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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Country Fest goes online for 2020

Two day festival will feature musical acts streaming live from the Albion Fairgrounds July 25-26

Ridge Meadows RCMP looking for two credit card scammers

Pair of women completed fraudulent transactions at seven locations in May

UPDATE: Free film for Ridge residents to mark Plastic Free July extended another week

The Story of Plastic can be viewed for free on any device until July 21

Maple Ridge considers weekend closures of the main drag

Vehicle traffic would make way for pedestrians and cyclists

Maple Ridge goaltender taking talents to Junior A squad in Saskatchewan

Eric Clark, 18, undefeated with North VanWolf Pack this season; graduated from SRT with straight As

21 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in B.C. as virus ‘silently circulates’ in broader community

Health officials urge British Columbians to enjoy summer safely as surge continues

Tough time for tree fruits as some B.C. farm products soar

Province reports record 2019 sales, largely due to cannabis

Abbotsford woman starts petition to have B.C. government help with IVF costs

Jennifer Kuiken says cost of in vitro fertilization is too high for most people

‘Let’s all do a self-check’: Okanagan mayor reacts to racist vandalism targeting local family

Home of Indo-Canadian family in Summerland was targeted on evening of July 13

Province agrees to multimillion-dollar payout for alleged victims of Kelowna social worker

Robert Riley Saunders is accused of misappropriating funds of children — often Indigenous — in his care

B.C. businessman David Sidoo gets 3 months behind bars for college admissions scam

Sidoo was sentenced for hiring someone take the SATs in place of his two sons

PHOTOS: Inside a newly-listed $22M mega-mansion on ALR land in B.C.

The large home, located on ALR land, is one of the last new mansions to legally be built on ALR land

COVID-19 gives B.C. First Nation rare chance to examine tourism’s impact on grizzly bears

With 40 infrared cameras deployed in Kitasoo-Xai’Xais territory, research will help develop tourism plan with least impact on bears

RCMP searching for culprit behind needle-filled lemons left on Coquitlam-area trails

The two lemons found were thrown away leaving police with little evidence

Most Read