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Drones Hamper Fight Against Cedar Fire

Andy Miller

Officials say illegal drones are hampering efforts to contain a wildfire threatening communities in eastern Arizona.

Navajo County spokesman Adam Wolfe said Thursday that drone operators have been flying near the roughly 70-square-mile blaze. Airspace over the fire, which is 2 ½ miles north of the Cedar Creek community, is under a temporary flight restriction.

Wolfe says officials plan to arrest anyone caught flying a drone and seize the device. Drones force air crews working on the wildfire to stay grounded.

More than 15,000 people in Pinetop-Lakeside and Show Low, along with others in the surrounding communities, have been warned to be prepared to evacuate.

The fire that began June 15 is partially contained and its cause is under investigation.

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