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

Coffee with a Cop returns to Penticton Dec. 19

Local RCMP officers will be on hand to chat and answer questions from the community

Funding changes mean closure for Success By 6

B.C. making major changes to early childhood development funding

Changes coming soon to Victory Church

The nuisance property is under new ownership, to become commercial space

Big air and big dreams on the mountain at Apex this weekend

Apex Mountain is the site of this weekend’s Canada Cup FIS Series Canadian Selections event.

TGIF: Penticton and South Okanagan events listings

Live theatre, concerts, events, art exhibits and more from around the South Okanagan

Tommy Chong says Canada took wrong approach to pot legalization

He also talked about the likelihood of another Cheech and Chong film

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Final phase of Kelowna hospital cardiac centre completed

Finishing new recovery rooms last stage of $381 million project

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Kamloops grandparents ‘taking it easy’ after lotto win

The winning $1 million ticket was purchased Orchard Park Shopping Centre in Kelowna.

Mike Duffy can’t sue Senate over suspension without pay, judge rules

Duffy’s lawsuit sought more than $7.8 million from the upper chamber

Language on Sikh extremism in report will be reviewed, Goodale says

A public-safety ministry document indicats terrorist threats to Canada included a section on Sikh extremism for the first time

Questions raised over retailers who shame shoplifters with photos

Alleged theft from a sex shop in Newfoundland led to posts on social media

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Most Read