Please pass the word that “If You Fly, We Can’t”. Areas with wildfires must be a #NoDroneZone so that the helicopters, air tankers and aerial supervisors are able to coordinate an effective initial attack without an incursion into their airspace. A civilian drone spotted at a wildfire effectively brings a temporary halt to the aerial firefight. Pilot and crew safety come first and pilots will land their aircraft at the nearest safe location when an unauthorized drone is spotted. It’s that simple – “If You Fly, We Can’t”. And that can lead to fire spreading and threatening homes, businesses and infrastructure. A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is put in place over an active wildfire area as soon as is feasible and as determined by fire managers and aerial firefighting specialists. General aviation pilots are reminded to check locally and to anticipate TFRs during active or long duration wildfire suppression.
In this video of the #ZirconFire initial attack, Anchorage locals film the initial attack from the ground creating a memorable and safely produced video. The two camera shoot shows exactly how nimble the DOF helicopter is at dipping the bucket into a small pond next to their rugby field. The Zircon Fire in Anchorage this past weekend was limited in size due to the fast response of The Anchorage Fire Department aided by the quick turnaround and precision water drops by the Mat-Su helicopter shown here. The fire was spotting into the green woods over an 1/8th of a mile with the winds that evening. The rapid work of the helicopter pilot meant that the many spot fires that could have gotten established and threatened other houses were extinguished or greatly slowed down. A drone was reported to have been in the area earlier in the evening and so we ask you to remind everyone how to film safely from the ground, and help us keep wildfires a “No Drone Zone”.
As a reminder, burn permits are required from April 1 through August 31. You can pick up a burn permit online at https://dnr.alaska.gov/burn or pick them up at your local forestry office and at many local fire departments.
Read more about protection areas, fire management plans and wildfire in Alaska here: http://forestry.alaska.gov/fire/fireplans