More than 600 fire personnel have been working tirelessly to put out the Museum Fire burning north of Flagstaff, but they were met with an unexpected distraction Wednesday.
A drone impeded their operations in the air for a short time, according to Coconino National Forest officials.
The drone was reported in the southeast portion of the fire area that is currently burning more 1,900 acres. Helicopters had to stop and move away from the drone. Operations were moved from the Flagstaff City Reservoir, located north of the fire, to the Schultz Tank.
Thursday, firefighters reiterated the importance of water and retardant drops from the air. They said they are "critical to the fire suppression efforts."
Drones flown near a wildfire can endanger the lives of pilots and firefighters, as well as, make it harder to protect the communities impacted by the fire, officials said.
"Regardless of your motivation, flying a drone near a wildland fire is putting someone else’s life in danger. Your hobby is not worth another person’s life," National Forest officials said.
As of Thursday morning, the Museum Fire is 12 percent contained. The cause is still under investigation.