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Fly safe, fly smart, have fun!

If you have recently purchased a drone, the Federal Aviation Administration wants you to know how to fly it safely. Before flying your drone have it registered at The FAA warns unauthorized drone operators that they may be subject to significant fines if they interfere with emergency response operations. Flying a drone without authorization in or near the disaster area may violate federal, state, or local laws and ordinances, even if a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is not in place.Don’t fly near other aircraft or in restricted airspace, such as “No Drone Zones.”

The US Forest Service wants to remind drone pilots that flying drones within or near wildfires without permission could cause injury or death to firefighters and hamper their ability to protect lives, property and natural cultural resources.Individuals and organizations that fly UAS on National Forest Lands must follow FAA guidance. This stipulates that a UAS must not interfere with manned aircraft, must be flown within sight of the operator and operated only for hobby or recreational purposes. Fire managers may suspend aerial firefighting until unauthorized UAS leave the area, which could allow a wildfire to grow larger.

Action Steps You Can Take


Allow first responders to save lives and property without drone interference. Don’t fly your drone in an emergency or disaster area.

Safe Flying, Smart Pilots

  • UAS operations are particularly effective in emergency incidents for missions that are dangerous.
  • Humans are not put at risk.
  • Continuous operations are possible.
  • Operations with UAS often cost less than using manned aircraft.
  • Always go through your pre-flight checklist.
  • Check the safety guidelines regularly for any changes.

Operating Rules

  • Must keep the aircraft in sight (visual line-of-sight).
  • Altitude of 400-feet or less or a 400 ft radius
  • Must fly with groundspeed at or below 100 mph
  • Must yield right of way to manned aircraft
  • Must NOT fly over people
  • Must NOT fly from a moving vehicle

You can download and print this Drone Safety flier for more information.