This letter covers two co-related subjects. First the good:
The Carson City Fire Department and the other agencies that responded to the fire on Prison Hill did a great job holding the fire to just the top and North East upper slopes of the hill. Special kudos the helicopter pilots for their great work. A little more wind and more lightning could have been disastrous for those of us living below the burn area. The helicopters that responded were dropping water that appeared to be as much mud as water and that is a result of the drought we are in. If we again need the water from the Carson River it will be scarce to non-existent as summer progresses.
As citizens we need to ensure that we do not engage in any hazardous activities that could cause a fire. We also need to stay out of the way of firefighters. Buzzy’s Ranch Road normally has little traffic in the evening but Friday night was a zoo. There were many vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians and other motorized forms of transportation clogging the road. Luckily the fire did not explode to a critical phase and the problem slowly solved itself.
Now to the bad: A friend from the neighborhood and I were in my yard watching the helicopters drop water when we saw a medium size drone fly into the egress flight path that the aircraft were using as they headed for the river for more water. The drone went into a hover. This drone was within several hundred feet of the smaller helicopter at about the same altitude as it departed after a water drop. Both of us commented that put the aircraft and the pilot in serious danger if a collision or ingestion into the turbines were to occur. The drone stayed in the area for several minutes and then departed to the northeast toward Fifth Street. As I understand it, no fire agency or the Sheriff’s Department deployed any drones. I think it is safe to say this was a privately owned device.
I have intentionally waited to write this letter in hopes that the “idiot” that owns the drone has posted pictures and the Sheriff’s Office can identify the individual. Flying a drone in this airspace is a crime and the owner should be punished. Just because no collision occurred does not lessen the danger.
James Bagwell lives in Carson City