In at least five fires over the last month, including one over the weekend, fire aircraft dispatched to drop chemicals or water had to pull back after crews on the ground spotted drones, fearing a collision. On Friday, officials said, five drones hovering in the area delayed firefighters from dropping water buckets from helicopters onto a fast-moving wildfire that crossed a freeway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Two California lawmakers are pushing legislation that would increase fines and allow for criminal prosecutions of people caught using a drone during a fire, and federal officials are considering new rules that would require all drones to be marked with registration numbers, which could help the authorities track down their owners.
This seemed inevitable, but more and more seems to happen as soon as you think of it these days. When they make a sequel to Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhaal will have transitioned to a fleet of drones for his tabloid footage empire.
Airports have drone no-fly zones that the drone software is programmed to respect. I imagine they will quickly begin selling tech to throw up similar digital no-fly zones around fires and other accidents in the future. To deal with those who hack their way around these digital fences, some sort of anti-drone tech seems inevitable. Fly a hacked DJI Phantom over a fire in the future and prepare for a weaponized drone to knock it out of the sky.