Drone halts helicopter response to fire
A helicopter was forced from the air in the middle of a firefight Monday when a drone appeared over a fire burning on Pioneer Road.
Jackson County Fire District No. 5 and the Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest District responded at about 5 p.m. Monday to a structure fire that spread into nearby wildlands on the 5300 block of Pioneer Road in Medford, west of Phoenix.
A black plume of smoke was visible from downtown Medford as numerous engines responded, and firefighters were actively engaged on the ground as a type 3 helicopter dropped buckets of water from the sky.
At about 6 p.m., a drone was spotted over the fire, which forced the helicopters to vacate the area, according to ODF.
“A drone has been spotted flying above the fire. As a result, our helicopters are forced to land,” ODF Southwest District wrote on its Facebook page.
At 6:45 p.m., ODF reported that the wildland fire portion of the incident had been stopped and firefighters were mopping up the quarter-acre that was affected.
Structural firefighters remained engaged on the structure portion of the blaze.
The cause of the fire will be under investigation, ODF reported.
Reach Mail Tribune Editor-in-Chief David Smigelski at 541-776-4484 or email@example.com.