Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called on the Department of Justice to exercise its legal authority to prevent drones from interfering with firefighting efforts in California and throughout the West.

“Troubling reports have surfaced, such as on October 31, 2019, when the Ventura County Fire Department’s aerial operations to contain the Maria Fire had to be halted when a drone was spotted in the immediate airspace,” Senator Feinstein wrote. “However, despite continued drone interference with critical firefighting operations, it is my understanding that the Department has yet to use this new legal authority to address the problem. I ask that the Department begin using its new authority as quickly as possible so that lives are not endangered by drone interference with firefighting efforts.”

This is not the first reported incident of civilian drones attempting to record video of the fires, says Feinstein, and such incidents will likely continue "until the Department acts quickly to deter such actions through increased enforcement of current law prohibiting civilian drone operations in active wildfire areas," she says.