Drones can be dangerous, disruptive for firefighters


FORT MYERS, Fla. Private drones can be deadly for firefighters who are trying to extinguish flames, according to the Florida Forestry Service.

The size of the drones are difficult to see and could hit a plane or a helicopter while up in the air, Florida Forestry Service spokesperson Bo Gilham said. It could be detrimental to the pilot and the crew.

“The drone thinks they can be 400 ft or below which is true,” Gilham said. “But around wildfires that’s our operating limitations so we’re down in there because were dropping water and when a drone comes up we have to pull off the fire and everyone has to leave.”

Drone owners should contact the Florida Forestry Service to coordinate a responsible time to fly and to prevent getting near wildfires, Gilham said.

“Stay five miles away and watch out for temporary flight restrictions,” Gilham said. “It could be a third degree felony.”

Drone owners are advised to download an app called B4UFLY. The app will notify users of the safest place to fly and flight restrictions.

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