To assist with the wildfire-fighting efforts in the Los Angeles area, the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) put its drones to use for the first time “in an operational environment,” the department has announced.
In an Instagram post on Thursday, the LAFD said it deployed the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for about half an hour at the Skirball Fire. Specifically, the aircraft conducted damage assessments and checked for hotspots near the north end of Moraga Dr.
Citing LAFD Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas, a local report from KTLA 5 says the department is “very, very proud of [the] new technology.”
As of press time on Monday afternoon, the LAFD reports that the Skirball Fire, covering 422 acres, has been 85% contained. The fire began on Wednesday, Dec. 6, as a brush fire near the Northbound San Diego Freeway and Mulholland Dr.
As always, the Federal Aviation Administration is reminding UAS operators of the dangers of flying near a wildfire while emergency efforts are taking place. The agency has issued several Temporary Flight Restrictions, which can be found here.
Help #firefighters battle the #CAwildfires. Do not fly your #drone near a #wildfire! If you fly, they can’t. A #drone #pilot who interferes with firefighting or 911 response could be fined up to $20,000. #FlySafe #SafetyMeasuresMonday https://t.co/4JO5vQiQDG pic.twitter.com/n3NjuUI6zz
— The FAA (@FAANews) December 11, 2017