Mr. Tom HarbourWrong Tom Harbour?
Aviation Management Director
935 Pardee St.
Berkeley, California 94710
Company Description: Fire Cause Analysis (FCA) provides fire investigation, forensic engineering, multi-disciplinary engineering, and scientific evaluations to clients in the insurance... more
Tom Harbour, director of fire and aviation management for the Forest Service, said political pressure did not prompt the shift, which should have the helicopter in place no later than next June.
"This is a professional decision made by a professional organization after careful analysis and study of the pros and cons, the costs and the benefits," Harbour told The Associated Press in an interview.
The agency has long been reluctant to fly in darkness in rugged national forests for safety reasons.
"There certainly are additional risks and additional expenses," said Harbour, adding that the program would be funded initially with $2 million that would go toward training, staff and equipment, including night-flying goggles.
Harbour stressed that the expansion into night flying will not guarantee that every wildfire is extinguished promptly, in all circumstances.