Police Warn Drone Users Not to Interfere With L.A. Wildfire Operations

A drone impeded safety efforts of Los Angeles firefighters combating the La Tuna Fire on Sunday.

byMarco Margaritoff| UPDATED Sep 5, 2017 6:06 PM
Police Warn Drone Users Not to Interfere With L.A. Wildfire Operations

Once again, a drone has interfered with safety and rescue operations and the firefighters entrenched in them. Los Angeles firefighters said a drone had impeded their efforts on Sunday, while they were combating and attempting to contain the ongoing La Tuna Fire. Apparently, firefighters noticed a drone flying overhead, prohibiting the crews from piloting their own aerial vehicles and thereby preventing operations. 

According to Fox 5 NY, the LAFD relayed this issue to local law enforcement, which swiftly resolved the issue with "minimal impact." However, for a substantial amount of time, the simple fact that a hobbyist's drone was in the same airspace was enough to halt vital safety operations from continuing. "If a drone is in the air, we cannot launch our helicopters or the fixed wing," said Los Angeles fire chief Ralph Terrazas

Terrazas made it quite clear that instances like these directly affect his ability to improve the situation when he explained that "if a drone is in the air, we can not fly." This has happened before, as we all know, and will only continue to happen due to the increase in recreational drone use. Terrazas seems quite aware of this modern dilemma. 

"Drones have become very popular. And in this scenario, they can be very detrimental to our efforts here today," he said. It's an interesting affordability conundrum: while fire departments can use drones to save lives, ignorant citizens can also unknowingly stop them simply because they can afford a UAV, too. 

Modern issues are often treated with modern solutions. In this case, the issue of drone use was responded to through social media. Burbank police posted a video on Facebook in which Sergeant Derek Green warned citizens not to break the law. "If you are flying a drone near the fire you will be found, you will be arrested and you will be prosecuted," he stated, adding that searching for unlawful drone operators is a frustrating waste of time and resources. 

The fires that has burned over 7,000 acres over the past few days was finally contained on Monday, according to CNN. However, Terrazas also warns that specific wind conditions could reignite it. Here's hoping the worst is over.