BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A drone caused Kern Fire to delay their essential air support against the Shell Fire on Sunday.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) oversees drone operation across the country. The FAA has strict rules for all drone hobbyists and licensed drone pilots. Not following these rules can cost you in both jail time and money. One of these rules restricts drones from interfering with firefighting aircrafts.
Andrew Freeborn – Kern County fire department PIO
“The message is clear”, Andrew Freeborn the Public Information Officer for Kern County Fire said. “If there is wildfire don’t fly your drone around it. You’re going to hinder the operations on that fire and that could be detrimental. There could be a larger loss of property even a loss of life for something that simple and it’s illegal.”
Freeborn warns pilots of not just the danger but of the costs not following restrictions will get you.
“You do this in California and you could have mandatory court time as well as fines imposed upon you for flying your drone around a wildfire, Freeborn said.”
The FAA said over the last several years there have been more than 100 cases of unauthorized drones flying near wildfires.
The FAA also said, interfering with firefighting aircrafts is a federal crime, with a prison sentence of up to 12 months behind bars and a $20,000 fine.
The FAA said to reach out to the nearest Flight Standard District office if you see any illegal drone behavior. That number is (818) 267-3300.