Monday , May 27 2024

People Flying Drones Over Wildfires Causing Problems

A drone is capable of taking aerial video and pictures giving drone pilots a perspective they can’t get from the ground, but wildland firefighters say they’re seeing too many of these contraptions flying over active wildfires.

"A couple times yesterday we noticed some drones in our air space so I can’t encourage the public enough. When we have a fire in the area they need to show some restraint," said Steve Kaufmann of Cal Fire.

Aircraft is used during wildfires not only to knock down the flames, but also to survey the burn area. When drones enter that restricted airspace they’re in the direct path of low flying aircraft.

"Some of the hobbyist drones will get up in the air and if their drone is in the air we have to cease our air operations until we can get our hands around that," said Kaufmann.

Chris Geiger has piloted drones for six years and says the passion for drones is beginning to become more mainstream.

"More and more people are buying these. They’re coming down in price. They are getting easier to fly with more on board electronics and control," said Geiger.

He says it’s important for drone pilots to monitor temporary flight restrictions online. While he’s passionate about the photography and views his drones can provide– he agrees a fire is no place for an unauthorized drone.

"During a fire you can’t have people flying around, or walking around in the fire area. That’s just not appropriate and I don’t think it ever will be," said Geiger.

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