As everyone knows, there has been a lot of lightning and fire activity in our area lately. We want to remind residents that it is of utmost importance that you do not fly your drone when there may be an active incident nearby. When drones are detected in the area of a fire, all air resources are grounded. With air resources being so key in the rapid response to the Lewstone Fire, imagine how much worse that incident would have been if they had been sidelined because of a curious drone operator.
Drones can also be an important tool when used appropriately. Did you know that RCVFD has two drone operators licensed by the FAA to fly for the department? We are also working on grants for drones with IR cameras to help us find fires that we can't see with visual light. Generally we will only fly in very specific situations, such as when we have smoke but we can't find a route to it, or when we have "peek-a-boo" smoke that comes and goes, where an eye in the sky can help pinpoint its location before it disappears again. When we fly, we coordinate with Larimer County Dispatch so that we are never in the air with other air resources.
Drones are another tool that we can use to protect the community, as long as they are used appropriately and by licensed people trained in when to fly and when to stay grounded.
Jeff Elsner, Chief
Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department
P.O. Box 2
Bellvue, CO 80512