Man arrested and charged with flying drone at the Goodwin Fire

Herbert Rhodes
July 4, 2017

A 54-year-old Arizona man suspected of flying a drone that grounded firefighting efforts last week has been arrested.

Prescott National Forest has reduced the size of the Goodwin Fire Temporary Closure Area.

Fire crews are hoping to have the fire fully contained by the Fourth of July.

Federal Aviation Administration guidelines urge drone hobbyists to fly no higher than 400 feet, stay clear of stadiums and people, and avoid flying within five miles of airports.

On June 27, a third witness reported a man fitting Carpenter's description, again, standing next to a while van with a drone in the back of the vehicle, according to the sheriff's office news release.

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ENDANGERMENT per A.R.S. 13-1201.A - Carpenter recklessly endangered 14 aircraft/aircrews and associated ground fire crews with a substantial risk of imminent death or physical injury by flying an unmanned drone aircraft in closed airspace above an active fire area during the Goodwin Fire in Mayer Arizona.

Operations chief Rocky Gilbert said they had to halt all firefighting efforts for an hour on a blaze that still threatened many homes. He said 14 aircraft in the Goodwin Fire area, which included three DC-10 air tankers, five "heavy" air tankers, and five helicopters. For almost an hour, aircraft remained grounded.

Prior contact with Carpenter and photos found on his website showing drone views were used to identify him, authorities said.

An off-duty sheriff's deputy saw the suspect's van in Prescott on June 1.

The sheriff's office also indicated that they will be meeting with federal officials on Monday to discuss additional charges against Carpenter at the federal level.

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Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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