Lawmakers Would Like People To Please Stop Flying Their Drones Over Wildfires, Please

<p>Tom Hoefen/<a href="">USGS</a>, Public Domain</p>
<p>A drone flies into a smoke plume at a U.S. Geological Survey tall timbers research station, November 2000.</p>
Photo: Drone Flys Through Smoke Plume - USGS
A drone flies into a smoke plume at a U.S. Geological Survey tall timbers research station, November 2000.

Colorado lawmakers came together to introduce a bill that would make it a federal felony to fly unauthorized drones over wildfires.

Sen. Cory Garnder, Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Scott Tipton sponsor the Securing Airspace For Emergency Responders (SAFER) Act.

Emergency responders have reported issues in recent years with individuals flying drones over active wildfire areas. Sometimes, the drones even posed such a risk that officials must ground firefighting aircraft.

“I’ve heard firsthand from the men and women fighting fires in Colorado about the problems and risks they encounter with unauthorized drones flying over wildfires,” Gardner said in a statement.

Gardner recently spoke at a Senate Republican leadership press conference to discourage people from flying drones over the 416 Fire. The blaze continues to grow -- at a slower pace -- outside Durango.

“When an unauthorized drone flies over a wildfire, it poses a huge threat to aircrafts working to suppress the fire and forces them to ground,” Tipton said in a statement. “This legislation will deter this kind of problem in the future, helping Colorado’s brave firefighters perform their jobs in a safe and efficient manner.”

“Coloradans understand the risks that recreational drone activity creates for our communities, and Senator Gardner, Congressman Tipton, and I will work to prohibit this unauthorized drone use to help our first responders do their jobs," Bennet added in a statement.