And they’re not alone. “We have lasers on our aircraft, and we were involved up on Mount Palomar to do a night hoist where a Sheriff’s Aviation unit used a laser to show exactly where a lost hiker was,” explains SDFD’s Stephenson. “We can put a target into our computer system, slew the FLIR to that location and turn the laser on. Laser technology is just amazing.”
Some other outfits may start flying at night as well. “Erickson [Erickson Air-Crane] has asked to do night ops with us,” says L.A. County’s Short.
MIKE ARCHER is an author, wildfire consultant, systems engineer, and public speaker who has been interviewed by CBS News, KABC-TV, USA Today, and the Associated Press on wildfire topics, and has been part of a delegation testifying before government bodies (including Congress and the California Senate) on fire-related issues. He runs the Wildfire News of the Day blog and Firebomber Publications.