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Drone that interfered with helicopter bucketing in Okanagan Lake seized, charges pending

It’s a constant and seemingly simple ask during wildfire season.

Officials have pleaded with the public to keep drones far away from active wildfires and the aerial support that is tackling these fires from above.

Despite those consistent pleas, the message just hasn’t landed for some, and that led to action from conservation officers over the weekend.

<who>Photo Credit: BCCOS

According to the BC Conservation Officer Service, members spotted a drone interfering with a helicopter that was actively bucketing water from Okanagan Lake on Sunday.

Their job was to ensure these helicopters had plenty of room to work safely on the McDougall Creek wildfire in West Kelowna, but the drone was preventing them from doing that.

Conservation officers were able to identify the operator, which led to the drone being seized and pending charges against the individual.

The BCCOS says the maximum penalty is a fine of up to $100,000 and even potential jail time of up to one year.

“Interfering with firefighting operations is a public safety risk, to not only the crews involved but communities, as resources are diverted from fighting fires,” the BCCOS explained.

The matter remains under investigation and the BCCOS was unable to provide any further comment.



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