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Fire crews fear drone interference on fire response during the eclipse

(KTVL/ Kimberly Kolliner)

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. - Thousands of people and the picture perfect moments they want to capture for the eclipse are a concern for fire crews.

It's the unauthorized drones the Oregon Department of Forestry is worried about.

Less than three weeks ago ODF had a drone interference while fighting a fire, which forced them to land their helicopter, costing the agency $15,000.

They fear with the thousands looking for the perfect photo op, safety is at risk.

"Aircraft are so finely balanced that something as small as a drone can get in there damage those small fine parts and bring a helicopter down, bring an air tanker down, the list goes on. Therefore, if that comes down that means we're losing our pilot, that also means the people bellow - firefighters and public alike are at danger,” said Melissa Cano, the ODF public information officer.

ODF says the best piece of advice is the second you hear sirens or are aware of smoke in the area to land your drone.

That's not to say all drones are dangerous.

Several fire agencies are working on incorporating drones into their operations to get aerial readings on fires when smoke conditions don't allow for helicopters to take flight.

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