Drones can be used in Colorado and Arizona to study firefighting, senators suggest

FAA looking to establish test sites for drones

DENVER - Senators for Colorado and Arizona want to see if unmanned aircraft can help fight wildfires.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been working to establish six test sites where small, low-flying drones could have access to national airspace.

This week Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado and Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona introduced an amendment to create two more sites for drones that would focus on wildfire monitoring, mitigation and containment. The proposal was introduced as an amendment to legislation on transportation and housing spending.

Both Colorado and Arizona have had deadly wildfires this season.

Some states and cities have introduced proposals to curb the use of drones, partly over privacy concerns.

One Colorado town is considering offering its residents drone hunting licenses and bounties for unmanned aerial vehicles.

"This is a very symbolic ordinance. Basically, I do not believe in the idea of a surveillance society, and I believe we are heading that way," said Phillip Steel, a Deer Trail resident who drafted the ordinance.

The town board votes on the ordinance on Aug. 6.

The FAA has warned that people can be prosecuted or fined for shooting at drones, saying firing guns at unmanned aircraft could cause them to crash, injuring people or damaging property.

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