PETALUMA (CBS SF) – A drone was seen flying over the Petaluma airport Sunday afternoon, forcing firefighting helicopters to temporarily cease operations, police said.

At 2:36 p.m., Petaluma police received a call from officials at the Petaluma Airport reporting that someone was flying a drone over the airport.

Cal Fire helicopters are currently using the airport as a base as they respond to the wildfires in Sonoma and Napa counties.


Police said the drone was potentially perilous for helicopters flying in and out of the airport. As a result, helicopters ceased operations for about 10 minutes, police said.

According to police, Cal Fire officials said they believed the person flying the drone was at the fields just east of the airport, off of East Washington Boulevard.

When officers arrived, Cal Fire officials had already located the suspect responsible for flying the drone. He was identified as 24-year-old Nestor Rodriguez of Petaluma.

According to police, Rodriguez allegedly said he did not realize what he did was illegal. The drone was seized and Rodriguez was issued a citation for impeding emergency personnel, police said.

The Federal Aviation Administration was notified and will be conducting an investigation, police said.

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