Firefighting helicopters to be grounded if drones spotted in bushfire areas

Bushfire at Avon Valley

During large, out-of-control bushfires in Australia firefighters rely on water-bombing helicopters which will have to be grounded if a drone is spotted nearby, authorities say.

With recreational drone ownership exploding into the thousands over the past year, air safety regulators and the nation’s aerial firefighters fear drones are a very real threat to safety, and they warned amateur operators to stay well away.

Superintendent Anthony Ferguson from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service’s (RFS) State Air Desk said firefighting pilots nationwide were concerned.

“They’re just trying to fly safely in what are very high stress situations and you add in this other element and it becomes incredibly dangerous for them,” he said.

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