Drones pose a danger to helicopters fighting wildfires

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Helicopters support firefighters on the ground. (Archive photo)

Photo: Provided by BC Wildfire Service/X (former Twitter)

Radio-Canada

Published yesterday at 9:12 p.m. UTC

The mayor of British Columbia’s Northern Rockies Regional Municipality says individuals operating drones are endangering helicopters used to fight wildfires near Fort Nelson.

In a video on Facebook, Rob Fraser says that the pilots of these helicopters are under enormous stress and cannot always watch out for drones flying overhead. He claims that these devices will make them crash.

Illegal use of drones

Using drones near a wildfire is illegal in British Columbia. These devices must respect a restricted zone which extends over a radius of 9 km around a fire and which cannot fly over it at an altitude lower than 915 meters.

Federal regulations establish a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $25,000 for those who use a drone in a fire zone.

The use of drones also contravenes section 56 of the provincial forest fire law on interference . It can carry a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of $100,000.

As a result, Mayor Rob Fraser threatens to sue most severely possible anyone who does not respect the law.

He added that those who decided to stay behind despite the evacuation order damaged protective pipes by driving over them with their vehicles and drove through areas of Fort Nelson at high speed, putting them at risk. the teams on the ground.

Rob Fraser says preliminary work has been undertaken to get Fort Nelson back up and running by focusing on essential businesses . He asks evacuees to be patient while the firefighting continues.

With information from The Canadian Press

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