Wilson's Mountain Road fire threatens farms and homes in Oliver

Fines increasing for forest fire violations

Fine for ignoring fire bans or interfering with forest firefighting efforts will be tripled, but vehicle seizures off the table

The pilot of a recreational drone that forced water-bombers from smoke-filled skies around Oliver last summer was never located, but future offenders who impede forest firefighters will face higher fines.

Fines for 19 offences under the Wildfire Act, including interfering with wildfire protection efforts, are being increased to among the highest in Canada, Forests Minister Steve Thomson said Thursday.

The fine for failing to comply with fire restrictions such as campfire bans will increase from $345 to $1,150. A new penalty of failing to comply with a stop-work order made because of fire risk will carry a maximum penalty of $100,000 and one year in prison.

Thomson said there are “constitutional” issues with a proposal to seize vehicles from people who toss cigarette butts out the window while driving, but the province is still considering its options.

A proposal to ban people from B.C. parks if they violate campfire restrictions is also being considered, but is not included in the current changes.

Thomson said the legislation will redefine “interference” with firefighters so it doesn’t mean intentional interference. That would apply to boaters who blocked air tankers from filling with water on Okanagan Lake, as well as the drone pilot who caused aircraft to land as vineyards, homes and a school around Oliver were threatened by fire.

Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes the battle against two fires threatening the community last August were likely due to a recreational drone flown because “somebody just wanted a closer look.

“It was very hard to drive by the airport and see helicopters quiet on the ground, no bombers in the air, all the while people were clinging to the hope that the fire wouldn’t reach their homes, their businesses,” Hovanes said.


Just Posted

Sunshine Valley songbird releases EP

Fifteen-year-old Ashley Pater has been singing and performing since age 9

Rescue boat theft marks third in 3 years for Agassiz-based SAR team

Eight-metre Spirit of Harrison rescue vessel was stolen Friday night, found Saturday morning

Hope stylist holds hair-athon for a good cause

Shayla Ross donating all proceeds of $10 cuts to the food bank

Hope arena turns green for hockey tourney

A second attempt at green ice, with proper ice paint, after food colouring experiment last year

Project Hope celebrates first birthday

Also: lego-mania comes to town, lineup of all-female comedians entertains Friday

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Canucks snap scoreless streak but fall short in 5-3 loss to Sharks

Swiss forward Timo Meier nets two, including the game-winner, to lead San Jose

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

Canadian research vessel to explore 19th Century shipwrecks

Commissioned this week in Victoria, the RV David Thompson is Parks Canada’s newest vessel

UPDATED: ‘New wave’ of anti-pipeline protests return to Trans Mountain facility

About 100 demonstrators with Protect the Inlet marched to the Burnaby terminal Saturday

Most Read