COLORADO SPRINGS — Local first responders are reminding residents about the consequences of flying drones during fires.
The reminder comes after the United States Forest Service (USFS) of Pike and San Isabel said two drones were seen flying over the Rampart Fire near Woodland Park.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), drones can cause major problems as they hinder first responders’ ability to fight wildfires. In fact, even a small drone could become deadly if it collides with an authorized aircraft.
Drones also prolong the amount of time it takes to fight a fire. If an unauthorized drone is detected, all authorized aircraft must land due to safety issues.
“…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,” NIFC explains. “Homes and other values at risk could burn needlessly, firefighters or others could be injured, or worst of all, a fatal accident could occur.”
In addition, 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,” NIFC explains. “So, be smart and just don’t fly your drone anywhere near a wildfire. No amount of video or photos are worth the consequences.”