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.

 

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

Just Posted

Sewage installation to delay drivers along Sooke Road until early September

Construction starts Monday, August 10 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Langford boy wakes up from surgery to find stuffed puppy wearing the same cast

Hospital staff outfitted ‘Eddy’ the puppy to match the young patient

VIDEO: Annual artist studio tour goes virtual on Saanich Peninsula

ArtSea converts popular event to online format with personalized artist videos

Local Flavour: Youth take the lead in Victoria’s Pollinator Leadership Team

Guest writer Thompson Hygge, summer intern with Pollinator Partnership Canada

Flyover at B.C. Leg to commemorate National Peacekeepers’ Day

August 9 marks biggest single day loss of Canadian lives from peace operations

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

NHL playoffs: Canucks to meet St. Louis Blues in Round 1

Vancouver takes on defending champs beginning Wednesday

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Missing teen visiting Courtenay found safe

She had last been seen going for a walk on Aug. 6

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

Most Read