As if fighting a wildfire didn't have enough dangers and distractions, now fire crews battling the Lower Crab Creek fire near Mattawa over the weekend had to deal with a loud, buzzing, interfering flying object.

Sunday afternoon, fire officials reported somebody was flying a drone over the fire zone, and surrounding areas.

They said this isn't the first time this has happened, and similar reports have been made across the country. But especially with forest and brush fires, it can seriously interfere with air suppression work.

Helicopters and water bombers cannot operate until the drone is known or seen to have left the airspace. Imagine a low-level chopper making a water pass over a fire just a few hundred feet off the ground, and it collides with a drone!

Fire officials say if authorities are able to identify anyone who is known to have flown a drone over or around such a fire, they can face charges.

Water operations can't just stop for a few minutes, when a drone is spotted, it can cause delays of up to three or four hours. It's likely it was a private unit, as local TV and radio stations and newspapers 'know better' than to interfere with dangerous situations like this.

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