CALDWELL COUNTY, Texas - 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.
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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.