Drone interferes with helicopter fire operations

(U.S. Forest Service)

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is actively seeking information on unknown suspect who flew a drone over a helicopter working on the Miles Fire.

The helicopter was dumping water on a part of the fire known as Burnt Peak.

"This incident posed a significant safety risk to the helicopter and ground crews, and effectively caused a stoppage to air operations in the area," said the Sheriff's office.

According to the Dean Bitterman, Air Operation Branch Director for the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team #2, air operations were suspended for about two hours.

"The potential for a collision with an aircraft would cause potentially catastrophic damage," he said.

There is a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) over all wild fires, including the Miles Fire, due to the complex and hazardous work being done there. Anyone caught interfering with these operations could potentially be charged with crimes including Reckless Endangering, Interfering with a Firefighter, as well as possible penalties from the FAA.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office asks that any information regarding this incident be reported to Deputy Lance at 541-774-6800

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