Robert Irwin’s stunning drone picture of a bushfire in the far north of Queensland won a prestigious photography award this week, which sparked a discussion about whether this was taken legally

A spokeswoman for Australia Zoo said a discussion with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) confirmed that he had not broken any law when the photo was taken early last year

But the Aviation Administration has warned that anyone attempting to take a similar photo could end up in prison for up to two years

You must be able to see your drone at all times, it cannot be flown at night and it cannot be flown in clouds, fog or heavy rain

CASA also generally warns against flying a drone over an active emergency – such as a car accident, bush fire, or other natural disaster

A violation of the CASA rules can result in a drone pilot initially being fined 1$ 110 is used and points in his drone license are lost

If there is a legal matter and the drone user is convicted of a crime, the fine increases to over 11$ 000

If a drone poses a threat to other aircraft, the pilot could be forced to pay a fine of 26Pay $ 000 or spend up to two years in prison

Robert Irwin’s photo was taken in the Steve Irwin Nature Reserve on the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, an area treated as private property controlled by the Irwin family

Given the remoteness of the area and the fact that it is not public land, the emergency services would only respond to the fire if requested

The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that it was not asked to fight the fire, meaning that Mr Irwin’s drone had no way of interfering with any possible fire fighting operations

In a statement, QFES wrote: “Responsibility for the use of aircraft and drones in the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve rests with the landowner”

That means the photo was taken legally, as long as Mr. Irwin wasn’t breaking any other rules at the time

The big difference for Mr Irwin and other photographers who fly drones is the risk of compromising the fire-fighting process

Beginner or enthusiast, here are the instructions and laws you need to know before you fly in the sky

“CASA can confirm that we had a discussion with a representative from Australia Zoo about the picture,” said the zoo’s spokeswoman

“You are not allowed to fly your drone over or near an area that compromises public safety or where emergency operations are being conducted,” she said

“If it wasn’t declared an emergency zone by the local fire department, it would be a legal drone operation

“The [fire fighting] aircraft cannot be operated if there is a risk of collision with an unknown drone or a remote-controlled aircraft in the area”

But the spokeswoman said that most photographers probably had no way of knowing whether their drone would interfere with the fire fighting

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World News – AU – Why copying Robert Irwin’s drone photo could land you in jail

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-12/robert-irwin-photo-sparks-drone-use-warning/13148626