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Friday, July 27, 2018

Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest Fire Update - If You Fly, We Can't - July 27, 2018

Kamiah, Idaho (July 27, 2018) – Critical aerial operations on the Rattlesnake Creek fire were halted on Monday, July 23, due to an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) or Drone intrusion.  Although this did not contribute to the growth of the fire, it had the potential to do so and put firefighter and the public at risk.

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. 

Drones can interfere with wildland fire air traffic, such as air tankers, helicopters, and other firefighting aircraft that are necessary to suppress wildland fires.  Even a tiny drone can cause a serious or fatal accident if it collides with firefighting aircraft.  In most situations, if drones are spotted near a wildfire, firefighting aircraft must land due to safety concerns.  This prolongs firefighting operations; 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.  Homes and other values at risk could burn needlessly, firefighters or others could be injured, or worst of all, a fatal accident could occur.

When using an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) or drone you need to make sure you are following the proper rules, regulations and ensuring the safety those around you.  So, be smart and just don't fly your drone anywhere near a wildfire. No amount of video or photos are worth the consequences.

Tips for use of UAS on National Forest System Lands can be found at https://www.fs.fed.us/science-technology/fire/unmanned-aircraft-systems/responsible-use

If you have any information on the UAS (drone) intrusion on July 23, please contact the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office at 208-983-1100.