Firefighters were delayed in fighting the Goodwin Fire in Arizona earlier this week because of a drone.
According to officials at the Public Affairs office of the Forest Service, an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) stopped helicopters and planes from taking off and flying over the fire in an effort to extinguish it.
A quote from the Goodwin Fire update early Thursday read,
“DRONE INTRUSION OVER THE FIRE: Aircraft are one of the primary tools being used for fighting this fire including structure protection. Yesterday air operations were shut down due to the intrusion of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) or “drone” in the airspace associated with the fire causing the immediate grounding of all firefighting aircraft and potentially endangering the lives of the firefighters while limiting their ability to protect the community. There is a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) over the fire area and it is illegal to fly a drone within the restricted area. Violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. To maintain a safe environment for the aircraft, pilots, and ground crews, it is imperative that the air be clear of other craft, including UAS. The community is reminded that “if you fly, we can’t fly.”
Public Affairs/FOIAForest Service/Prescott National Forest
Drone use over weather events has taken off in recent years and can provide valuable information to emergency managers and forecasters. The technology can provide us views that we may not be able to get, such as flooded roads, mudslides/landslides, avalanches, and more. However as you can see in this case, it can lead to more hurt than help (at the time).
*Update on the Goodwin Fire*
An update coming in late Thursday night showed headway in fighting this fire. The containment rose from 1% in the Thursday morning update to 43% containment in the evening update. Around 800 personnel are still working on ending this fire and you can read more about this event and other fires in the western U.S. by clicking here.
For WeatherNation, Meteorologist Steve Glazier