New legislation is on the way to deal with the use of drones in BC Wildfire zones.
Aerial firefighting operations had to be suspended on two separate occasions this summer when UAV’s violated airspace near BC wildfires.
Prince George Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris says firefighters depend on air support when fighting a blaze
“They are in life and death situations as it is,” he said.
“The possibility that a particular firefighting aircraft is prevented from doing something, that could risk the lives of the men and women we have on the ground is very serious.”
This is coming off the heels of two incidents this summer where aerial firefighting efforts had to be halted at two separate wildfires due to drones in the airspace.
New legislative amendments and clarifications of the BC Wildfire Act will be introduced in the spring that will apply to the operation of drones.
The province will also be asking Ottawa to regulate the use of drones and implement a registration system.
Morris says that the province is also launching a public awareness campaign and will be connecting with retailers to get the message out.
“We need to ensure that anyone that buys a drone from your toy shop, hobby shop or more sophisticated places, that they are aware of what their responsibilities are when they purchase a UAV.”
Morris added that penalties for boaters that interfere with firefighting aircraft trying to collect water will also be re-examined.
(Files from MY PRINCE GEORGE NOW)