Crews have been forced to halt air operations on a wildfire burning near West Kelowna due to multiple drones flying overhead.
The B.C. Wildfire Service says a helicopter supporting ground crews and involved in water delivery in the Westside Road fire has now been grounded.
The service says all wildfires are flight-restricted under the Canadian Air Regulations and the operation of any aircraft not related to fire suppression efforts is illegal.
The bulletin says “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.”
It says drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, pose a significant safety risk to crews, especially when low-flying firefighting aircraft are present.
The RCMP is working with the service in relation to the incident.
The fire danger rating throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre is high to extreme and officials are urging everyone to use caution in the backcountry.