Drones Now Interfering With Forest Fire Crews

Kelowna — Fire suppression personnel have been forced to halt air operations on the Westside Road wildfire due to multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or ‘drones’ overhead the fire. A helicopter supporting ground crews and involved in water delivery has now been grounded.

All wildfires are considered to be “Flight Restricted” as per the Canadian Air Regulations. The area restricted is within a radius of five nautical miles around the fire and to an altitude of 3,000 ft above ground level. The operation of any aircraft not associated with suppression activities, including UAVs, within this area is illegal. The RCMP is currently working with the BC Wildfire Service in relation to this incident.

This aerial activity is dangerous, and poses a significant safety risk to personnel, especially when low-flying firefighting aircraft are present.

Transport Canada and the BC Wildfire Service explicitly prohibit the use of drones of any size near a wildfire.

In addition, an area restriction put in place for areas around this wildfire to protect the safety of firefighting personnel and the public remains in place. For a map of the restricted area, please click here: http://bit.ly/1IrFMIt

The Kamloops Fire Centre is urging extreme caution in the backcountry and asking everyone in the region to refrain from activities that may cause a wildfire. Currently the Fire Danger Rating throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre is “high” to “extreme”.

The BC Wildfire Service thanks the public for its ongoing support in reporting wildfires. To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 FREE toll-free or *5555 on a cell phone.

For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: http://www.bcwildfire.ca

You can also follow the latest wildfire news on:

-Twitter at http://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo
-Facebook at http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo

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