Drones pose a significant risk to our firefighters on the fireline, and when evacuating communities. The National Interagency Fire Center has a message for all drone enthusiasts:
Flying a Drone Near a Wildfire is Breaking the Law
Per the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, 43 CFR 9212.1(f), it is illegal to resist or interfere with the efforts of firefighter(s) to extinguish a fire. Doing so can result in a significant fine and/or a mandatory court appearance. So, be smart and just don’t fly your drone anywhere near a wildfire. No amount of video or photos are worth the consequences.
If You Fly, Someone Could Die
Even a tiny drone can cause a serious or fatal accident if it collides with firefighting aircraft. In most situations, if drones are spotted near a wildfire, firefighting aircraft must land due to safety concerns. This prolongs firefighting operations; in many cases, wildfires become larger when aircraft are not able to drop fire retardant, water, monitor wildfires from above, or provide tactical information to firefighters. Homes and other values at risk could burn needlessly, firefighters or others could be injured, or worst of all, a fatal accident could occur.
Please, don’t fly your drone near a wildfire!
After the deaths of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots on June 30th 2013 at the Yarnell Hill Fire the need for new fire shelters was apparent. The current fire shelters, the last resort for a Wildland Firefighter’s survival failed the Granite Mountain crew, because it could not hold up to the direct contact of the flames from the wildfire. The fire shelter could not withstand the extreme temperature of the fire and in most cases it disintegrated. NASA saw an opportunity to save Wildland Firefighter lives and has built a protype for a new fire shelter. Click here to read more
A new NASA artificial intelligence system named AUDREY can track an entire team of firefighters, sending relevant signals to individuals while helping to make recommendations for how they could work together. For further reading please click the following link: A.I. could be a firefighter’s “Guardian Angel”