/ Modified jul 3, 2017 12:17 p.m.

Man Suspected of Grounding Wildfire Operations With Drone Arrested

Prescott man accused of interfering with airborne firefighters at the Goodwin Fire.

Fire drone wildfire hero A drone flying near a wildfire. (PHOTO: Courtesy Bureau of Land Management)

An Arizona man accused of flying a drone over a major wildfire near Prescott has been arrested.

Authorities say he interrupted firefighting efforts on a blaze, known as the Goodwin Fire, that has forced thousands of people from their homes.

The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office said Gene Alan Carpenter was operating an unmanned aircraft.

Police said they tracked Carpenter down after spotting a man near a white van in the area flying the drone on June 24, within hours of the fire being reported, and throughout the past week.

Police said the drone on Wednesday circled an official firefighting plane, posing a threat that grounded 14 aircraft, including helicopters and air tankers.

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