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Personal drone flown ‘dangerously’ close to air crew helping Naramata fire

BC Wildfire Service reminds public that drones are strictly prohibited near wildfires
Con Air air tankers did an amazing job putting out the 1.5 hectare blaze that sparked near Naramata on Friday, July 21. Unfortunately, their efforts were hampered by a drone. (Monique Tamminga Western News)

BC Wildfire said their efforts to fight the fire east of Naramata were hindered by a drone on Friday afternoon, July 21.

“A personal drone was used in dangerous proximity to a crew and helicopter responding to an incident in the Penticton Fire Zone. Transport Canada and the BC Wildfire Service explicitly prohibit the use of drones of any size near a wildfire,” said a tweet from BC Wildfire.

“If you are in the sky we can’t fly,” is one of BC Wildfire’s slogans.

The blaze, believed to be human-caused, sparked around 3:20 p.m. east of Naramata, growing quickly to 1.5 hectares in size and was visible across Okanagan Lake in Summerland.

Air tankers put down fire retardant on it first and then dumped water for over an hour, bringing the blaze under control by 5:45 p.m. that day.

BC Wildfire Service crews were joined by members from the Naramata Volunteer Fire Department in attacking the blaze.

READ MORE: Naramata fire put out by air tankers

Around that same time, air tankers were busy on four other fires that erupted on Friday. All but one have been put out.

READ MORE: Five wildfires spark near Penticton

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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