Skip to main content

Man arrested for delaying firefighters after flying drone over wildfire

Fighting Wildfires in Santa Barbara, CA (Vincent Laforet Wildfires Aerial 02)
Image used with permission by copyright holder
The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona announced this weekend that 54-year-old Gene Alan Carpenter from Prescott Valley has been arrested for hindering aircraft after allegedly flying his unmanned drone in close proximity to one of the firefighting planes. Detailed by police, the drone was spotted circling one of the planes and forced officials to ground 14 aircraft fighting the raging wildfire for roughly an hour.

Besides planes, those aircraft include five helicopters and multiple air tankers. Contained around 44 percent as of Saturday, the fire has been burning through the Prescott National Forest over the past week. That area is located roughly 100 miles north of Phoenix. Authorities have restricted the area from non-firefighting aircraft in order to clear all flight paths. As of Friday, over one thousand firefighters are battling the wildfire.

Police have charged Carpenter with fourteen counts of felony endangerment and one misdemeanor count of unlawful operation of an unmanned aircraft. Before picking him up, a witness had described a man fitting Carpenter’s description standing near a white van positioned near the Mount Union Lookout Tower. When police searched Carpenter’s website, they found several pictures of the Goodwin Fire taken from a drone’s aerial position.

It’s possible that Carpenter will face additional charges from federal authorities, specifically related to temporary no-fly zone federal statutes. While detectives are planning to meet on Monday with federal authorities regarding those charges, Carpenter is currently facing a bond of $25,000 as well as a court date on July 6, 2017.

The FAA created a set of guidelines to help drone operators keep flights legal. Some of those recommendations include staying clear of airports (a five-mile radius) as well as avoiding large event areas like stadiums. The radius is extended during major events like the Super Bowl. During 2016, the FAA warned drone operators that all drones within a 36-mile radius would be shot down if seen in flight.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that a drone operator has been arrested for flying in the wrong place. During 2015, a California man was arrested after his drone flew within 50 feet of an LAPD helicopter. Also during 2015, two people were arrested in a plot to illegally transport goods into a prison utilizing a drone.

Editors' Recommendations

Mike Flacy
By day, I'm the content and social media manager for High-Def Digest, Steve's Digicams and The CheckOut on Ben's Bargains…
Digital Trends’ Tech For Change CES 2023 Awards
Digital Trends CES 2023 Tech For Change Award Winners Feature

CES is more than just a neon-drenched show-and-tell session for the world’s biggest tech manufacturers. More and more, it’s also a place where companies showcase innovations that could truly make the world a better place — and at CES 2023, this type of tech was on full display. We saw everything from accessibility-minded PS5 controllers to pedal-powered smart desks. But of all the amazing innovations on display this year, these three impressed us the most:

Samsung's Relumino Mode
Across the globe, roughly 300 million people suffer from moderate to severe vision loss, and generally speaking, most TVs don’t take that into account. So in an effort to make television more accessible and enjoyable for those millions of people suffering from impaired vision, Samsung is adding a new picture mode to many of its new TVs.
[CES 2023] Relumino Mode: Innovation for every need | Samsung
Relumino Mode, as it’s called, works by adding a bunch of different visual filters to the picture simultaneously. Outlines of people and objects on screen are highlighted, the contrast and brightness of the overall picture are cranked up, and extra sharpness is applied to everything. The resulting video would likely look strange to people with normal vision, but for folks with low vision, it should look clearer and closer to "normal" than it otherwise would.
Excitingly, since Relumino Mode is ultimately just a clever software trick, this technology could theoretically be pushed out via a software update and installed on millions of existing Samsung TVs -- not just new and recently purchased ones.

Read more
AI turned Breaking Bad into an anime — and it’s terrifying
Split image of Breaking Bad anime characters.

These days, it seems like there's nothing AI programs can't do. Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, deepfakes have done digital "face-offs" with Hollywood celebrities in films and TV shows, VFX artists can de-age actors almost instantly, and ChatGPT has learned how to write big-budget screenplays in the blink of an eye. Pretty soon, AI will probably decide who wins at the Oscars.

Within the past year, AI has also been used to generate beautiful works of art in seconds, creating a viral new trend and causing a boon for fan artists everywhere. TikTok user @cyborgism recently broke the internet by posting a clip featuring many AI-generated pictures of Breaking Bad. The theme here is that the characters are depicted as anime characters straight out of the 1980s, and the result is concerning to say the least. Depending on your viewpoint, Breaking Bad AI (my unofficial name for it) shows how technology can either threaten the integrity of original works of art or nurture artistic expression.
What if AI created Breaking Bad as a 1980s anime?
Playing over Metro Boomin's rap remix of the famous "I am the one who knocks" monologue, the video features images of the cast that range from shockingly realistic to full-on exaggerated. The clip currently has over 65,000 likes on TikTok alone, and many other users have shared their thoughts on the art. One user wrote, "Regardless of the repercussions on the entertainment industry, I can't wait for AI to be advanced enough to animate the whole show like this."

Read more
4 simple pieces of tech that helped me run my first marathon
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar displaying pace information.

The fitness world is littered with opportunities to buy tech aimed at enhancing your physical performance. No matter your sport of choice or personal goals, there's a deep rabbit hole you can go down. It'll cost plenty of money, but the gains can be marginal -- and can honestly just be a distraction from what you should actually be focused on. Running is certainly susceptible to this.

A few months ago, I ran my first-ever marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment I had no idea I'd ever be able to reach, and it's now going to be the first of many I run in my lifetime. And despite my deep-rooted history in tech, and the endless opportunities for being baited into gearing myself up with every last product to help me get through the marathon, I went with a rather simple approach.

Read more