Drones are increasingly becoming a very serious problem at fires in California. On Friday, July 17, five were reported near the North Fire — the “carmegeddon” fire that burned 22 vehicles trapped on Interstate 15 in southern California. Two drones, according to an agency spokesperson, actually gave chase to firefighting aircraft.
Below are excerpts from an article at NBC Los Angeles:
…All air units not only pulled back from the fire because of the drones, but all five were forced to touch back down at the airport in San Bernardino after jettisoning their loads, John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service said.
Five drones were initially spotted over the fire, which consumed five homes and more than a dozen cars as motorists frantically fled on foot through the Cajon Pass.
Two drones actually gave chase to air units, and the incident delayed response by about 15 to 20 minutes, according to Battalion Chief Marc Peebles of San Bernardino County Fire Department.
When asked if the delay contributed to the fire jumping the 15 Freeway, Peebles said “It definitely contributed to it.”