SHAWNEE, Colo. (CBS4) – Fire officials say unauthorized aircraft are posing a high risk of a mid-air collision over the Shawnee Peak Fire. Authorities say a small, single engine airplane entered restricted airspace earlier this week, marking the third violation of the project’s airspace.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued a Temporary Flight Restriction for the Shawnee Peak Fire on Aug. 27. Officials say flight violations force aircraft assigned to the fire to immediately return to their base or the closest helispot until the airspace is clear. This means all fire operations using aircraft – such as hauling cargo, dropping water, and shuttling firefighters – must cease. Authorities say in the case of rescuing an injured firefighter, this could mean the difference between life and death.
The Shawnee Peak Fire was caused by a lightning strike on Aug. 26. near Shawnee Peak, east of Kenosha Pass in the Lost Creek Wilderness. As of Tuesday evening, the fire was 70 acres and 60% contained. According to firefighters, much of the fire activity is light to moderate so the fire is producing very little smoke but firefighters are still actively engaged in suppressing the fire.
According to the FAA, Pilots who enter restricted airspace could face a suspension of their certificate for a period of 30 to 90 days. A copy of the current TFR and a map of the restricted airspace can be found here. For the latest fire updates, visit psiccfireinfo.blogspot.com.
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