Drone incursions twice halt air attack on fire south of Big Sky

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The 74-acre Shedhorn fire is burning south of Big Sky in the Custer Gallatin National Forest.

Custer Gallatin National Forest Billings Gazette

Drone overflights of the 74-acre Shedhorn fire burning south of Big Sky prompted forest officials to halt air operations twice.

“A second day of aircraft being grounded — including tankers, helicopters, and air attack — is resulting in increased fire activity on the Shedhorn fire this afternoon and firefighters having to take a more indirect suppression approach,” said Marna Daley, public affairs officer for the Custer Gallatin National Forest, in a Tuesday email.

Wildland fires are drone no-fly zones because of the danger they impose to low-flying aircraft. Two helicopters were working the fire in addition to 40 firefighters on the ground with more scheduled to arrive on Wednesday.

“Drones cause significant safety concerns and cease all air operations,” said Corey Lewellen, agency administrator for the Shedhorn fire. “We can’t stress enough that all flying of drones over the fire must stop immediately.”

Ground crews are building a fire break along the northeast

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