Some of the most dramatic, sweeping views of the fires engulfing San Diego County this week didn’t come from fire officials or news stations. They came from average Joe citizens who happen to own a drone.
One hobbyist used his small system to capture footage of billowing smoke and flames in San Marcos.
Chad Coleman of Carlsbad attracted requests from CNN after he posted photos aerial photos and video captured by his small drone.
Their footage offers an expansive look at the wildfires. Fire officials who use more sophisticated versions get even more detailed views and heat maps that help them predict where flames could spread next.
Here’s one sample from a 2007 test.
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Of course there are useful, productive, peaceful applications of drone technology. The current problem with drones are their horrible military use, or shall we say mis-use, making killing easier and profits for the big military manufacturers; when peaceful applications should be the emphasis.
@voiceofsandiego If the drones could only drop water on the fires, it would be perfect.
@voiceofsandiego so is it a funding resource issue or clearance?
@LisaHalverstadt probably a bad time to get your flight training in, but I'd like to see your own drone footage of the fires. You're saying the authorities would like more drone footage too? Just not of the hobbyist variety. Is that correct?
@Kelly Abbott My sense is that Cal Fire isn't convinced it needs drone footage right now but the fire community is generally very interested in how they can use the technology. They're also at least somewhat concerned about hobbyists.
The Cal Fire deputy chief I talked to told me he's uneasy at the thought of drones buzzing around in places where authorities are fighting fires. He's worried they could run into fast-moving, low-flying helicopters getting water and then dropping it over the fires, or somehow affect firefighting efforts in another way. But he wasn't aware of any safety warnings Cal Fire had issued and said he was thinking about whether they should make a public statement after our interview.
Also worth noting is that there are temporary flight restrictions in some areas of the county - including in Carlsbad - barring anyone who isn't battling a blaze from flying there. It's my understanding that would affect anyone flying - dronie or licensed pilot.
@voiceofsandiego God bless the firefighters fighting the fire in California.
What does god(s) have to do with anything? And if they had a hand in fighting it, doesn't it stand to reason they also had a hand in creating it?