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RBC I The firefighting efforts on the 1,140-acre Blair Fire, located 20 miles west of Meeker, are scaling down as fire activity wanes. However, a small unmanned aircraft (or drone) being flown by private individuals was spotted near the incident command post.
“If we see an unmanned aircraft near a fire, all firefighting aircraft leave the area,” said James Michels, the assistant fire management officer for the Northwest Colorado Interagency Fire Management Unit. “This increases risks to our firefighters and the public, and it can significantly hamper our operations. Unauthorized incursions by unmanned aircraft are becoming an increasing problem on wildfires throughout the West. Remember—if you fly, we can’t.”
Firefighters made contact with the people operating the small quadcopter, who said they were unaware of the danger and readily left the area.
About 30 firefighters worked the fire on Monday, strengthening fire lines and maintaining containment at roughly 70 percent headed into Tuesday.
Firefighters will continue to strengthen lines and patrol the perimeter of the fire, which is located about three-quarters of a mile north of Highway 64 and has burned mostly parallel to the highway, said David Boyd, a public affairs specialist for the Bureau of Land Management.
Although firefighters do not expect the fire to grow further, they will monitor any growth to the south, where the fire will be used to continue to improve wildlife habitat.
Since the fire was first reported on June 29, firefighters have been managing it to keep firefighter and public safety the top priority, protect infrastructure and improve wildlife habitat.