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Stop Flying Drones Near Wildfires!

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A helicopter drops water on the San Gabriel Complex Fire near Duarte. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
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Firefighters appear to be finally making progress on the wildfires that have scorched over 5,000 acres in the San Gabriel Valley, but no thanks to some hobbyist aviators.On Saturday, firefighters lifted the evacuation orders for residents in the Azusa and Duarte area affected by the San Gabriel Complex Fire and reopened the Chantry Flat Recreation Area. According to the L.A. Times, the fire had been 62-percent contained as of early Sunday morning.

Due to the steep terrain in the area affected, a lot of the effort has been concentrated on airdrops and airlifting crews into remote areas. Unfortunately on Saturday, officials recorded "multiple intrusions by drones over the fire," according to an incident report. Air-based efforts had to be temporarily halted as a result. "When drones interfere with firefighting efforts, a wildfire has the potential to grow larger and cause more damage," said the incident report.

Firefighters faced similar challenges from amateur drones last year when they battled wildfires in San Bernardino County. A $75,000 was eventually offered to track down the drone operators in that case.