Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Drone disrupts firefighting efforts in Prater Fire

Crews wasted 10 minutes of firefighting time when a drone interrupted their work battling the Prater Fire over the weekend.

They had to stop when a drone flew over the area and disrupted the path of a helicopter, which were being used to survey the blaze and drop retardant.

The fire grew to 2,800 acres and was 40 percent contained as of Monday morning. Fire crews expect to have the fire fully contained by Monday night, according to Fire Marshal Bob King, of the Sparks Fire Department.

King said the fire was reported at about 3 p.m. on Sunday in an area on East Prater Way and Pete’s Way, behind the Northern Nevada Medical Center. Crews initially believed 20 homes were being threatened and ambulances were temporarily kept from arriving at the hospital until the fire began moving north and east.

The Sparks Police Department issued a statement on Sunday asking the owner of the drone to stop flying.

“Absolutely no drones are (to) be flown anywhere near the fire,” the Sparks Police Department said in a statement on Sunday. “It is interrupting the air drops for getting water on the fire. If you are flying a drone stop now.”

Gallop said the incident marked the first time firefighting efforts had to be suspended because of a drone. Crews had to wait until the drone was out of the air before returning to work.

“The danger in flying a drone, it obstructs emergency personnel from doing their jobs, and in this case, saving homes,” Reno Police Officer Ken Gallop said on Monday. “Flying drones is irresponsible and illegal and puts people at risk.”

Gallop said drones can easily take down a helicopter and that drone owners need to register their aircrafts and alert traffic control when flying them.

It was unknown who was flying the drone or where it came from.

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, allow owners to control the small, helicopter-like technology from a distance, sometimes with cameras or sensors. Though such devices are helpful for capturing a scenic view, drone opponents say that such devices also can be used to violate privacy and that amateur pilots can cause damage to airplanes, buildings and people if they aren’t trained in flight safety.

In addition to registration, the FAA has other guidelines that it requires of drone hobbyists. These include:

Drones must be kept below 400 feet and never be out of the line of sight of the operator.
They must stay 5 miles away from airports and never fly near other aircraft.
Operators must never fly drones while under the influence.
Drones shouldn’t be flown over large groups of people, stadiums or sporting events.

Model airplanes, drones and quadcopters are unmanned aerial systems and are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration. Flying an unregistered drone could result in a fine of up to $27,500, according to the Nevada Department of Transportation.

Criminal penalties include a fine of up to $250,000 and up to three years in jail.

Once registered, the FAA issues an ID number that can be used for all drones that an individual owns. Registration is good for three years.

Story and video ➤ http://www.rgj.com

1 comment:

  1. Time for trained marks(people) to carry a shotgun for the Forest Service.

    See drone, kill drone. Recover the evidence and prosecute.