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Cal Fire Arrests Drone Operator For Interfering With Firefighting

Cynthia Hotujec-Kantner / AP / File
 

Cynthia Hotujec-Kantner / AP / File

A man accused of interfering with firefighting by flying a drone over the Trailhead Fire has been arrested. This is the first time Cal Fire has arrested a drone operator for interfering with firefighting.

Cal Fire says hobby drones have increasingly been flying over wildfires during the last two years. Drones are a hazard for low-flying airtankers and firefighting helicopters as they fly over to drop fire retardant and water.

“When a hobby drone flies in the path of our aircraft, we have no choice but to pull back our airtankers and helicopters until the drone is removed,” said Chief Dave Teter, Cal Fire deputy director of fire protection, in a press release. The release notes that air units were particularly critical in the Trailhead Fire because of its remote location.
Eric Wasmer, 57, of Foresthill was arrested Friday afternoon, booked into the Placer County jail in Auburn, and charged with interfering with firefighting operations,

The Trailhead Fire in Placer and El Dorado counties started on June 28 and is now 98-percent contained.