SANTA PAULA (CBSLA) – If you want to fly your drone, do it somewhere else.

That was the message from Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub after he told reporters Friday several drones were seen flying around the Maria Fire and hampering firefighting efforts.

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The unmanned aerial vehicles were seen Thursday night into Friday morning in the skies above Santa Paula, making for a “very significant hazard” for firefighting aircraft, Ayub said.

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“I encourage in the strongest terms anyone interested in doing that to not do so,” he said. “It’s illegal and it creates a very dangerous environment and hampers our firefighting efforts.”

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The FAA has repeatedly warned drone operators to not fly near wildfires or risk facing steep fines of up to $20,000 per violation.