Wildfire air operations in Oliver area halted by drone

Image Credit: Contributed/Drew Desharnais Photography

OLIVER – Helicopters and an air tanker fighting the Testalinden Creek fire near Oliver were grounded today because someone was illegally flying a drone in the area.

B.C. Wildfire says drones are a safety risk for the pilots, and should the an aircraft crash, the personnel on the ground.

“Our aircraft will return to the fire once we can confirm the drone has been grounded and we can safely operate,” B.C. Wildfire says in a post on Facebook, Aug. 16, hoping someone will see the drone operator and call the RCMP.

The over 1,500 hectare Testalinden Creek wildfire is burning about seven kilometres south of Oliver and is not contained at all.

This is the second time this summer B.C. Wildfire air operations have been suspended in the Okanagan because of a drone.

Back on Aug. 1, several people flying drones over the Westside Road fire forced a temporary halt to air operations.

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.

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.


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