Drone Owner Faces Charges After Coconino Fire

Drone Owner Faces Charges After Coconino Fire
Source: wired.com

Drone technology is becoming more popular throughout the world, but this growing industry is raising some questions and concerns.

One incident in northern Arizona has even led to charges. A drone owner has been charged following a drone crash that caused a fire in Coconino National Forest. The blaze burned 300 acres (1.2 sq km) of grassland in Kendrick Park, not far from Flagstaff. 30 firefighters fought the flames and got the fire under control in less than a day.

If a guilty verdict is reached, the drone’s owner could be subject to a fine or a community service or jail sentence.

In 2017, a homeless man in Arizona was sentenced to 12 months in jail and ordered to pay a $12,000 fine after his cooking fire accidentally ignited a blaze that burned more than 282 acres of forest land.

Although it is legal to operate a drone in a US national forest, strict rules and regulations limit where and when they can be flown. Drones are prohibited in wilderness areas or places where active wildfires are burning. Firefighting efforts can be slowed down by drones, with helicopters and planes halted on multiple occasions due to a fear of collisions.


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