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Investigators look for drone operator who flew over fires

SPANISH FORK — The search continues for the operator of a drone that flew over southern Utah County’s wildfires.

The drone operator froze aerial firefighting efforts, and could have hurt pilots.

“If a drone were to come and interrupt what they’re doing, or strike the aircraft, or – heaven forbid – cause it to crash, then it is putting someone at risk,” said Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon. “People can’t understate the seriousness of that.”

Cannon adds investigators are reviewing tips and social media videos to find the operator, who could face time in jail or prison.

That depends on “Whether or not there were aircraft in the air, if operations had to stop, if there was any contact with the aircraft, by the drone, or if there was a crash,” Cannon said.

The FAA has imposed flight restrictions over the Pole Creek and Bald Mountain fires.