Newsom asks Biden to ensure California can continue using Pentagon satellite data to spot and track wildfires

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Firefighters light a backfire to stop the Dixie Fire from spreading near Prattville in Plumas County, Calif., on Friday, July 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Firefighters light a backfire to stop the Dixie Fire from spreading near Prattville in Plumas County, Calif., on Friday, July 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday publicly asked President Biden to ensure California can continue to access the Pentagon’s sensitive military satellite information as part of a program to help spot and track wildfires.

The two-year-old program, called FireGuard, relies on access to the military’s infrared satellites that regularly scan the U.S. skies for enemy missiles. The satellite images are shared with firefighters, who can use them to make on-the-ground decisions about evacuations and controlling blazes.

Under an existing military agreement regarding the classified information, access to the satellite information is due to expire Sept. 30.

While the program’s leader told the Los Angeles Times in July that he expects another short-term extension, there has been no word from the Pentagon. Newsom and other California officials are seeking permanent access to the data.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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