Drones causing Wildfire Service to ground firefighting aircraft

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The B.C. Wildfire service says there were two incidents of unauthorized drones being used near wildfire activities.

Friday, there were reports of two incidents of unauthorized use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones).

If a drone is spotted near a forest fire that crews are actively fighting, the B.C. Wildfire Service is forced to ground any nearby aircraft that are being used to fight the fire until the iron has left the area.

Crews saw some people getting ready to launch a drone near the Beatton Airport Road fire, burning 45 kilometres north of Fort St. John, but when they were approached, the people got in their vehicle and drove away.

Crews also received a report about a drone flying above the Alberta portion of the Siphon Creek fire, which B.C. crews are continuing to fight in a bid to relieve pressure on their Alberta counterparts.

Violating these rules can put the lives of aircrews and those on the ground in jeopardy.

If necessary, the BC Wildfire Service will work with police to locate drone operators violating these rules and suspend their operations.

Going into fire season, the public is reminded that Transport Canada and the BC Wildfire Service explicitly prohibit the use of drones of any size near a wildfire.

Many drones also require a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) for commercial use. For more information, check here.

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