SAN DIEGO–Firefighters battling a major brush fire in Oceanside last June was nearly hampered by drones flying in the area.
The popularity of drones flying near helicopters and airplanes dropping water during firefighting efforts on the ground is a safety concern for local first responders.
San Diego County Fire and CAL FIRE San Diego Unit officials are asking drone operators to steer clear of wildfires. Drones put first responders’ safety at risk, and they stop or slow firefighting operations, according to county officials.
State law makes it a crime to impede firefighting and other emergency activities by flying a drone at the scene of any emergency. It is also a crime to interfere with, or disobey the lawful orders of, firefighters or emergency rescue personnel who are responding to or fighting a fire.
If anyone sees someone flying a drone near a wildfire, or other emergency, they can call 911, or 1-844-DRONE11 (1-844-376-6311).