CALIFORNIA – Firefighters were faced with a major challenge on the Lake Fire in San Bernardino County on Wednesday as a hobby drone, or (UAS) unmanned aircraft system, was spotted in the fire area where airtankers were flying.
Just before 6 p.m. in the Onyx Summit area an airtanker spotted the drone in the area where the firefighting aircraft were working.
Firefighters were forced to ground all firefighting aircraft until they could find the operator and get the drone out of the area.
Yesterday, yet another incident with a hobby drone impacted firefighting operations, this time on the Sterling Fire in San Bernardino County. This is the second incident in two days where a hobby drone, or (UAS) unmanned aircraft system, interfered with the air operations of a wildfire.
A collision with a hobby drone could easily result in major damage to firefighting aircraft, injuries to the pilot and crew on board as well as firefighters below, and worse, a midair collision. It is unsafe for unauthorized drones to be flown anywhere near a wildfire. Cal Fire officials again stress to hobby drone users, “If you fly, we can’t!”
Anyone considering putting a drone over the fire to get video is warned that such activity interferes with air operations and puts lives in danger.