An illegal drone has grounded aerial firefighting efforts at the Cameron Peak Fire over in Colorado, resulting in authorities sending out an urgent warning message.
The drone was spotted on Saturday while helicopters were dropping water in the Pingree Park area, which resulted in all the helicopters being grounded for the rest of the day. The info about the drone was shared the following day at a morning briefing.
“…a drone was discovered to be flying over the fire area. Please stay safe and help us stay safe.”
Officials then urged all with drones to keep them on the ground or fly them far away from the fire. If you aren’t aware of the rules, an active fire becomes an immediate no-fly zone, meaning manned or unmanned aerial vehicles aren’t allowed in the area unless helping out in the official firefighting efforts.
During the briefing, it was also said that cars had been seen driving on closed roads in the area, where there is the threat of fire and fire retardant being dropped, making it a dangerous environment for the people and firefighters involved.
The Cameron Peak Fire has been burning since August and has gone through 208,913 acres. However, the fire is 92% contained due to firefighters working on the ground and in the air around the clock to slow down the spread.
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:
- Drone spotted above B.C. Interior wildfire causes firefighting aircraft to divert
- Drones force firefighters to halt operations in Nevada
- Don’t fly drones near fire zones – unless you’re a firefighter
- Amateur drones are interfering with firefighters in California wildfires
Photo: Reporter Herald