On July 23, helicopters and other aircraft were grounded at the Rattlesnake Creek forest fire, north of McCall, Idaho. The reason - a drone had been spotted too close to the aircraft operations. When that happens, firefighting aircraft are halted to prevent any possible collisions. The unidentified drone left the area and the aircraft flew again. Fortunately, this incident did not cause any growth of the fire. But the potential is there. It is against the law for unmanned aircraft to interfere with the firefighting, and it's not safe, according to officials from the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest.

Drone operators are reminded to follow the proper rules and regulations. The simple rule is: Don't fly your drone anywhere near a wildfire. Even a tiny drone can cause a serious or fatal accident it collides with a firefighting aircraft. You add forest fire smoke to the scene and the potential for accidents increases exponentially. Check the tips for unmanned aircraft systems at the US Forest Service website.

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