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Aerial Firefighting After Dark

Just in time for fire season (maybe), the US Forest Service announced today that "it will permit agency helicopters to attack wildfires at night in Southern California, a significant policy shift." The Forest Service was criticized for not using helicopters on the first night of the 2009 Station Fire, which eventually ravaged 250 square miles; they'd abandoned the tactic in the eighties after a collision. The night-flying will start "no later than next June" with one contractor helicopter. [AP]