- Associated Press - Thursday, September 10, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Utah lawmaker is working on legislation that would create new penalties for anyone caught flying a drone near a wildfire.

Heber City Republican Rep. Kraig Powell told KUTV (https://bit.ly/1NrQuAr ) that more regulations are needed after a drone spotted flying near a wildfire at Deer Creek Reservoir this week grounded firefighting planes.

It’s already illegal under Utah law to interfere with efforts to fight a fire.

Utah’s Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands says violators of that existing law can net a drone pilot a $2,500 fine and up to six months in jail, in addition to possible FAA and federal penalties.

Powell plans to introduce a bill next year but hasn’t determined if he’ll push for felony punishments for anyone caught flying a drone near a fire.

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Information from: KUTV-TV, https://www.kutv.com/

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