A giant wildfire currently spreading through Southern California's Cajon Pass is burning cars on a freeway in what the San Bernardino County Fire Department is calling a "mass casualty incident." But the firefighters also issued a report that due to a drone seen flying in the area, they couldn't get their helicopters to the scene right away.
What's being called the North Fire has burned about 500 acres near the 15 freeway, which heads northeast to Vegas. Firefighters had closed the freeway traffic in both directions when suddenly the grass fire jumped into the freeway and set several cars aflame. Firefighters began mobilising their aircraft, but due to a drone seen in the air, they were forced to ground their helicopters which were starting to drop water on the burning cars.
— FOX 11 Los Angeles (@myfoxla) July 17, 2015
— The Sun (@sbsun) July 17, 2015
— Redlands Buzz (@Redlands_Buzz) July 17, 2015
— Tara Wallis (@tarawallis) July 17, 2015
It isn't the first time that drones have prevented firefighters from flying their aircraft — it seems to be a frighteningly regular thing. This is the third time in a month that this has happened just in this county. During the nearby Lake Fire in June, a DC-10 with flame-retardant was grounded after a drone was spotted in the air.
San Bernardino's fire department tweeted out a poster from the US Forest Service reminding drone operators not to fly near firefighting operations.
If you have drone — and I think I can stay this with some certainty — stay the fuck away from wildfires.
Top image from KTLA's live feed of the fire