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Goodwin Fire: Drone Poses Safety Hazard As Crews Work To Contain The Fire

Residents of Mayer, the Arizona town affected by a massive wildfire have been allowed to return home. Firefighters said better weather conditions are helping them contain the Goodwin Fire.

That’s the good news. The bad news: Several helicopters and fire crews had to stop working for up to an hour because the drone posed a safety hazard.

Todd Abel is the Southwest Area Incident Management Team Operations Section chief.

"The drone is like a bird strike to a helicopter or plane and if there’s a bird strike it obviously can cause damage, actually cause that aircraft to fall out of the sky and crash," Abel said. "So we don’t want that. We want to make sure that our firefighters that are in the air are as safe as the firefighters that are on the ground."

Authorities did not find the drone's operator.

Thousands of residents from six nearby towns and subdivisions are still under evacuation orders.

Senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.