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Flying a drone over fires can land you in trouble

If caught flying a drone over a fire the charges can range from your license being taken away to federal charges.
Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 5:28 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Since 2015 there have been more than 100 reports of drones flying too close to an aircraft during a fire, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

It may not be an issue here, because most of the air space in the Black Hills is free and open to everyone. However, if a fire were to erupt in the Black Hills National Forest, that air space gets restricted.

When the Black Hills National Forest has a worrisome fire knowing they will be using a large amount of aircraft, they restrict the airspace around the fire.

Aviation Officer for the Black Hills National Forest Kevin Merrill says that flying a drone over fire can make the situation worse.

“Until we can validate there is an aircraft in there and on the ground, all of the tactical operations stop. So, our water-dropping assets, our retardant dropping assets, everything goes on the ground until we can verify because the last thing that we want is any kind of incursion certainly a mid-air collision is catastrophic,” says Merrill.

If caught flying a drone over a fire the charges can range from your license being taken away to federal charges.

Copyright 2020 KEVN. All rights reserved.

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