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Washington state increases use of drone fleet

The Washington Dept. of Natural Resources has a fleet of 12 drones, but that number could nearly double by the end of the year.

Once feared, Washington state agencies are now embracing drones.

The state’s fleet is growing.

The Department of Natural Resources uses 12 drones to monitor landslide risks and map state-owned forests.

By the end of the year, the department could have 20 drones flying above rivers and mountains across the state.

The state views the drones as a way money-saving, and safer way to observe and document the state’s natural resources.

Mapping forests used to take manned aircraft and foot crews hours.

Drones can do the same job in minutes.

"We're getting almost real-time information about our forests in a quick way, and it's very cost-effective,” said David Bergvall from the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

The Washington State Patrol uses unmanned aircraft to conduct crash and crime scene investigations.