Air operations on the south side of a 250-hectare wildfire near Lytton were suspended Saturday due to a drone seen flying in the vicinity.
“Flying a drone within the air space of a wildfire is extremely dangerous and poses a significant safety risk to personnel,” said BC Wildfire Service information officer Madison Smith.
“If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly.”
Penalties for anyone caught operating a drone in the province’s wildfire territory are eligible for a $100,000 fine, one year in jail or both, Smith confirmed.
Transport Canada restricts the use of UAVs or drones of any size within a five-mile radius of wildfires.
There were 73 firefighters, nine helicopters and two pieces of heavy equipment deployed to the fire on Saturday.
The blaze, which sparked Wednesday, has charred one square kilometre of bush in Fraser Canyon and continues to rage on the east side of Highway 1.
Evacuation alerts issued by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and the Lytton First Nation, covering 18 properties south and east of Lytton, remain in effect.
The fire remains under investigation, but it is believed to be human-caused.
There has been a drone sighting in the vicinity of the George Road (K70904) wildfire. As a result, air operations on the south side of the fire have been halted. This activity is extremely dangerous and poses a significant safety risk to personnel. #Lytton #BCWildfire pic.twitter.com/JBVTfIpkAC
— BC Wildfire Service (@BCGovFireInfo) June 19, 2021
Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.