Flying drones can slow response to wildfires

Flying drones can slow response to wildfires

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Drones are popular in capturing views of the landscape, but one Arkansas agency wants the devices grounded when wildfires rage.

A news release from the Arkansas Forestry Commission (AFC) states drones of any size can pose a serious or fatal risk to firefighting aircraft.

Pilots have no way to detect drones in the air, other than seeing them with the naked eye.

Therefore, if drones are reported in the sky, those aircraft will be grounded or sent to a different location.

This leaves firefighter unable to use aerial water drops to suppress the wildfire.

"When drones fly, we cannot use firefighting aircraft as a resource to stop wildfires," said State Forester Joe Fox, as part of the news release. "Firefighters and pilots could be injured, flames could overtake homes and other structures, or worst of all, a fatal accident could occur. We ask that drone operators stay away from wildfire emergencies for the safety of everyone involved."

Moreover, AFC states it will prosecute any violation against firefighting aircraft from drones or other threats to the full extent of the law in accordance with Arkansas law.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

Watch Region 8 News On Demand: On your Desktop | On your Mobile device

Region 8 News App - Install or update on your: iPhone | Android