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LAFD To Deploy Drones To Assess Skirball, Creek Fire Damage, Hot Spots

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — For the first time, the Los Angeles Fire Department is deploying drones to help out in the battle against two wildfires threatening homes in the city.

LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas said the drones would be used "for the first time ever," primarily to conduct property assessment in Creek and Skirball burn areas.

"We also can look for hotspots," Terrazas said. "The drone will fly over, locate hot spots, and then we'll dispatch our firefighters to get final extinguishment in that area. So we're very, very proud of that new technology."

The deployment marks the first since the City Council approved the department's use of drones. The approvals came despite objections from the ACLU and other civil rights groups that expressed concerns that the devices could be used to conduct surveillance and invade residents' privacy.

Civil rights activists' concerns have been aimed primarily at the Los Angeles Police Department, which has also been authorized by the Police Commission to begin a pilot program for using drones in select tactical situations.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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