US Department of Agriculture
The Lake Fire in California’s San Bernadino county has engulfed tens of thousands of acres of national forest, and on Wednesday, three planes carrying flame retardant were prevented from dropping their cargo on the burning forest below due to interference from a private drone.
A DC-10 carrying 10,800 gallons of retardant, and two smaller planes also carrying retardant, were diverted from a drop site south of Big Bear Lake, where scattered homes were being threatened by the encroaching fire, the Los Angeles Times wrote. An incident commander spotted the drone, a fixed-wing craft about four feet wide, flying about 800 or 900 feet off the ground, at an elevation of 11,000 feet above sea-level.
Hobby drones are forbidden to fly above 400 feet off the ground in most situations, and the US Forest Service had issued a temporary flight restriction over the fire-fighting area.
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