2015 has been the year of the drone for firefighters. In California, our regular fire season has been peppered with drone interference that has halted or slowed down vital firefighting efforts. Careless operators, most likely trying to get the next viral video clip on YouTube, are indirectly destroying property and threatening lives. With so many drone related incidents, it’s should come as no surprise that a drone bill is heading to California Governor Jerry Brown’s desk.
What does the bill include?
Legislation that would increase fines for drone operators who interfere with firefighters and other emergency responders has passed the Legislature and is headed to the governor for consideration.
State Sen. Ted Gaines’ proposed law would also grant immunity to firefighters and other emergency responders who damage or destroy unmanned aerial aircraft during emergency operations.
While I’m generally against drone related regulation (I prefer education, instead), I agree with State Senator Ted Gaines on this one:
“To think that someone would interfere with firefighting or emergency response situations to get a sneak peak or to post a drone video on YouTube is an outrage that is deserving of punishment and condemnation,” Gaines, a Republican from El Dorado, said in a statement.
As well as John Miller, U.S. Forest spokesman:
“Any effort by our elected officials, the public and hobbyists to make the skies safer for firefighters, we definitely appreciate,” said John Miller, U.S. Forest spokesman for the San Bernardino National Forest.
Will this have an impact? How would this be enforced as a law? I think a lot of questions still remain, but the core concepts behind the bill I find myself in agreement with.