Don’t fly drones over fires

Staff Writer

Drones are becoming an increasingly popular recreational activity on forest land and throughout the country. However, drones flying near wildland fires pose a serious and immediate threat to the safety of aircraft crews involved in fire response.
Individuals and organizations that fly unmanned drones, for hobby or recreational purposes may not operate them in areas of National Forest System lands that have Temporary Flight Restrictions in place. These restrictions are implemented during events such as wildfires.
Anyone wishing to fly drones during a fire must first seek approval from the U.S. Forest Service.
The Federal Aviation Administration has regulatory authority over all airspace, including recreational use of airspace by model aircraft.
Individuals and organizations that fly drones on National Forest System lands must follow FAA guidance and FAA guidance stipulates that drones must not interfere with manned aircraft and must be flown within sight of the operator and be operated only for hobby or recreational purposes.
The FAA also requires model aircraft operators flying unmanned aircraft within five miles of an airport to notify the airport operator and air traffic control tower.
For more information, watch the “Know Before You Fly” video is external) and visit the Know Before You Fly Website at is external)
“Please, for the safety of our firefighters and for an effective fire response, please keep drones away from the Walker Fire and near heliports,” a press release from the Forest Service states.