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L.A. Now Live: U.S. Forest Service reverses ban on night flying

August 17, 2012 |  8:01 am

The U.S. Forest Service has scrapped a ban on night flying to fight wildfires, a reversal in policy brought on by scrutiny of the disastrous 2009 Station fire.

Times investigative reporter Paul Pringle, who has been reporting on the Forest Service's initial response to the Station fire, the largest in Los Angeles County history, will join City Editor Shelby Grad on L.A. Now Live at 9 a.m. to discuss the reversal in tactics. Two firefighters died in the fire.

The policy shift grew out of Times reports and subsequent congressional inquiries.

The prohibition on night flying was imposed about 30 years ago for safety and cost reasons, and will resume next summer, once crews have been trained and equipped.

"We have made this important decision very carefully," Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said in a statement. "We have studied night operations from every angle -- risk management, business and operations -- and we have concluded we can conduct night operations safely and effectively."