Drone prompts diversion of wildfire surveillance plane

(AP) - Forestry officials diverted a surveillance plane after a fire chief reported a drone hovering above a wildfire in northern Arkansas and prompted them to caution people that the effort to take unique photographs endangers pilots and the people working below.Arkansas' Forestry Commission uses aircraft to seek fires and, at times, suppress them. On Tuesday, a surveillance flight that would have gone over Sharp County was directed elsewhere because of the drone.

Agency spokeswoman Adriane Barnes said forestry officials didn't believe the drone operator deliberately interfered with firefighting efforts, but the operator created a hazardous situation nonetheless.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday it works with agencies to warn people about the danger. It says it regularly notes on social media feeds that recreational drones and emergency operations don't mix.

The Forestry Commission says all 75 counties across the state have a high danger for wildfire. Of those counties 59 are under a burn ban as of Thursday afternoon.

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