San Bernardino County, CA: San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved rewards for information on drone operators flying drones during wildfires.
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 approved 3 separate $25,000 rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people flying drones during wildfires that hampered fire department firefighting efforts.
A news conference was held on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015 announcing the total $75,000 reward leading to convictions of what they say are drone operators flying drones during wildfires and near water dropping aircrafts as they battled recent wildfires, which in the past 5 weeks, the United States Forest Service has been forced to call off water drops at 3 different wildfires, including during the “Lake Fire”, the “Mill-2 Fire”, and the “North Fire” along Interstate 15 through the Cajon Pass in San Bernardino, California, because unmanned aircraft were spotted in the area.
According to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, it will move to authorized for information leading up to the arrest and conviction of the operators of drones
Pilots say drones pose a serious danger well they work to put out wildfires, and if a drone were to hit an engine on a firefighting aircraft, it could cause a deadly crash.
There is speculation that the operators of these drones are not aware of the safety guidelines, but fire department and county officials both say it just comes down to common sense.
** San Bernardino County Officials encouraged anyone with information to call: 1 (800) 78-CRIME. **
NBC affiliate KNBC Channel 4 is reporting that California State Lawmakers have responded to the issue by proposing legislation such as S.B. 168.
Senator Ted Gaines, (R-El Dorado), and Assemblyman Mike Gatto, (D-Glendale), announced on Monday, July 20th, 2015 that the bill would protect emergency responders who damage drones during rescue operations.
S.B. 168 joins S.B. 167, a previously introduced bill that pushes for fines larger than $1,000, and possible jail time, for drone users who interfere with firefighters.