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

VALLEY SENIORS: A second chance comes with enough memories for two

The Dietrich family makes its mark on Abbeyfield House in Port Alberni

Inquest into death of Jocelyn George postponed due to COVID-19

Coroner’s inquest into 2016 death of Port Alberni woman was supposed to start July 6

Port Alberni’s Joe Hill celebrates 90th birthday with waves through a window

Retired accountant receives best wishes via Zoom, meets newborn great-grandchild

Alberni Golf Club reopens with new COVID-19 rules

J and L Mixed Scramble kicks off 2020 season

Help is available for Port Alberni businesses restarting after COVID-19 closures

Popular food truck finds a new location on Johnston Road

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Most Read