|downloaded from http://www.fs.fed.us/science-technology/fire/unmanned-aircraft-systems on June 24, 2015|
An Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS or drone) halted tanker operations for about 25 minutes on Friday afternoon (June 17th), but operations soon resumed.
Hobby drones, or (UAS) unmanned aircraft systems, pose a major safety threat to firefighting pilots and firefighters. When a hobby drone is flown into a fire area, incident commanders have no choice but to suspend air operations and ground aircraft until the drone is removed from the area.
As hobby drones have grown in popularity, we have seen an increase in these drones interfering with firefighting operations.A collision could easily result in major damage to our aircraft, injuries to the pilot and crew on board as well as firefighters below, and worse, a midair collision.
When drones interfere with firefighting efforts, a wildfire has the potential to grow larger and cause more damage. On most wildfires, an FAA Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is put into effect and any private aircraft or drone that violates the TFR could face serious criminal charges.
Even without a TFR, anyone who hampers firefighting efforts could face charges as well. (Inciweb on North Fire (July 20th about 12:30 PM)