REDDING (CBS/AP) — Authorities briefly grounded a U.S. Forest Service reconnaissance plane flying over a series of small wildfires near Redding after a drone flew to close to the scene.

The Forest Service says the plane was grounded for about an hour-an-half for safety reasons on Monday near Redding. The owner of the drone was not found.

It was the third time in less than a week that the spotting of a drone over a California wildfire prompted the Forest Service to order planes to land for safety reasons.

Officials fear the drones will collide with firefighting planes. Two tanker planes dropping retardant on a large wildfire in San Bernardino County, 90 miles east of Los Angeles, was briefly grounded June 24 and 25 when drones were spotted over the blaze.

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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