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California Firefighters May Do More Nighttime Drops

By James T. McKenna | May 22, 2007

California’s aerial firefighters are working to expand their use of nighttime water drops, the  Press-Enterprise newspaper reports. The California Dept. of Forestry and Fire Protection has been studying the idea of night drops for two years, including consulting with the Los Angeles County Fire Dept., one of the foremost users of night drops. Cal Fire could use its surplus, Vietnam-era aircraft for night drops, Chief Mike Padilla told the newspaper, but a full-scale program would require a new fleet of specially equipped helicopters, which is at least three years off. Night drops must be done at lower altitudes, which increases the risk of collision with terrain or obstacles, such as power lines. For related news

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