FEDERAL LANDS Don’t Mix
Bill to Ban Drones That Impede Firefighting Efforts
February 16, 2017 Washington D C ____
Cook (R- Apple Valley) introduced the Wildfire Airspace Protection Act of 2017. The Bill will
institute a criminal penalty on anyone who launches a drone that interferes
with fighting wildfires on federal property.
the past couple years, aerial fire-fighting operations have been suspended over
multiple wildfires due to privately-operated drones entering the airspace over
the fire. Firefighting aircraft were grounded because of the threat posed to
low-flying planes by the drones. This prevented firefighters from keeping
control of wildfires and, in at least one case, it led to thousands of
additional acres being burned. Even more importantly, the suspension of air
operations threatened the lives of firefighters.
Wildfire Airspace Protection Act of 2017 would make it a felony to recklessly
operate a drone that interferes with fighting wildfires on federal property.
Violators would face a fine and imprisonment for up to five years.
said, “Catastrophic wildfires are one of
the biggest threats to life and property in the western United States. It’s
shocking that despite aerial firefighting being repeatedly brought to a halt
due to these reckless drone operators, there still is no law on the books
against this behavior. These drone operators not only put the lives of aerial
firefighters in jeopardy, but the loss of air support for fire crews allows
wildfires to spread, threatening people and houses on the ground. Interfering
with our firefighters is a serious problem, and this legislation will ensure
that those who endanger our firefighters will face a serious penalty.”