A massive wildfire in the San Bernardino Mountains faced setbacks because of three incidents involving drones being flown by members of the public. Once the drones entered the airspace in which firefighting aircraft were operating, there was an immediate halt to operations.
"Losing the ability to utilize these aircraft has a serious impact on the success of the firefighters on the ground," according to the incident team responsible for fighting the wildfire, in a statement published by NBC News. The airtankers are required to fly at low altitudes, and drone operators could face civil penalties or criminal prosecution depending on the outcome.
Here is what the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in a statement regarding the incidents: "A collision with a hobby drone could easily result in major damage to firefighting aircraft, injuries to the pilot and crew on board as well as firefighters below, and worse, a midair collision."