Unmanned aerial systems (UAS), also known as drones, have become popular with industry and hobbyists alike. While they are very useful tools and bring the joy of flight to many people, they can represent a hazard to public safety when they are unauthorized and are operated at emergency scenes. The CoE will test and evaluate technology that can support detection, tracking, and identification (DTI) of unauthorized drones at wildland fires and other public safety events. If feasible, the DTI equipment will lead to technology-driven conclusions that validate the safe continuation of aerial firefighting operations at a wildland fire or emergency scene.
Senate Bill 19-020 was signed in June 2019 and charges the CoE to study and, if feasible, implement a system to patrol the airspace above a wildland fire.