Drone impacted firefighting efforts at Arrow Lake wildfire complex

Drone over wildfire

Someone using a drone near a wildfire has once again impacted efforts to combat the blaze.

The BC Wildfire Service stated a drone was spotted in the Arrow Lake wildfire complex airspace on Wednesday July 28.

The use of drones near a wildfire is illegal. All wildfires are automatically considered to be “flight restricted,” according to Canadian Aviation Regulations.

The restricted airspace includes a radius of five nautical miles around the fire, and to an altitude of 3,000 feet above ground level.

“The presence of drones near an active wildfire can slow down, or completely shut down, aerial firefighting efforts, due to safety concerns. If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft, the consequences could be deadly,” said a statement from the BCWS.

Anyone caught operating a drone that interferes with fire control could be fined up to $100,000, or jailed for up to one year, or both.

To report a drone or any aircraft illegally intruding into airspace over wildfires, please call the RCMP or report it through Crime Stoppers.

Earlier this month, a drone was spotted flying over the Becker Fire in Vernon, shutting down air operations for almost two hours.

Police are investigating the incident.

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