On July 12, a civilian-operated drone forced firefighters battling a 35-acre wildfire in Southern California to ground supporting air tankers. This was the fourth such incident in a month where a drone disrupted firefighting efforts in California. These civilian-operated drones pose significant dangers for firefighting operations.
However, the use of drones by the fire service holds many potential benefits. “Drones would be a generous increase in our capabilities regarding communication, safety, and command and control,” said Captain Peter Jensen, a 26-year wildland firefighter with the Ventura County Fire Department in California. Learn more about how unmanned aerial systems (UAS) could assist firefighters fight wildfires.