BOISE, Idaho (AP) – The Federal Communications Commissions have imposed a $ 34,000 fine on an Idaho man who, according to the agency, interfered with firefighters’ radio communications during a wildfire last year when he warned them of dangers in the area. region.
The FCC said alleged interference occurred while the U.S. Forest Service and the Idaho Department of State were fighting a wildfire near the small north-central Idaho town of Elk River.
The agencies used the radios to direct firefighting planes when someone identifying himself as “comm tech” made eight unauthorized broadcasts on government radio frequencies and told teams of dangers near a runway in the region, the FCC said .
Jason Frawley, a HAM radio operator and broadband service provider in the region with equipment at the landing strip, later told officials he was trying to help the firefighting teams by giving them details about conditions in the area.
Yet the FCC said that regardless of the intent, the violations were “willful.”
“Interfering with authorized radio communications – and in particular public safety communications – is a serious violation of the law and could endanger lives and property,” the agency said in a statement released Wednesday.
Frawley will have the opportunity to respond to the FCC’s proposal and allegations before the fine becomes final, the FCC said.
Frawley told The Associated Press he could not immediately comment on the case.