Drone restrictions for Sherpa Fire issued

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The U.S. Forest Service, along with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), has implemented a no-fly restriction for all civilian aircraft, manned or otherwise, around the area of the Sherpa Fire. “This restriction applies to all manned and unmanned aircraft systems. Local aviation experts are especially concerned about drones, which can pose a safety hazard and delay firefighting aviation operations in the area.”

According to Brian Sexton, the Forest Aviation Officer with the Los Padres National Forest, “There is a lot of air traffic coming in from various areas [for the Sherpa Fire]. Drones in particular should abide by the same FAA rules and avoid the airspace to ensure firefighters can safely do their job.”

“Unmanned aircraft systems should not be flown near or around wildfires on National Forest System Lands,” according to the U.S. Forest Service.

In the statement from the County of Santa Barbara and the Joint Information Center, “All enforcement and safety efforts conducted are in conjunction with Santa Barbara Airport management. Disruptions to flights and other airport activities are not anticipated at this time.”

The “no-fly” zone is: “… for all aircraft systems is approximately a 5-by-3 mile perimeter encompassing the following areas: Canada del Refugio, Canada del Corral, Canada del Capitan, Canada del Venadito and Canada de la Destiladera, and West Goleta (specifically areas north of Calle Real and west of Los Carneros Road).

Forest Service personnel noted that the temporary flight restriction will not be canceled until the fire is fully extinguished and response agencies have completed fire suppression and clean-up tasks. Residents can access information on active temporary flight restrictions Here.

In other words: Don’t fly your drone around the Sherpa Fire to get that really cool video. Your really cool video could hamper firefighting operations — even after dark.