USA & Canadian Authorities warn drone flyers to keep away from wild-fires

USA & Canadian Authorities warn drone flyers to keep away from wild-fires

USA & Canadian Authorities warn drone flyers to keep away from wild-firesUSA & Canadian Authorities warn drone flyers to keep away from wild-fires.

If you fly your drone anywhere near a wildfire, you could get someone killed.”

Strong words, but no exaggeration.

Summer of wildfires

Up-to six large new wildfires erupted in the United States, pushing the number of major active blazes nationwide to over 100, with more expected. In Canada, as of the 15th August, 450 fires burning in British Columbia, of which 195 are out of control. The province has declared a state of emergency.

USA & Canadian Authorities warn drone flyers to keep away from wild-fires

More than 30,000 personnel have been drafted in to take the fires. Firefighters from across the United States, Australia and New Zealand, were battling the blazes that have consumed more than 1.6 million acres of land. Canada has recorded 5,955 fires so far this year, which have burned 1,183,358 ha. New fire starts totalled 345 in the last week, with 70% of these new fires due to lightning.

Authorised UAV Drones can help

Authorised drone missions by the proper authorities can yield valuable information to firefighters by detecting hotspots, charting a fire’s spread and the progress in controlling a blaze. Cheaper and safer to used than conventional manned aircraft, in the right environment they are an effective tool.

USA & Canadian Authorities warn drone flyers to keep away from wild-fires

But unauthorised drone flights can have the opposite effect. Even a tiny drone can cause a serious or fatal accident if it collides with firefighting aircraft. If unauthorised drones are spotted near a wildfire, firefighting aircraft must land due to safety concerns.

This delay in  firefighting operations can have a catastrophic effect. Wildfires become larger when aircraft are not able to drop fire retardant. Important tactical information to firefighters is lost. Building and property could burn needlessly. Firefighters,  others on the ground could be but at risk.

If you fly a drone, stay away.

The simple message coming from the FAA this summer is:

“If you own a drone, DO NOT fly near or over a wildfire,” said FAA Acting Administrator Dan Elwell. “It’s against the law, and firefighting aircraft could be grounded, disrupting time-critical firefighting efforts. Your hobby is not worth another person’s life.”

If unauthorized drone flights interfere with wildfire suppression, law enforcement, or emergency response efforts, those drone operators could face civil penalties that exceed $20,000 and potential criminal prosecution.

“Most members of the public would never dream of standing in front of a fire engine to stop it from getting to a House fire, but that’s essentially what they’re doing to aerial firefighting aircraft when they fly a drone over or near a wildfire”

Wise words.. for upto date airspace information, check out  the B4Ufly app.

Have you registered your UAV/Drone in the USA? Find out more HERE.