Although unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are being used by several organizations to help fight wildfires, UAS piloted by hobbyists are not welcome, as illustrated by a team of California firefighters.
According to a Los Angeles Times report, while firefighters were trying to contain a wildfire that spanned 3,800 acres, they spotted a UAS hovering near the area in Plymouth, Calif., and warned the operator to stay away, as the team was flying its own aircraft at low altitudes.
A spokesperson from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention told the LA Times that the operator was using his quadcopter to “check out the fire” – as in, it was for his “own personal entertainment.”
Although this was reportedly the first time the firefighters had come across this problem, the spokesperson “anticipate[s] it possibly being a problem in the future.”
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources recently received authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration to use UAS in monitoring wildfires.
The full LA Times report can be found here.