DIAMOND BAR (CBS/AP) — A new deal announced on Thursday between Los Angeles County firefighters and the U.S. government will allow night flights over federal land to help battle wildfires.

Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby announced the agreement with the U.S. Forest Service at a press conference on Southern California’s fire outlook.

The Forest Service earlier this year announced a tentative deal to loosen restrictions after months of criticism of its handling of a 2009 blaze in the Angeles National Forest that destroyed dozens of home and threatened thousands of others in foothill suburbs as it grew to 250 square miles.

Critics contended the blaze might have been checked by an overnight air attack during its early stages.

Officials expect an average fire season. Heavy rains have a spawned a bumper crop of grasses but moisture levels remain high.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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