Sections

Weather Forecast

Close

Flying drones over wildfires is dangerous, illegal, Minnesota DNR says

Forum News Service file photo

Flying a drone can be a lot of fun — but it can be downright dangerous during a wildfire, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

“Most people wouldn’t dream of driving their car in front of a fire engine that’s responding to a fire,” said Casey McCoy, the DNR’s fire prevention supervisor. “Flying your drone during a wildfire is just as reckless: we have to ground our planes until the drone gets out of the way, and that slows down our ability to fight the fire.”

This happened last year during a wildfire in Little Falls, Minn.: DNR pilots had to land firefighting helicopters because a drone was buzzing overhead. Drones fly at roughly the same altitude as wildfire suppression aircraft.

Federal law prohibits interfering with firefighting operations, and that includes flying a drone over a wildfire.

To protect firefighting aircraft, temporary flight restrictions may extend over a 5-mile radius of a wildfire. Even if temporary flight restrictions are not in place, people will be penalized if their drone is caught near a wildfire.

For more information about drones and wildfires, log onto the National Interagency Fire Center website at www.nifc.gov.

Forum News Service

The Forum Communications News Service is the premier news wire service covering the Upper Midwest, including the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin. In addition to breaking and enterprise news, we offer a wide variety of sports, features, business, agriculture, outdoors and opinion content. For more information about the services we offer or to discuss content subscriptions, please contact us.

randomness