Fortunately, the DC-10 was able to divert to a fire in Nevada and use the retardant there. However, two smaller planes that were following it had to jettison their cargo in a remote area so they could land back at base.
With the drone in the area, and no way to communicate with the pilot, fire drops had to be called off for the rest of the day. To add insult to injury, returning to their base, the planes spotted another drone flying at 1,200 feet when FAA rules limit drones to 400 feet.
Fire officials put the cost of the failed mission between $10,000 and $15,000. Even worse, the fire's containment dropped from 27% to 19% overnight, and has expanded to consume more than 25,000 acres.
Police are going to be patrolling the mountains around the fire looking for drone pilots. The U.S. Forest Service wants to remind everyone that it is illegal to fly a drone in restricted airspace, and that includes around a fire.
If you follow the rules, however, flying a drone can be a fun hobby, or good training for a future job. Learn how to buy the right drone for you.