Wilson's Mountain Road fire threatens the community of Oliver in the South Okanagan. It was 70 per cent contained by Monday.

Buttheads, drone dummy add to wildfire threat

Reports of video showing careless smoker starting Rock Creek fire not confirmed, drone costs fire service aircraft three hours

Forests Minister Steve Thomson called for public assistance Monday to identify those responsible for careless wildfire starts, or unauthorized intrusions into evacuation areas and restricted airspace.

The B.C. Wildfire Service had to ground eight helicopters and three fixed-wing aircraft for three hours while battling fires around Oliver Sunday, due to an unauthorized drone flying in the area.

Thomson was at Oliver airport when crews were called back from efforts to contain the Testalinden Creek and Wilson’s Mountain Road fires that threaten the community.

“You could really see the frustration of the pilots and our wildfire team,” Thomson said. “Ticked off would probably be too mild a term to talk about their reaction. It’s really something that is just not acceptable.”

Despite the interruption, the B.C. Wildfire Service estimated the Testalinden Creek fire south of Oliver to be 40 per cent contained, and the Wilson’s Mountain Road fire just north of Oliver was 70 per cent contained as of Monday.

Reports of a video showing a smoker igniting the volatile fire west of Rock Creek have not been confirmed, Thomson said. He asked for anyone with video or other evidence of careless smoking or hazardous activity to contact their local police or the B.C. Wildfire Service (1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on mobile).

The Rock Creek fire remained unconfined at about 3,750 hectares Monday, and has destroyed 30 homes. Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said the fire has not spread significantly since it was reported last week, but with hot days ahead that could change.

There were 44 new fires reported Sunday, making a total of 239 burning by Monday. There have been 292,000 hectares burned and $207 million spent so far this year, almost the same as this time last summer.

 

Just Posted

Find out what the tax increase will be in your area of the Tri-Port

The Gazette reached out to all three communities financial departments requesting numbers to crunch

Tree falls inches away from Port Hardy home

The tree narrowly missed the residence on Wolleson Street

Port Hardy firefighters to earn money for calls

Council has approved a Fire Department Remuneration policy

A memorial mural will be painted in Port Hardy

The mural will honour lives lost to substance abuse and mental health

VIDEO: North Island Local Hero Awards 2018

On the North Island, we are blessed with many different kinds of heroes.

Trans Mountain pipeline: How we got here

A look at the Kinder Morgan expansion, decades in the making

Federal leaders trade barbs about India trip at press gallery dinner

Justin Trudeau’s infamous trip to India earlier this year was the focus of many of the jabs

B.C. VIEWS: Our poverty reduction plan is already in place

NDP has another promise it needs to appear to keep

WestJet pilot strike averted as parties agree to mediation

Pilots had warned they could go on strike starting May 19

Out of control wildfire prompts restriction around Allie Lake

One of the first large wildfires of the 2018 season is blazing out of control

Passersby help rescue occupants of home as fire breaks out in Courtenay

Coffee run turns into fire rescue for pair of men

Giant beer tanks arrive in new B.C. home city

Molson Coors tanks finish river journey and move to overland trip in Chilliwack

Most Read