Posts Tagged: Drones

News

What happens when the next big wildfire hits?

Fire safety has suddenly become far more politically fraught and expensive. Here, firefighters respond to 2017 Ponderosa Fire. Photo courtesy of Cal Fire. (Photo: CalFire, via CALmatters)

Don’t be fooled by the precipitation, the snowpack, the wildflowers. When winter ends, it’s unlikely that California’s iconic landscape will sustain the moisture to withstand the 100-degree summer and fall. California has yet to recover from the 5-year drought that began in 2012. For four years, record wildfires have ravaged the state, including the Tubbs Fire in Napa and Sonoma in 2017 and the Camp Fire last year that wiped out the town of Paradise in Butte County.

News

Drones abound, raise fears of mid-air collisions

A professionally operated drone heads into the sunset. (Photo: Concept W, Shutterstock)

On a Saturday night in early December, while relaxing at his Martinez, Calif., home, Chinese exchange student Owen Ouyang decided to have some fun. He went out to the front yard and launched a sleek new drone he had recently purchased online for about $1,000. The 2.8-pound drone, advertised as “easy to fly,” proved anything but. Soon after takeoff, the drone veered dangerously toward a power line. It then climbed more than 700 feet – right into the path of a California Highway Patrol helicopter

News

Brown shoots down drone legislation

A professionally operated drone heads into the sunset. (Photo: Concept W, Shutterstock)

A squadron of drone bills that emerged from the Legislature wound up crashing on the governor’s desk. Gov. Brown vetoed three measures over the weekend that sought to block drones from flying over schools or prisons, and which would have allowed emergency personnel to shoot down a drone if it came into a fire zone.

News

End of session: Attack of the drones

A professionally operated drone heads into the sunset. (Photo: Concept W, Shutterstock)

Drone bills are buzzing the Capitol and making a beeline for the governor’s desk. At least four measures to curb their use already have flown out of the Legislature with bipartisan support. A fifth, approved in the Senate, awaits action in the Assembly. The governor has not disclosed his position on any of the bills, the remnants of a dozen pieces of legislation that have targeted drones during the past two years.

Opinion

Does curbing drones stifle innovation?

OPINION: One of the next great areas of innovation is at risk because of SB 142, which would make it an offense to fly a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over private property at an altitude of 350 feet or below – regardless of the reason – without the permission of each private property owner in the flight path.

News

Firefighters to drones: Buzz off

A drone and its master. (Photo: Ahturner)

Efforts to contain a July 12 brush fire in San Bernardino County were delayed for eight crucial minutes after response crews spotted a hobbyist’s drone flying close to the fire area. The drone, which US Forest Service officials suspect may have been recording footage of the fire, eventually flew off, allowing grounded air crews to resume. For firefighters, those lost minutes can be devastating as they try to contain a wildfire.

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