A malfunctioning drone flown by a hobbyist sparked a wildfire that would eventually burn 9 acres of land in Colorado Springs on Sunday afternoon, January 26, 2020.
According to the Colorado Springs Fire Department, more than 30 firefighters were deployed to the scene, which was initially reported to be a grass fire burning 5 acres. It was later determined that the blaze reached nearly twice that size, at 9 acres in total before it was fully contained.
The fire was started when a hobby drone malfunctioned and crashed in dry terrain.
According to a report from KKTV, the fire happened near New Life Drive and Running Water Drive, which is off of Interquest Parkway on the northeast side of the city. According to KnowBeforeYouFly.org, this area is a “Class D” controlled airspace, which means flying here requires FAA authorization. It’s unclear whether or not this hobbyist had that authorization.
El Paso County Wildland Fire Crew and the Black Forest Fire Department also helped get the blaze under control.
If you’re flying a drone, it’s important to be aware of weather conditions that exist, including wind and humidity, as well as other restrictions that may be in place. Utilize a resource like Know Before You Fly to determine whether or not you’re allowed to fly in a given airspace.