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Drones Hinder Firefighting Efforts On Pinal Fire Near Globe

Pinal Fire
(Photo courtesy of inciweb.nwcg.gov)
Pinal Fire south of Globe.

Efforts to fight a wildfire near Globe are being hindered, but not by weather conditions. Drones are getting in the way of crews battling the Pinal Fire.

Forest Service officials stress than flying drones near wildfires is dangerous — and illegal. But since the Pinal Fire was detected on May 8, there have been four separate incidents involving members of the public doing just that.

The most recent was on Wednesday, when the presence of a drone forced an air tanker flying over the fire to release its retardant at a higher altitude than normal, reducing the retardant’s effectiveness. Aviation operations were also briefly suspended. Another drone pilot near the fire was cited over the weekend.

So far, the Pinal Fire has burned nearly 4,400 acres.

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Stina Sieg was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2013 to 2018.