Resist the temptation to get some great video of a wildfire with your drone. Flying an unauthorized drone near a wildfire is illegal, can interfere with firefighting operations, and can be deadly.
Hobbyist drones can interfere with air tankers, helicopters, and other firefighting aircraft suppressing the fire. Firefighting aircraft have no way to detect unauthorized drones other than seeing them, which is almost impossible because of their small size, making a midair collision a possibility.
If an unauthorized drone is spotted near a wildfire, firefighting aircraft must land due to safety concerns, hindering suppression efforts, and endangering structures and people in the fire’s path.
If unauthorized drone operations interfere with wildfire suppression efforts, law enforcement, or emergency response efforts, the drone operator could face civil penalties that exceed $20,000 or criminal prosecution, according the Federal Aviation Administration.
If you own a drone, don’t fly near or over a wildfire. Remember, hobbyist drones and wildfires don’t mix.