A fire in Colorado was allowed to rage freely for an hour thanks to drone disturbance.
By Karla Montess
July 18, 2018
With the arrival of summer comes wildfire season, and with it, among America’s most recent and worst traditions: folks flying drones through forest fires.
Drone use in western Colorado recently forced firefighters to delay combating what’s being called the Bocco Fire. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) reported that tankers and helicopters were grounded for a minimum of an hour while resources were diverted to the goose hunt of trying to find a drone instead. Firefighters had no choice but to kick back and hope the fire wouldn’t grow in the meantime.
When drones are flying above a fire, the airspace all of a sudden ends up being congested with gadgets that not only aren’t helpful, however, might hop into a plane. Even if the function isn’t harmful, drones usually have one electronic camera. They could shatter the glass of an aerial firefighting airplane without also recognizing it.
” [It’s] not an interruption anybody needs– whether they’re on the ground or in the air,” states Steve Hall, interactions director of the state’s BLM office, to regional news.
Losing an hour in firefighting isn’t merely a matter of offseting lost time. A fire is a dynamic occasion which is continuously shifting and growing. Lost time might suggest that the ideal moment for dousing the flames is lost.
“It might be five, ten fewer tanker drops, bucket drops which can make a substantial distinction in a wildfire,” states Hall.
Drones going into forest fires has been a recurring problem for a couple of years now, returning at least to 2016. The FAA has aimed to put in place Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) for drones over locations facing wildfire; these constraints cannot always be implemented quickly enough. Inning accordance with the U.S Forest Service, a minimum of 11 firefighting efforts was interrupted last year as the result of drone disturbance.
People flying drones over fires are infamously tricky to catch, provided how they are most likely at a remote location. Back in 2016, the very first drone fire-related arrest was made in California when the perpetrator put a video of the fire on social media. Officials will surely be paying attention to anything that comes out about the light in the next couple of weeks.
NEXT STORY: How Drones Became Firefighting’s Worst Enemy