More than 120 wildfires are burning across 1.6 million acres in the United States. Firefighters aren’t just struggling to battle these blazes, they’re also facing the dangers posed by unauthorized drone flights over or near the fires. Firefighters across the nation have repeatedly been forced to cease helicopter and airplane operations because the presence of drones prevented them from flying safely. In these circumstances, the minutes or hours of flight delay could mean lost lives and destroyed property.
Federal, state and local fire management agencies and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) urge members of the public not to fly drones over or near wildfires. Unauthorized drone flights pose collision hazards to firefighting aircraft and can distract pilots who are operating in stressful and challenging conditions. A collision could cause serious injury or death to fire crews in the air, endanger firefighters and members of the public on the ground, and drastically limit the effectiveness of fire suppression efforts.