When it comes to spring time there seems to be a stretch of weather that goes from very wet to very dry in just a few days. So I thought I’d bring up how important it is that we all stay vigilant in guarding against fire. And of course it was just a couple weeks ago that we lost a cabin in our area and had that particular fire jump a road and get into the woods. I spoke with Dave Cox from the Brainerd Fire Department and he had a simple 1,2,3 for us.
- Make sure all your smoke alarms are in working condition and have fresh batteries.
- Make sure you have a safety plan for your family if there is a fire including escape plan and meeting point.
- And never leave your cooking unattended.
We have also had our DNR weigh in on a couple of things that concern them. Here’s an outtake from a recent press release about drones.
Flying a drone can be a lot of fun—but it can be downright dangerous during a wildfire, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
“Most people wouldn’t dream of driving their car in front of a fire engine that’s responding to a fire,” said Casey McCoy, the DNR’s fire prevention supervisor. “Flying your drone during a wildfire is just as reckless: we have to ground our planes until the drone gets out of the way, and that slows down our ability to fight the fire.”
This happened last year during a wildfire in Little Falls: DNR pilots had to land firefighting helicopters because a drone was buzzing overhead. According to McCoy, “interfering with fire operations in this way is dangerous for our aircraft, firefighters on the ground, and the general public.”
The reason drones pose such a problem is because they fly at roughly the same altitude as wildfire suppression aircraft. Even a small drone can cause a fire-fighting helicopter to crash if the drone makes contact with the aircraft.
Flying a drone over a wildfire isn’t just dangerous, it’s illegal: Federal law prohibits interfering with firefighting operations, and that includes flying a drone over a wildfire.
To protect firefighting aircraft, temporary flight restrictions may extend over a 5-mile radius of a wildfire. Even if temporary flight restrictions are not in place, people will be penalized if their drone is caught near a wildfire.
The other thing to remember is that there are burning restrictions in place for a reason. It’s our job to pay attention to the restrictions and make sure we honor them. Here’s a link to the DNR website that will keep you connected on that level. Minnesota DNR website
And like Smokey Bear always says: only you can prevent forest fires.