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Restricting Drones During Fires

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Flying drones during a fire can get in the way of firefighting efforts. Reno Public Radio’s Anh Gray reports people flying unmanned aircraft systems during emergencies could face federal action.

Last month, firefighting planes were grounded as they were trying to put out a blaze which swept across a highway in Southern California. The reason: to avoid colliding with several drones spotted in the area.

Fire warden Bob Roper with the Nevada Division of Forestry spoke with our public radio partner, KNPR in Las Vegas. He said his agency could impose a Temporary Flight Restriction or “TFR”  to avoid something similar from happening in our state.

“If somebody wants to fly a plane or drone and violate that TFR, they can be subject to federal action with a fine ranging from $1000 to a maximum of $25,000,” Roper said.

Roper said clearing air space could pose a detriment to firefighters.

“When the air space is shut down, that fully compromises their tactical operations which incurs the safety on the public as well as the firefighters,” Roper said.

Roper said violators could face civil or criminal consequences.

Anh is a contributing editor for the KUNR news team and has been with the station since 2014. She is an alumna of the Boston University School of Public Health and Teachers College, Columbia University.