B.C. fires: West Kelowna firefighters' efforts interfered with by drones

Wildfire officials say their efforts to fight a fire near West Kelowna, B.C. have been hampered because of drones flying over the area.

Fire information officers say multiple drones have been spotted in the wildfire area

Fire information officers say flying a drone near a wildfire contravenes Canadian air regulations. (Supplied photo)

Wildfire officials say their efforts to fight a fire near West Kelowna, B.C. have been hampered because of drones flying over the area.

B.C. Wildfire Service says one of its helicopters has been grounded due to unmanned aerial vehicles flying close to the 560-hectare wildfire

"We want to stress the fact that this is illegal," said Fire Information Officer Melissa Klassen.

"Anytime you have an active wildfire, the airspace directly over the wildfire within the radius of five nautical miles is restricted."

Klassen said flying drones over a wildfire poses a significant safety risk to firefighting crews.

She said wildfire officials are working with the RCMP regarding the incident. 

More lightning, wildfires to come

There were 129 wildfires burning in B.C. as of Saturday afternoon, 85 of which were started by lightning.

A wildfire near West Kelowna, B.C. as seen on July 22. (Kirk Williams / CBC)

According to Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek, more lightning is on its way.

Skrepnek said crews are on alert for another period of storms hitting the southern interior this weekend.

Two weeks ago, lightning and thunder swept across the southern and eastern sections of the province. That activity started more than 100 fires in a day.

Skrepnek said he hopes the next round of lightning isn't so powerful.

With files from Stephanie Mercier

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