help spread the word: Drones and wildfires donít mix.
than 120 wildfires are burning across 1.6 million acres in the United States. Firefighters
arenít just struggling to battle these blazes, theyíre 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
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
who engage in this dangerous and irresponsible activity are violating federal,
state, and/or local laws and regulations, regardless of whether a Temporary
Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place.
Fire agencies are reporting to the FAA
and to law enforcement unauthorized drone flights near wildfires on federal,
tribal, state and local lands. People who interfere with fire suppression efforts will face civil
penalties that could exceed $20,000, as well as potential criminal prosecution.
who witnesses or has information about an unauthorized drone flight over or
near a wildfire should immediately contact local law enforcement.
keep drone pilots aware of flight restrictions, the FAA developed an easy-to-use
smartphone app called B4UFLY.
The app helps drone pilots determine whether restrictions or requirements are in
effect at the location where they want to fly. B4UFLY is available for free
download in the App Store for iOS and Google Play store for Android. But regardless
of whether a TFR is in place, people should never fly drones near or over
Please remind your friends,
colleagues, and family members who own drones that flying them over or near a
wildfire means fire crews canít, and doing so could cost them more than $20,000.