By Gregg Rosenblum

SAN BERNARDINO (CBS SF) — A hobbyist flying a drone prevented firefighting aircraft from fighting a wildfire in Southern California Wednesday, a Cal Fire officer tweeted.

Cal Fire Public Information Officer Daniel Berlant tweeted “Tonight a hobby drone grounded firefighting aircraft by flying over the #LakeFire.  When you fly…we CAN’T! Puts our pilots lives at risk.”

The Lake Fire was burning about 90 miles east of Los Angeles, and had burned about 27 square miles.

In the Bay Area, firefighters reached 30 percent containment on a 200-acre wildfire in the Contra Loma Regional Park area of Antioch Wednesday evening, according to a Contra Costa County fire inspector.

Individuals flying for hobby or recreation are strongly encouraged to follow the FAA’s safety guidelines, which include:

  • Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles
  • Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times
  • Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations
  • Don’t fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying
  • Don’t fly near people or stadiums
  • Don’t fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 lbs
  • Don’t be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft – you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft

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