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Drone creates hazard for BC Wildfire Service aircraft near Nakusp

The Southeast Fire Centre is reminding the public that flying drones near a wildfire is illegal and very dangerous. This after BC Wildfire Service staff were forced to temporarily halt air operations on the Wilson Creek wildfire this past Sunday. A helicopter was grounded and additional aircraft working on other fires had to be diverted from their flight paths to avoid the airspace around Little Wilson Lake area, which is about 19 kilometres east of Nakusp.

Drones cannot be within a radius of five nautical miles around a wildfire, and to an altitude of 3,000 feet above ground level. Their presence can slow down, or completely shut down, aerial firefighting efforts, because of safety concerns. If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft, the consequences could be deadly.

The RCMP is working with the BC Wildfire Service to investigate the incident.

There are provincial and federal penalties for anyone caught flying a drone near a wildfire including a $25,000 fine and up to 18 months jail time.

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