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Firemen soon to fly drones

Staff writer

Hillsboro Fire Department will have help monitoring wildfires, finding accident victims who got separated from their cars, and aiding police find suspects.

An $8,000 drone, paid in part by a $2,000 community foundation grant and a $3,000 donation from Cooperative Grain and Supply, was shipped Thursday from Utah.

The drone has thermal imaging capability.

“It has a payload of four ounces. It could carry messages or medicine, but not a bottle of water,” Fire Chief Ben Steketee said.

Steketee has completed training on operating the drone. Four more firefighters are planning to complete training by the end of the year.

When it will be used depends on the type of fire and weather conditions, he said.

It cannot be flown in the rain or when winds exceed 30 mph.

“For wildland fires specifically, it will be good to have an eye in the sky,” he said.

The department will use the drone to help other first responders.

“We’re going to be in possession of it, but it’s not ‘our’ drone,” Steketee said.

The sheriff’s office also is looking to buy a drone, Undersheriff Larry Starkey said. The office is investigating different types to see which would best suit the department’s needs, Starkey said.

Last modified Oct. 11, 2023

 

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