General Dynamics - Pathfinder Ad

9-1-1 Magazine: Managing Emergency Communications

Priority Dispatch

9-1-1MAGAZINE.com
TOPIC SPONSORS

 

Alastar

NG9-1-1

Stratus Technologies

CAD, NG911 & Records Management

VPI

Recording Systems

Adcomm

Facilities Planning and Design

First Contact 911

Training Trends & Tactics

Willdan

Interoperability

 

Holland Co     
Mobile Command Vehicles

 

 

CAL FIRE arrests hobby drone operator for interfering with firefight on the Trailhead Fire

Author: Daniel Berlant, CAL FIRE

Date: 2016-07-16
Share |

An airtanker drops fire retardant on the Trailhead Fire. Photo via inciweb.

CAL FIRE law enforcement officers arrested a Placer County man Friday who allegedly interfered with firefighting operations recently on the Trailhead Fire by flying a drone over the fire, forcing CAL FIRE to ground aircraft rather than risk a collision.

Information posted on social media helped lead law enforcement officers to Eric Wasser, 57, of Foresthill. He was arrested Friday afternoon, booked into the Placer County jail in Auburn and charged with interfering with firefighting operations, Penal Code Section 148.2.

This is the first arrest by CAL FIRE law enforcement of a drone operator for allegedly interfering with firefighting.

Over the past two years, fire officials have seen increasing numbers of hobby drones flying over wildfires and interfering with aerial firefighting operations. Airtankers and firefighting helicopters fly at low elevation to drop fire retardant and water, and when hobby drones fly in the same air space, fire officials are forced to pull back aircraft to prevent a collision. Hobby drones should never be flown in or around fire areas.

“When a hobby drone flies in the path of our aircraft, we have no choice but to pull back our airtankers and helicopters until the drone is removed,” said Chief Dave Teter, CAL FIRE deputy director of fire protection. “For hobby drone operators, it’s pretty simple: when you fly, we can’t! No hobby drones over fire zones.”

Wasser’s alleged actions delayed aerial firefighting on a fire burning in the steep canyon along the Middle Fork of the American River near Todd Valley. The Trailhead Fire started June 28 and is now 98 percent contained. It burned more than 5,600 acres and forced hundreds of residents of Placer and El Dorado counties to evacuate. Wasser allegedly flew his hobby drone over the fire during the evening of June 28 to take video and photos.

“The Trailhead Fire was burning in such a remote area that our aircraft were critical to stopping the fire,” said Chief George Morris III, CAL FIRE’s Nevada-Yuba-Placer unit chief. “Every minute we couldn’t fly our aircraft because of this drone, the fire was able to grow and do more damage.” CAL FIRE asks the public to never fly drones near wildfires. Remember: If You Fly, We Can't!

For more information visit www.fire.ca.gov and download the free app by the FAA “B4UFLY” https://www.faa.gov/uas/where_to_fly/b4ufly/ .

- People, Places & Things/9-1-1magazine.com (via CAL FIRE, 7/15/16)

 

Comments

Show: Newest | Oldest

Post a Comment

Log in or sign up to comment

 
9-1-1 Magazine is a Sponsor of the California Mobile Command Center Rally

Send mail to webmaster@9-1-1magazine.com with questions or comments about this portal.

© 2015-2016 9-1-1 MAGAZINE and 9-1-1MAGAZINE.com. The content of this portal is the property of 9-1-1 MAGAZINE and 9-1-1MAGAZINE.com.  We encourage government public-safety agencies to share any content with their staff, however, all others must not duplicate or modify any content without prior written consent of 9-1-1 MAGAZINE. Email publisher@9-1-1magazine.com for permissions. For more information, read the Terms of Service. Continued access of this portal and system implies consent to the above statements and those maintained on the Terms of Service.

Powered by Solata

MCM Consulting Yellow Submarine Marketing

 Team Rennick

Holland Co