FCC Fines Amateur Radio Operator for Interfering with Fire Suppression Communications

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a record fine against an amateur radio operator for interfering with radio communications supporting fire suppression efforts in a 2021 massive wildfire in an Idaho national forest.

According to a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) for Forfeiture, Jason M. Frawley of Lewiston, Idaho used his amateur hand-held radio to intentionally interfere with radio communications directing fire suppression aircraft that were combatting the “Johnson Fire,” a 1000-acre wildfire near Elk River, Idaho. Frawley allegedly transmitted multiple times over two separate days on frequencies expressly allocated and authorized for government use, causing harmful interference with essential emergency communications.

The FCC has proposed a monetary forfeiture of $34,000, the maximum fine allowable in such cases. Frawley will be given an opportunity to respond to the FCC’s NAL before a final Commission action is determined.

Read the complete text of the FCC’s Notice of Apparent Liability in this case.

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