Fire department deploys drone to find those using illegal fireworks
BAKERSFIELD, Calif (KBAK/KBFX) - Flying right in the middle of Independence Day celebrations, a new privacy concern is in the air.
The Bakersfield Fire Department is going above and beyond this year with drone technology to crack down on illegal fireworks.
The BFD is propelling a higher level of scrutiny over illegal fireworks, using a drone and 38 enforcement teams across the city.
"We're trying to respect people's privacy rights, and we're trying not to get the drone too close," said department spokesman John Frando.
"I know I wouldn't want someone flying a drone over in my backyard, so that's why we stick mainly to the main thoroughfares," said Ismael Vizcarra, a Bakersfield firefighter who flies the drone.
This is the second year the BFD is using drone surveillance on the Fourth of July. Last year, they issued approximately 50 citations for illegal fireworks.
The BFD warns illegal fireworks -- those that explode, spin, fly or leave the ground in any way -- are incredibly dangerous.
"Nobody knows where those fireworks are eventually going to come down. Oftentimes, they start roof fires, vegetation fires, tree fires, things like that," Frando said.