Drone grounds crews battling the Bighorn Fire

Drone grounds crews battling the Bighorn Fire
Smoke from the Bighorn Fire can been seen all over the Tucson area. (Source: Ernesto Becerril/See It, Snap It, Send It)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - For the second time since Friday, a drone has been spotted near the Bighorn Fire in the Santa Catalina Mountains.

Heidi Schewel with the Coronado National Forest told KOLD News 13 a drone was detected in the area around 2 p.m. Monday, June 8.

That forced firefighters to temporarily ground all aircraft being used to battle the blaze.

“The consequences of this remain to be seen,” the Coronado National Forest said in a Facebook post. “If you know people with drones, please advise them not to fly over or around wildfires. When an aircraft, such as a drone, enters the restricted air space we have no way of communicating with the pilot, so we must ground our aircraft. And precious time is lost. That’s what just happened.”

There is a temporary flight restriction in the area and that includes the flying of drones.

On Friday, the day the blaze began, a drone operator was issued a violation notice for an incursion.

As of Monday morning, the Bighorn Fire had burned 2,300 acres and was 10 percent contained. Officials said no structures are in danger and no evacuations are planned.

The fire was ignited by lightning in the forest late Friday, June 5.

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