Eerie Aerial Footage Captures Skies From Fires in Oregon

The Chetco bar fire which is reported to currently be the largest, and has sadly already destroyed six homes and 20 minor structures near Brookings. Recently, a video from Shane Stiles Photography capturing dramatic smokey skies from the fire in Southern Oregon, has been drawing some negative attention. While there’s no arguing this stunning drone footage was awe-inspiring, it definitely does force us to ask some uncomfortable questions about flying drones around extremely dangerous forest fires.

Some feel the photographer has basically exploited the horrific fires we are currently dealing with in Oregon. KGW-TV, after posting the video live to their Facebook feed, received immediate backlash from followers.

Was it wrong for the photographer to shoot this video? I personally don’t see too much harm done here. Let us know how you feel in the comments.

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Sunset Lodgingl


  1. What’s so wrong? There is highly regulated airspace for fire suppression. There are layers upon layers of aircraft with specified altitudes and jobs that are vital to fire fighting efforts. Many of these aircraft can be very low flying for a multitude of reasons. The last thing they need to worry about is hitting some stupid drone because someone doesn’t understand how crowded the airspace is. Maybe this time it worked out ok, but what happens when some idiot flys a drone in the path of air attack, a tanker, a transport, repellers, IR crews, smoke jumpers or anyone else using that airspace to fight these things and kills someone?

    Ignorance is no excuse for putting that many lives on the line, not to mention the time and resources a downed aircraft would take away from fire suppression efforts. That’s what’s wrong with it.

    • Ignorance??? Not understanding how crowded the air space is???
      Perhaps one should do some homework before chiming in. Have you ever flown one? Are you an expert on radio controlled UAVs? Do some homework before you jump to a conclusion. It is very obvious in the video that the drone is no where CLOSE to the controlled airspace those aircraft will be operating in. That drone was at least 20 miles away, and probably more like 40! Do you really think that fire fighting aircraft will be operating at about 100 to 200 ft. elevation that far away from the fire? The drone photographer was well within the “logical, common sense” safe area.

      People that merely become educated enough to judge, simply by what they learn from the so-called “news media” rub me the wrong way. I have been involved with radio controlled aircraft since 1973. UAV operators are probably the most responsible type people you will ever meet. Like any activity, there are always a few “idiots” and inexperienced children that received a UAV for Christmas, with parents that didn’t want to take any responsibility for the ignorance of the inherent dangers. But don’t judge just on what you DON’T know!
      Thank you

      • That’s exactly what I was saying in my post Robert. I too fly drones and know for a fact he was so far from fire and we’ll under the altitude restrictions. But people are uneducated about this new technology with drones, they just know what media tells them about the hobby. And all drones are, are modified remote controlled planes or choppers that have been around for years.

  2. There is nothino wrong with this video, cant you tell how far he is from fire? They are great shots with the fire in the “BACKGROUND” If he was close I could see it as bad idea, but gees he’s so far from fire. Lighten up, there’s more to worry about.