Fire managers: Hobby drones too close for comfort

Fire managers: Hobby drones too close for comfort »Play Video
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BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- They come in all shapes and sizes, some as small as a saltine cracker.

Commonly called drones, they're formally known as UAS, unmanned aircraft systems, almost always with cameras on board.

And wildfire managers say hobbyists are starting to fly them way too close to aircraft that are fighting fires.

"There's a huge possibility of a strike of the two of them hitting each other," said Mike Ferris, with the USDA Forest Service. "A lot of our aircraft when they fly into a fire perimeter are flying fairly low."

Last fire season in the West, there was one incident of a drone flying within or near airspace restricted for firefighting aircraft.

This year there have been three such cases.

One thing about it. The technology behind unmanned aircraft systems is soaring.

Jimmy Rose walked us through some of the very affordable drones available at HobbyTown USA on Cole Road and says the technology is moving at warp speed.

"It's a lot like computers, or tablets or phones," he said. " Just how fast everything is going."

Meantime, fire managers are getting the word out to hobbyists that flying these amazing, but unauthorized, unmanned aircraft in restricted air space could have deadly consequences.