A private drone trying to record footage of a Northern California wildfire nearly hindered efforts to attack the flames from the air, but firefighters made enough progress to allow most of the 1,200 people under evacuation orders to return home Monday.
An unmanned aircraft that aimed to get video of the blaze burning near vineyards in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Sacramento was sighted Sunday, two days after the fire broke out, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Lynne Tolmachoff said.
Authorities told the man controlling the drone to stop it from flying because of the potential danger to firefighting planes. The man, whom Tolmachoff did not identify, was not cited.
"This is the first one that I'm aware of," she said. "These unmanned aircraft are becoming very popular with people, and there's a possibility we will see more of them."
Crews held the fire to a little under 6 square miles, increasing containment to 75 percent by Monday evening, state fire Battalion Chief Scott McLean said. Most evacuees were allowed to return home except those who lived in a roughly square mile patch of land.
Read more from the Associated Press at the Sacramento Bee
UPDATE: The pilot of the drone has posted his video to Youtube. (Credit: Youtube user- jayzaerial)