Please Don't Fly Drones Over Wildfires

With every new piece of technology, there comes a social etiquette learning curve, a time when we're all figuring out what to do with the new tech. When it came to Facebook, it was the process of learning what should and shouldn't be shared. (After our parents showed up on it, it was time to tweak that decision matrix a bit.)

The introduction of drone technology has opened the conversation up once again. What is appropriate, now that we have these new toys? Should we fly around tall buildings and peep into windows? Should we fly over highways, where drivers might get distracted? Should we fly our camera-laden drones over wildfires to get some amazing footage?

As far as that last question goes, here we have amazing visuals, many that can't be captured by cameras held by living, breathing humans. Isn't this, then, an ideal use for drone technology?

The answer is an unequivocal "No."

In Redding, the threat of drones over wildfires has gotten so bad that firefighters actually held a press conference to let people know that flying drones into wildfires is a bad idea, not to mention prohibited by the Federal Aviation Administration. Why all the fuss?


Two recent incidents in which drones were flying over wildfires forced firefighters to suspend aircraft operations on two fires in Southern California because of drones, said Yolanda Saldana, the forest service's aviation safety manager for California.


So, please: During this wildfire season, keep those new toys of yours out of the way.


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