California Gets Help From Feds for Wildfires

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California is improving cooperation with the Pentagon as it tries to avoid another deadly, destructive fire season.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that the Defense Department has agreed to provide information from a Cold War-era military satellite to help spot new wildfires.

The defense secretary also gave the California National Guard blanket approval through year’s end to use unmanned drones to map fires, count destroyed houses and spot survivors. The drones can peer through smoke, work at night and stay aloft much longer than manned aircraft.

Previously, state officials had to get separate federal approval each time they wanted to use the unarmed drones.

The agreements are another step in preparing for wildfires like ones that devastated the Northern California city of Paradise last fall.