Keep Drones Away From Wildfires, Officials Say

Rattlesnake Fire in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests
The Rattlesnake Fire burns in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests in 2018. | Courtesy of Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests

With multiple major wildfires already popping up in Arizona this wildfire season, fire officials are pleading with the public to keep their personal drones from interfering with firefighting operations.

As KTAR reported last week, firefighters have had to ground some of their aerial operations at recent wildfires because of drone activity. Governor Doug Ducey weighed in, tweeting that flying drones over wildfires is "irresponsible, dangerous and illegal."

One fire official told KTAR that drones also are increasingly distracting firefighters and first responders in other incidents, such as car crashes.

On a positive note, officials say drones operated by firefighters have proved useful in battling forest fires.

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