Police continue investigation into Mount Gambier fire
Police are continuing their investigation into a fire at Mount Gambier, with a warning to drone operators about the dangers of flying their drones near fire areas.
The fire was reported off Haig Drive, Mount Gambier just before 2.30 am on Tuesday 25 January and is expected to smoulder for another week.
During the fire, a member of the public chose to fly a drone in the vicinity of the fire. This resulted in air support having to be grounded for over 30 minutes, which hampered firefighting efforts.
The fire has been contained and controlled, but police are reminding members of the public to stay away from the area.
A furious SAPOL Inspector Karmen Conway, acting officer in charge of the Limestone Coast Local Service Area, said the act of flying a drone over a fire ground is not only reckless but selfish.
Those with drones are reminded that there are strict rules when flying drones and these are legislated under Commonwealth Law. Critically, in this instance, there was a 5nm (9.2km) exclusion zone for all unauthorised aircraft around the fire grounds.
The rules around the flying of drones can be found here: www.casa.gov.au/drones/rules
The cause of the fire is still being investigated but has been determined to be suspicious.
“We thank the community for providing SAPOL information in regards to concerns relative to the use of the drone," Inspector Conway said.
"All leads provided thus far have been investigated and at this time the investigation is ongoing”.
Any information can be provided anonymously through Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or by ringing your nearest police station.