PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. —
A man accused of flying a drone over a major Arizona wildfire has been arrested, with authorities saying he interrupted firefighting efforts on a blaze that has forced thousands of people from their homes.
The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office said Saturday that 54-year-old Gene Alan Carpenter of Prescott Valley was in custody on charges of endangerment and unlawful operation of an unmanned aircraft.
Police said they tracked Carpenter down after spotting a man near a white van in the area flying the drone on June 24, within hours of the fire being reported, and throughout the past week.
Police said the drone on Wednesday circled an official firefighting plane, posing a threat that grounded the official 14 aircrafts, including helicopters and air tankers.
It’s unclear if Carpenter has an attorney.