drones

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Arizona leads the nation this year in illegal drone flights over wildfires.  These “drone incursions” force firefighters to ground aircraft bearing water and fire retardant. That delays critical firefighting and puts lives at risk. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.

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An Arizona man accused of endangering firefighting crews by flying a drone over a wildfire has pleaded not guilty.

Cliff Cross/12 News

Arizona has the highest number in the country this year for illegal drone flights over wildfires. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, it puts firefighters and property even more at risk. 


Officials say illegal drones are hampering efforts to contain a wildfire threatening communities in eastern Arizona.

Navajo County spokesman Adam Wolfe said Thursday that drone operators have been flying near the roughly 70-square-mile blaze. Airspace over the fire, which is 2 ½ miles north of the Cedar Creek community, is under a temporary flight restriction.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed legislation creating a comprehensive state policy on drone use that includes a ban on cities and towns making their own rules regulating the small aircraft.

Wednesday's action comes after Republican Sen. John Kavanagh, cities and towns and other groups negotiated on Senate Bill 1449. Businesses that hope to use drones commercially were pushing for uniform statewide rules.

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