How a Drone Helped LA Firefighters Battle the Skirball Fire

When Los Angeles city firefighters battled the Skirball and Creek fires last week, they used a drone, for the first time, to help them assess damage and find hot spots.

Firefighter Paramedic David Danielson says it beamed live video to his team to show them where the fire was spreading. Drones provide a quick and inexpensive way to get a bird’s-eye view, he said.

LAFD Firefighter/Paramedic David Danielson with two of the department’s drones above where the Skirball Fire scorched the land.

Robert Garrova “We can call each other via radio, and they can have a drone come right up a ravine and survey and look at hotspots that they wouldn’t necessarily be able to see,” Danielson said.

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The LAPD plans to use drones on structure fires and to help with water rescues.

“Our swiftwater teams can deploy a drone and have it basically go down the Los Angeles river,” said Danielson.

There are six drones in the department’s fleet. Most of them are similar to the kind consumers can buy from a store. Some smaller fire departments in Northern California also use drones, but Danielson said Los Angeles is one of the first major cities spearheading a drone program. [Click for More]