UAS, Wildfires and You: Get the Facts

Wildfires are very dangerous, even from the air. That’s why the FAA puts temporary flight restrictions, or TFRs, in place above wildfires and other hazardous conditions to allow first responders to do their jobs unimpeded and without danger to their aerial support. There should be no traffic within the boundaries of a TFR – manned or unmanned – except for those supporting the operations.

What is a TFR?

Temporary flight restrictions, or TFRs, define special restrictions for the airspace during special events or hazardous situations. When a TFR is in place, there should be no air traffic – manned or unmanned – except for those supporting the operations. But TFRS do not just apply to wildfires. For stadium events ranging from concerts to NASCAR races to the Super Bowl, model aircraft flights and unmanned aircraft operations are generally restricted.

They often are put in place with short notice, so before taking your model aircraft or UAS out for a flight, it is important to check with the FAA to ensure that there are no TFRs in your area.

Why are TFRs placed over wildfires?

It is very important that wildfire operations are allowed to proceed unimpeded. Violating the TFR may endanger the safety of the operation, and in some cases may ground search and rescue crews until the airspace is cleared, allowing the wildfire to spread.

Fly Safely and Responsibly

Model aircraft and UAS operators should obtain up-to-date information about TFRs from the FAA or flight service. Timely alerts are also available on the web or on your cell phone at: Twitter.com/amagov.

Here are some quick links to official sources of TFR information.

FAA TFR Briefing Guide

FAA TFR Map

FAA TFR List