Drone operators are causing problems for firefighters in California's San Bernardino County. On multiple occasions pilots of planes and helicopters loaded with flame retardant have had to abandon their missions because they've spotted drones flying next to their aircraft. If a drone collides with a plane or helicopter it could cause the aircraft to crash.
San Berdoo County supervisors are offering three rewards of $25,000 for tips leading to the identification of operators of drones that have interfered with firefighters this summer.
LA Times reports:
Drones first became a problem in the county during the Lake fire, which ignited June 17 and burned through more than 31,000 acres of wildlands in the San Bernardino National Forest and nearby San Gorgonio Wilderness.
Low-flying aircraft were preparing to drop fire retardant over flames in the Barton Flats area when a 3- to 4-foot drone was seen buzzing between two planes. Fire officials immediately grounded the aircraft. Fire officials later saw a second drone in the area.
On July 12 — the first day of the Mill 2 fire — officials had to briefly suspend a tanker after a drone was spotted flying over Mill Creek Canyon near California 38.
And for about 25 minutes, officials had to halt tankers over the July 17 North fire, which jumped Interstate 15 near California 138 and destroyed dozens of vehicles, U.S. Forest Service officials said.