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Drones flying over Westside Road wildfire halt air operations

Helicopters working the Westside Road wildfire have been grounded because people have been flying drones in the area.
August 01, 2015 - 1:00 PM

WEST KELOWNA – Several people have been flying drones over the Westside Road wildfire today, forcing B.C. Wildfire to stop flying helicopters, which are supporting firefighters on the ground.

The RCMP have been called in to investigate.

Fire information officer Melissa Klassen says the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have been flying in the Flight Restricted area in and around the Shelter Cove area fire.

It’s dangerous to fly drones in the area of a wildfire because is creates a “significant safety risk” to personnel, especially when low-flying aircraft are working a fire, Klassen says in a media release.

“The area restricted is within a radius of five nautical miles around the fire and to an altitude of 3,000 feet above ground level,” Klassen says in the release. “The operation of any aircraft not associated with suppression activities, including UAVs, within this area is illegal.”

Both Transport Canada and B.C. Wildfire prohibit the use of drones near a wildfire of any size.

For more information about the regulations surrounding drones check out the Transport Canada website.

The fire danger rating throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre is high to extreme and officials are urging everyone to use caution in the backcountry.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Howard Alexander at halexander@infonews.ca. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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