Drones reminded to not fly over Port Hardy wildfire

BC Wildfire Service/Twitter
An aerial view of the Glenlion River wildfire.

As crews work on containing the wildfire visible from Port Hardy, there is another difficulty they are needing to manage: drones.

If there are drones reported in the area, then aerial firefighting efforts either have to slow down or stop altogether for the safety of crews, according to Sam Bellion, fire information officer with the Coastal Fire Centre.

“Transport Canada and BC Wildfire Service explicitly prohibit the use of UAVs and drones of any size near a wildfire,” Bellion said. “And with plans for air tankers and helicopters to return today, we really need the public’s cooperation on that one.”

The Glenlion River wildfire, just outside of Port Hardy, is visible from the district, and Bellion says residents will see smoke associated with the out-of-control fire.

Mike McCully, response officer with BC Wildfire Service, says the wind is a factor that crews are needing to deal with.

“Based on the fact that it was fairly windy here yesterday in Port Hardy, and as you know, we’re in a really deep drought, we’ve been seeing that all through the spring,” McCully said. “I knew pretty quickly that we would need air tanker support, we asked for that and we received it very quickly.”

Three air tankers, four skimmers, and a helicopter helped fight the fire with aerial resources.

“If we can catch this fire early…and keep it to its size within the first 24-hour period, then we’re keeping one more large fire off the landscapes,” McCully said.

The wildfire is currently estimated to be 3.43 hectares in size.

There are no structures threatened in the wildfire, according to Bellion.

Pat Corbett-Labatt, mayor of Port Hardy, says she is grateful for the quick response.

“There was a bit of wind today but it’s pushing it away from town,” Corbett-Labatt said. “I know it’s still out of control, but they’re on top of it and we’re so thankful.”

Bellion is asking the public to be mindful of the wildfire risk on Vancouver Island and to be careful to not spark new wildfires.

If you see a wildfire or an unattended wildfire, you are asked to call the reporting line at 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on a cell.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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