Firefighting helicopters sat idle as wildfires broke out across California, an AP investigation concludes, thanks to a web of bureaucracy. By the time Navy, Marine, and National Guard aircraft got clearance, up to a day after blazes started, it was already too dangerous to fly. Others were missing crucial equipment that had been promised for 4 years.
“When you look at what's happened, it's disgusting, inexcusable foot-dragging that's put tens of thousands of people in danger,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican. Helicopters were flying today, helping contain the remaining blazes, which still endanger 16,000 homes. Thousands of evacuees were allowed to return home and survey the damage. Qualcomm Stadium closed as a shelter, symbolically ending the crisis.