Barth Fire: Drone almost collides with helicopter delivering water

A drone and a helicopter responding to a wildfire in Caldwell County had a near miss, says the Texas A&M Forest Service.

The helicopter was delivering water to the 150-acre Barth Fire when it almost collided with a drone that came within feet of it.

The Texas A&M Forest Service is reminding Texans that drones are a serious safety hazard for firefighting resources in the air and on the ground. Drones can even cause a serious or fatal accident if they collide with firefighting aircraft. 

Drones can also cause a suspension of aerial firefighting efforts, which could result in the wildfire expanding.


Officials say the firefighting aircraft can fly as low as 150 feet above the ground, the same altitude as many hobby drones.

The Texas A&M Forest Service also works with the FAA to establish Temporary Flight Restrictions around wildfire areas, which prohibits all aircraft, including drones, from flying in those restricted areas. 

It is also a federal crime to interfere with firefighting aircraft regardless of whether restrictions are established.