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

‘Norovirus-like’ outbreak interrupts Bantam hockey showcase in Greater Victoria

Several athletes were sent home, quarantined on the ferry

Expect rolling street closures, bus delays as truck convoy moves through region Saturday

The annual Truck Light Convoy will roll through the region starting at 5:45 p.m.

UPDATED: 64-year-old Victoria man David Atkins found

Atkins was found by Sooke RCMP on Saturday morning

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

B.C.-born hockey official talks to IIHF about switching European rule book to NHL rules

Rob Shick will represent NHL at 4th World Hockey Forum in Russia

Miller nets winner as Canucks edge Sabres 6-5 in OT

Roussel, Leivo tally two apiece for Vancouver

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

Most Read