Friday, April 08, 2016

NJFFS: if you fly drones near a wildfire they can't fly fires

The spring fire season is upon us here in New Jersey. And with the spring fire season our SEATs are on contract in the central and southern portions of New Jersey, and a helo and bucket is on call in northern NJ. And state owned helicopters with buckets and other observation aircraft are on call all year to help.

Please, if you have a drone do not fly your drone near a wildfire, if you are flying your drone near a wildfire SEATs and helos with buckets and observation aircraft are grounded. So, please do not fly your drone near a wildfire, or near any airport for that matter.

The New Jersey State Forest Service (under the Department of Environmental Protection) issued this press release on April 6th warning all drone pilots of the danger of flying drones near wildfires. To quote some of this press release:
“While drone owners may not realize the potential danger, the presence of these types of equipment during forest fires hampers our overall ability to protect life and property in our wooded areas,” said State Fire Warden Bill Edwards. “A wide variety of aircraft, such as water-dropping helicopters, tanker aircraft and spotter aircraft, often operate above our actions on the ground. Use of drones in areas with aviation traffic is not permissible.  
In short, if you fly a drone near a wildfire, we can’t fly and put out fires.” “Every owner of these devices must follow the laws and policies regarding use of drones and help us fight wildfires by keeping clear of these areas while we combat the fire from above and on the ground,” Edwards added. “Anyone who sees a drone over the area of a wildfire should call our emergency number at 1-877-WARN-DEP (1-877-927-6337), or call your local police or fire department.”
Here two media articles referring to the press release from the New Jersey Forest Fire Service:

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