A large military drone, commonly used for classified missions over the Middle East, was recently "activated" by the Department of Defense (DoD) to combat wildfires in California, read an Air Force press release.
"At the request of the National Interagency Fire Center and upon approval by the DoD, U.S. Northern Command activated the 432nd to provide Incident Awareness and Assessment support using the MQ-9 aircraft to aid civil authorities in California," the release stated.
The release continued, "This is the first time active-duty aircraft from the 432nd have supported in a Defense Support of Civil Authorities capacity."
The MQ-9's specialized optical sensors provided the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) with "real-time video to map fire perimeters and alert first responders of the spread and potential impact of the fires, proximity to infrastructure or buildings, and containment," the Air Force said.
Lt. Gen. Kirk Pierce, commander, First Air Force, Air Forces Northern, said, "The 432nd's 'near-real-time' support to CAL FIRE enhanced both agencies' ability to move limited resources quickly to protect lives, save property, and be postured for next day operations."
From Sept. 26 to Oct. 17, the MQ-9 conducted more than 120 hours, providing real-time data on the fire situation. The activation came as devastating wildfires scorched more than 4 million acres so far. The Utility Pacific Gas and Electric's (PG&E) meteorology team warned Friday that some of the strongest winds of the fire season could arrive in Northern California by Sunday.
PG&E said hundreds of thousands of customers might have their electricity shut off Sunday to avoid trees and branches from blowing into power lines and sparking accidental fires.
Besides monitoring wildfires, we noted the federal government used the MQ-9 to monitor social unrest in Minneapolis this past summer. The military drone was also seen flying above other parts of the US.
The proliferation of military drones flying above American skies should be very concerning as it merely suggests the country is diving deeper into a surveillance state.