Wilson's Mountain Road fire threatens the community of Oliver in the South Okanagan. It was 70 per cent contained by Monday.

Buttheads, drone dummy add to wildfire threat

Reports of video showing careless smoker starting Rock Creek fire not confirmed, drone costs fire service aircraft three hours

Forests Minister Steve Thomson called for public assistance Monday to identify those responsible for careless wildfire starts, or unauthorized intrusions into evacuation areas and restricted airspace.

The B.C. Wildfire Service had to ground eight helicopters and three fixed-wing aircraft for three hours while battling fires around Oliver Sunday, due to an unauthorized drone flying in the area.

Thomson was at Oliver airport when crews were called back from efforts to contain the Testalinden Creek and Wilson’s Mountain Road fires that threaten the community.

“You could really see the frustration of the pilots and our wildfire team,” Thomson said. “Ticked off would probably be too mild a term to talk about their reaction. It’s really something that is just not acceptable.”

Despite the interruption, the B.C. Wildfire Service estimated the Testalinden Creek fire south of Oliver to be 40 per cent contained, and the Wilson’s Mountain Road fire just north of Oliver was 70 per cent contained as of Monday.

Reports of a video showing a smoker igniting the volatile fire west of Rock Creek have not been confirmed, Thomson said. He asked for anyone with video or other evidence of careless smoking or hazardous activity to contact their local police or the B.C. Wildfire Service (1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on mobile).

The Rock Creek fire remained unconfined at about 3,750 hectares Monday, and has destroyed 30 homes. Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said the fire has not spread significantly since it was reported last week, but with hot days ahead that could change.

There were 44 new fires reported Sunday, making a total of 239 burning by Monday. There have been 292,000 hectares burned and $207 million spent so far this year, almost the same as this time last summer.

 

Just Posted

Castlegar weekend forecast calls for wet snow, mild temperatures

Wet snow and unseasonably mild temperatures are in the forecast for Castlegar this weekend.

UPDATE: Body found in burnt-out car near Genelle

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

Castlegar mayor Lawrence Chernoff looking forward to progress in 2018

Columbia Avenue Redevelopment, community complex and progress on airport reliability top his list.

West Kootenay search and rescue groups host Avalanche Awareness Day

“If you want to survive in the backcountry, you’ve got to be self-sufficient.”

Castlegar Complex to offer Swim to Survive for families

Swim to Survive for Families will be offered for free on Family Day, Feb. 12.

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

New Denver emergency ward to remain 24/7

Interior Health says it’s postponing changes to operating hours.

Honouring our best during Minor Hockey Week

Team photos from our minor hockey association teams in Castlegar.

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

John ‘Chick’ Webster, believed to be oldest living former NHL player, dies

Webster died Thursday at his home in Mattawa, Ont., where he had resided since 1969

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Most Read