On March 12, 2019, President Trump signed U.S. S.47 - John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act into law. The bipartisan public lands bill included Sec. 1114 “Wildfire Technology Modernization” which promotes federal agencies to use drones in wildland fire management operations.
According to the law, the secretary of the Department of Interior will have 180 days (six months) to “establish a research, development, and testing program, or expand an applicable existing program, to assess unmanned aircraft system technologies, including optionally piloted aircraft, across the full range of wildland fire management operations in order to accelerate the deployment and integration of those technologies into the operations of the Secretaries.”
The law requires the Department of Interior, Federal Aviation Administration, State wildland firefighting agencies, and other relevant Federal agencies to work together to “develop consistent protocols and plans for the use on wildland fires of unmanned aircraft system technologies, including for the development of real-time maps of the location of wildland fires.”
This new law will help expand good uses of unmanned aircrafts and modernize other federal agencies. Other government agencies such as law enforcement and public safety officials have increasingly adopted the use of drones to assist in search and rescue missions and help in natural disaster recovery. Deploying multiple drones will help agencies track disasters while working faster and safer.
Read the entire bill here: Public Law No: 116-9