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SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — The state will attempt to settle a dispute in a Southern California county where the sheriff’s department and fire authority are battling over which agency should conduct air rescues.

Orange County supervisors voted Tuesday to refer the problem to the state after Fire Authority Chief Patrick McIntosh told the board his pilots would continue responding to rescue calls in remote regions. McIntosh said he would ignore Sheriff Sandra Hutchens’ recent decision to unilaterally take over helicopter operations in those areas.

The Orange County Register says pilots from the sheriff’s department and the fire authority have regularly clashed — with helicopter teams from both agencies racing to rescue scenes, at times arguing over radio and face-to-face after flying in the same airspace.

The California Office of Emergency Services will take up the dispute.


Information from: The Orange County Register,