Civilian Drone Interferes with Sands Firefighting Efforts
After three days of battling the furious flames known as the Sand Fire of El Dorado and Amador County, firefighters made significant headway in containing it. This came despite a troublesome drone equipped with a camera flying in the area, which could have caused the firefighters problems.
About 500 homes in the line of fire have been evacuated, Fox40 reported. Moreover, some 1500 firefighters were on hand to get the fire contained. Helicopters and small planes were also crucial assets in controlling the fire’s spread, which now appears to be 50% contained, according to fire officials.
The one unwelcome object flying in the air was a civilian drone shooting video from above the fire. Although laws governing the use of the drones are unclear, and no planes were diverted, officials said that it was a situation that had to be addressed. A Cal Fire spokesman said, “You bring in something like that, you are dealing with our aircraft’s safety. I identified the individual and his craft. El Dorado Sheriffs took care of the situation.”
Nevertheless, in 2013 CNN reported that drone technology could be helpful in fighting wildfires. "We can get more information for less cost, and it doesn't put anyone in harm's way," said Sher Schranz, a project manager at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who researches fire weather modeling. CNN further reported that drones can help by gathering information safely and then can quickly relay it to firefighters on the ground.