By JoAnn Kittrell
Nevada Division of Forestry
CARSON CITY — The Nevada Division of Forestry (NDF) encourages owners of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also known as drones, to keep them on the ground during a fire and let firefighters and aircraft work to stop fires as quickly and safely as possible.
Due to recent incidents in which drones have interfered with manned aircraft involved in wildland firefighting operations, NDF wants drone owners to understand that flying drones interferes with the protection of lives, property and Nevada’s natural resources.
“If they fly, we can’t,” says Nevada Firewarden, Bob Roper. “It’s a major risk to pilots, ground personnel and aircraft. There may also be civil and/or criminal consequences that Nevada operators need to know about.”
Often a temporary flight restriction (TFR) is put in place around wildfires to protect firefighting aircraft. No one other than the agencies involved in the firefighting effort can fly any manned or unmanned aircraft in such a TFR. Anyone who violates a TFR and endangers the safety of manned aircraft could be subject to penalties. Even if there is no TFR, operating a UAS could still pose a hazard to firefighting aircraft and would violate Federal Aviation Regulations.
“If you endanger manned aircraft or people on the ground with an unmanned aircraft, you could be liable for a fine ranging from $1,000 to a maximum of $25,000,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “Know the rules before you fly. If you don’t, serious penalties could be coming your way for jeopardizing these important missions.” More information can be found at: http://knowbeforeyoufly.org.