Drones are fun, but potentially deadly in the wrong place Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), generally called drones, are gaining in popularity. Although drones are fun to fly, they can be deadly if flown near wildfires. Drones can interfere with wildland fire air traffic, such as air tankers, helicopters, and other firefighting aircraft that are necessary to suppress wildland fires. Aerial firefighting missions including aerial supervision, air tanker retardant drops, helicopter water drops, and smokejumper paracargo occur between ground level and 200 feet above ground level, which is the same altitude that many hobbyist drones fly. Hobbyist drones and firefighting aircraft don’t mix. All authorized aircraft on an incident maintain rad
With the 4th of July coming up, many are looking forward to celebrating with friend and family – and many are planning on using fireworks. While many are planning their celebration, firefighters are putting their plans together on how they will handle the inevitable wildfires. Our community is quickly jumping into wildfire season with fires beginning to appear all around us and officials are well aware that many of the wildfire risk factors are present here in Gallatin County. Our mountain snow pack melted early, we had well below average spring rain, and now we have above average temperatures. These factors combined with a fire getting ignited can often lead to rapid fire growth and a large wildfire escaping initial attack.