Montana Creek – Malaspina Fires: Unmanned Aerial System Use and Images

An unmanned aerial system (UAS) was used on the Montana Creek – Malaspina Fires yesterday (July 11, 2019). The UAS which flew the fire is a Type 3/4, which means it is the smallest type of UAS (approximately the size of a backpack). The UAS was ordered by the fire and managed by the Fire Air Operations Branch Director Nancy Barker, and was controlled by a licensed pilot. Unmanned aerial systems are increasingly being used by firefighters in several applications, all of which reduce the risks to firefighter and public safety.

While UASs are becoming more common as part of the firefighting effort, aircraft in the area of wildfires which are not integrated with wildfire management can interfere with the firefighting efforts, or worse be the cause of serious accidents. It is critical that private citizens be aware of potential conflicts over air space and keep the skies free of hazards so that the emergency response can move quickly. There are critical opportunities, especially in the initial attack phase when a wildfire has started, for emergency responders to keep the incident small and protect homes and property. Keeping unauthorized aircraft away from wildfires is common sense, and it is also the law (US Code of Federal Regulation, 43 CFR 9212.1(f))

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