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Los Angeles Fire Dept. shipments drones for the first time in the battle wildfire

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Firefighters progress in combating forest fires in California

Will Carr reports on the efforts to keep the flames

The Los Angeles Fire department now has an eye in the air to help control the flames tearing through parts of Southern California, the officials said.

In a video post by the department on Thursday, the drones were launched for the first time “in an operational environment,” on the way to an aerial view location on the Skirball Fire.

#LAFD launched UAV #drones today for the first time in an operational environment on the #SkirballFire. The drones were airborne about 30 minutes to do aerial damage assessments and checking for hotspots in an area to the north of Moraga Drive. #advancedtechnology #wildfire

A post shared by LAFD (@losangelesfiredepartment) on 7-Dec-2017 at 2:33pm PST

The Skirball Fire has burned 422 acres and is 85 percent contained, according to an update Monday by the LAFD. Six structures were destroyed and 12 structures were damaged in the blaze, the update said.

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The drones, which the post said it flew for about 30 minutes, were not used to extinguish the flames, but rather helped firefighters get a better idea of the condition of the area, KPCC reported.

LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas told the outlet that two flights took that day.

“One of them was just for a visual image of the sky to get an idea of the amount of the material damage of the air,” he said. “The second goal was to find” hot spots ” where the fire is still smoldering. As soon as we have that information, we can send our firefighters to these exact locations.”

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The price of the use of drones is another argument for their continued use, Terrazas told KPCC.

“We will be able to eliminate the need for the hire of an infrared camera, and fly in our helicopters over the fire,” he said.

Terrazas added, “this is a considerable saving by the use of these drones.”

According to StateScoop, the department now has a total of eight drones. She reportedly will be working with the fire department in Austin, Texas and the sheriff’s department in Ventura County to help grow the capabilities for the equipment.

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