LOS ANGELES (CBSLA)  —  The Los Angeles Fire Department said Thursday that drone technology helped them get a handled on last week’s Skirball Fire in Bel Air.

While it is illegal for private citizens to fly drones over wild fires, the LAFD said their technology will aid them in the future.

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CBS2’s Dave Lopez said the LAFD is the country’s largest fire department using drones.

The drones were employed on day two of the Skirball Fire. Lopez said for legal reasons the LAFD was unable to release footage the drone captured.

The department has six drones at their disposal. They transmit clear pictures back to the command center. They’re also equipped with infra-red cameras.

“It really allows me to make a different, a more effective decision when it comes to the strategy that I want to put in place,” said Captain Richard Fields.

The fleet of six drones cost $43,000.  The money was supplied by the Wasserman family.

Fields said the drones, of course, are much safer without having to put boots on the ground.

The department said it would ultimately like to have about 20 drones in their arsenal — right now they are getting comfortable with what drones can and cannot do.

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The department also has 12 “pilots” who are licensed by the FAA to fly the drones.







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