Air tankers briefly grounded after drone spotted over blaze

Jun 25, 2015 12:04 PM by News Staff

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) - Officials say they temporarily grounded air tankers for safety reasons after a hobbyist's drone flew near a huge forest fire in Southern California.

Daniel Berlant of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says a tanker was preparing to drop retardant Wednesday evening in the San Bernardino Mountains when the pilot spotted the small remote-controlled device.

Officials ordered him and four other pilots to land over fears of possible collisions, but they were unable to find the drone's operator.

Berlant says a short time later, the pilot of a spotter plane saw another small drone flying over a different section of the fire.

Retardant-dropping flights resumed Thursday.

The blaze about 90 miles east of Los Angeles has charred 33 square miles of timber and brush since June 17.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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