Drone Operators Are Interfering With Crews Fighting CA Wildfires
There are more than a dozen wildfires burning in California, but this year authorities are battling an added problem: drones.
A $75,000 reward has been offered for information leading authorities to drone operators who have been flying their small unmanned aircraft over out-of-control fires.
Officials in San Bernardino County say drone operators have interfered during three major fires this summer.
The presence of the drones forced water-dropping aircraft to be grounded, allowing the fires to spread and damage more property.
The L.A. Times reports:
The five-member board hopes that by offering the rewards — $25,000 for each fire that saw interruptions by drones — investigators can get tips to identify the drone operators and prosecute them.
“This type of activity is not going to be tolerated when first responders are trying to put out fires that drastically affect the constituents of San Bernardino County,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos.
None of the drone operators has been identified. The reward will allow county officials to launch a hotline to collect information about suspected drone operators, Ramos said.
Officials say drones hindered firefighters' efforts during the North fire on July 17, which ended up jumping I-15 and destroying vehicles.
Lawmakers have introduced legislation in California to allow authorities to immediately destroy a drone if it is hampering firefighting efforts.
Meantime, more than a dozen fires are burning right now in the state, forcing hundreds from their homes. Peak wildfire season usually occurs later in the summer.
Watch Hunt's report above.