Montana, It’s Important to Leave Your Drone Home Around Wildfires
Montana wildfire season is picking up as our state continues to heat up. We have had the "Wildfire Danger Levels" raised. We have recently had our first "Red Flag" fire warnings of the summer. There are links that you can follow to find out the latest fire updates for Montana, where they are located, size of fire, and cause of fires.
Montana Governor Gianforte Wants Aggressive Fire Fighting this Season
We also offer up plenty of tips to help avoid starting any human-caused fires. Governor Greg Gianforte says that Montana will aggressively attack all fires in Montana this year. In order to help wildland fire fighters fight the fires, there is something that the public needs to be aware of and that is to not use drones near a wildfire. Especially if aircraft are used to help fight the fires.
There was Recently an Issue on a Montana Fire
According to a press release from Kristen Mortenson from the Montana DNRC, on the Montana "Colt Fire" issued on Saturday 7/22/23:
A drone incursion occurred on Friday, July 21. Fire managers would like to remind the public that when you fly, we can’t. It is now a criminal misdemeanor in Montana to fly drones that interfere with fire suppression efforts – with a fine up to $1,500 and the violator has the potential to be charged with firefighting costs.
Don't Fly Your Drones Around Montana Wildfires
According to the Forest Service the use of drones, or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) can be very dangerous for pilots fighting fires. According to the Forest Service rules on their website:
Firefighting aircraft fly at very low altitudes, typically just a couple of hundred feet above the ground, the same altitude as UAS flown by members of the public and others. This creates the potential for a mid-air collision or pilot distraction that could result in a serious or fatal accident.
The website also goes on to point out the dangers of a drone possibly falling from the sky and injuring firefighters on the ground.
Don't Fly Your Drone Near Wildfires
It may be tempting to get out your drone to try to get those aerial pics of a fire. If you do that, you will be stopping the professionals from doing their job. If, or when a fire breaks out, leave the drones at home.