Agency Tells Firefighting Aircraft to Stay Away from Drones
BEMIDJI (AP) - A Minnesota state agency is telling pilots to disengage from fighting wildfires if they see an unmanned aircraft flying over a fire this season.
The new restrictions for wildfire-fighting planes and helicopters come from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Bill Schuster, wildfire aviation supervisor for the agency, says the new rules he wrote are an effort to prevent collisions between drones and other aircraft.
Schuster says drones and firefighting helicopters fly around the same height, and that it could be disastrous if they collide.
The agency recently asked that drones be kept at least five miles from active fire zones. Schuster says risks outweigh benefits of getting a close view of a fire by using a drone-mounted camera.