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From the You've-got-to-be-kidding-me-files: Drone shuts down air-based fire fighting effort

Castlegar Source
By Castlegar Source
July 28th, 2021

 BC Wildfire Service staff have been impacted by the use of a drone in the Arrow Lake wildfire complex airspace on Wednesday July 28, 2021, due to people operating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or “drones”) above the fires.

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. 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. Please assist us keeping our aircraft flying and our pilots safe.

For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air-quality advisories, visit: Follow the latest wildfire news: • Twitter at: • Facebook at:

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