The fire review concludes helicopters "could have dropped water as needed throughout the night, attempting to control these hot spots."

U.S. Forest Service policy prevented the use of helicopters at night. The review urges a change in that policy.

The L.A. County Fire Department executive review of the largest fire in L.A. County history was submitted to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday. County Fire Chief Michael Freemen wants it sent to appropriate members of Congress, and the Department of Agriculture which oversees the Forest Service.

The Board of Supervisors has also renewed its offer of a $50,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of whoever started the fire. The state has offered a reward up to $100,000.

The Station Fire burned 250 square miles of the Angeles National Forest, destroying 89 homes and 26 commercial buildings. It led to the deaths of two firefighters.

City News Service contributed to this story.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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