According to a CNBC News article, “As wildfires continue to rage on the west coast, firefighters are not only faced with high temperatures, strong winds and arid conditions, but drone pilots who are flying their crafts too close to the blazes.” Recreational drone use in airspace where wildland fires are raging has become a concern for the safety of wildland fire response. CAL FIRE has even created a public service announcement that warns about the use of recreational drones during a wildfire response.
A US Senator from New Hampshire has proposed new federal legislation to keep recreational drones from interfering with wildfire disaster relief efforts. U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) on October 7th 2015 introduced the Wildfire and Emergency Airspace Protection Act. According to the senator’s website there have been 13 wildfires this year that the US Forest Service has responded to that have had drones interfere with wildfire fighting aircraft. This legislation would be specifically aimed at criminalizing drone use that knowingly interferes directly with disaster relief efforts.