On Saturday, a drone was spotted flying in the restricted airspace above the Red Salmon Fire in California, slowing firefighting efforts. The incident marks the 21st time a drone has flown into firefighting airspace this year alone in the U.S.

Yesterday, a press release came out with information suggesting a drone flew into restricted airspace above the Red Salmon Fire. There is no confirmation that the drone shutdown any firefighting efforts but likely kept firefighting aircraft on the ground.

“Yesterday, there was an intrusion into the restricted airspace over the fire by a drone. Temporary Flight Restrictions remain over the entire Red Salmon fire area until further notice. This includes drones. Remember: If you fly, we can’t.”

The Red Salmon Fire is estimated to have burned around 142,000 acres but is 63% contained as of October 18th.

In response to the drone, the Shasta-Trinity National Forest released graphics reminding people not to fly. In this case, the first graphic said, “It’s Not Worth The View,” with the other being more of an infographic of drone incidents over the last six years.

Drones and wildfires

Although we often see drones getting in the way of wildfire operations, they are now beginning to play an important role when used correctly. Many fire agencies are sending drones up to get a better view of the fire and the direction it’s traveling in. The aerial view also allows firefighters to see any areas that could be a starting point for a future fire.

Here in the United States, the reaper military drone has been used for the last few years to map out wildfires in California automatically with the help of AI and specially designed algorithms. The drone has been able to cut down real-time map creation times to just around 30 minutes.

If you are interested in drones stopping firefighting efforts, take a look at the posts below:

Photo: NIFC

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