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Drone pilots reminded to stay grounded during firefighting operations

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Local authorities are reminding drone users to keep their devices grounded so they don't disrupt firefighting operations.

A drone was spotted Sunday, interrupting air drops that were helping fight the Prater Fire in east Sparks. A drone also disrupted air operations battling the Minverva Fire in Plumas County, California.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, there were more than 20 occasions in 2016 where someone flying an unauthorized drone forced the shut-down of aerial firefighting operations.

Forest Service officials say firefighting aircraft typically fly at low altitudes, which could create the possibility for a mid-air collision with a drone.

The Federal Aviation Administration typically puts temporary flight restrictions into place for disasters like wildfires, but people are advised to keep drones grounded even if restrictions aren't in place.

To learn more about drones and wildfires, visit nifc.gov/drones/outreach.

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