Hang gliders enter restricted air space around Miller Complex

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Helicopter getting water from Applegate Lake
Posted on: 08/21/17 by the USFS.

Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Ore. – Aircraft assisting ground crews fighting the Miller Complex had to be grounded after two hang gliders entered restricted airspace around the fires, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The August 19 incursion prompted fire managers to ground all air operations for 45 minutes due to safety concerns.

The operators of the non-mechanized gliders were located after the incident.

The USFS said unauthorized flights by hang gliders, drones, or other aircraft over wildfires pose a safety risk for firefighters.

Unauthorized aircraft could also cause mid-air collisions with air tankers, helicopters, or other aircraft involved in fire suppression.

Any aircraft that violates FAA Temporary Flight Restrictions, including drones, could face charges.

Even without an official TFR, anyone who hampers firefighting efforts could be charged.

The Miller Complex fires were sparked by lightning on August 14 after a thunderstorm rolled over an area 17 miles east of Cave Junction.

The complex is estimated at 10,969 acres and is 11% contained.

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