The Cococino National Forest, located in northern Arizona, is reporting a disruption by an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) during recent firefighting efforts over a human-caused wildfire.
According to an announcement from the forest service, the 275-acre Kendrick Fire was situated northwest of the San Francisco Peaks and 15 miles north of Flagstaff. Personnel from the Coconino National Forest and the Summit Fire Department responded and worked to protect specific structures that were threatened for a time.
However, a helicopter inbound to assist in the efforts was temporarily delayed due to a drone flying in the area near the fire, according to the announcement, which adds that law enforcement was unsuccessful in trying to locate the pilot of the UAS.
In turn, the Cococino National Forest is reminding the public that unauthorized drone flights over or near a wildfire could cause serious injury or death to firefighters in the air and/or firefighters and members of the public on the ground.
Firefighting aircraft – such as air attack aircraft, lead planes, airtankers and helicopters – typically fly in smoky, windy and turbulent conditions; safety depends on knowing what other aircraft are operating in the airspace and where they are at all times, the announcement adds.