Charlton Evans shared this news with us:
Coming from the Department of the Interior, "As part of a broader UAS strategy, the U.S. Department of the Interior has awarded a Call When Needed contract to four U.S. companies for small-unmanned aircraft systems services. The contract, which is Interior’s first of its kind, will allow the agency to obtain fully contractor-operated and maintained small drones that are ready when needed to support wildland fire operations, search and rescue, emergency management and other resource missions in the Contiguous 48 States and Alaska."
The just-published press release is available here: Interior Awards First Contract for Small UAS Services.
Out-of-sight operations is good news. This maximizes the capabilities of the technology. In a wildland fire situation, they control the airspace, so safety can be assured.