A drone belonging to Okanagan news website Castanet.net was stopped by fire officials on Sunday, after the operator tried to get closer to a wildfire near Peachland, B.C.
Fire information officer Kayla Pepper says the technology can be dangerous.
“If a drone was flying in the area and came into contact with our helicopters, that could be potentially fatal, and it can distract crews on the ground with the complex situations they are dealing with,’ said Pepper.
“For a number of reasons these devices are prohibited…it’s not just wildfire management policy but also the policy of Transport Canada.”
Castanet News Editor, Trevor Rockcliff was flying the drone and said he only had it in the air for a minute or two, before he brought down the drone, saying he thought he was in the clear, since no helicopters were in the air.
“I said, ‘The helicopter was done for the night’, he said ‘Yes, but we still have a no fly zone’…and I said ‘Okay’, and then I brought it down,” said Rockcliff.
Rockcliff says the technology is new, and so are the rules, but insists it is the last time he will fly his drone near wildfires.
The use of drones is controlled by Transport Canada, which issues Special Flight Operating Certificates for approved operations.
The number of drone permits issued in B.C. annually has risen from just six in 2007 to 178 in 2013.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com