A drone flying over a wildfire near Nakusp suspended firefighting air operations Sunday. Photo: James MacDonald/Bloomberg

A drone flying over a wildfire near Nakusp suspended firefighting air operations Sunday. Photo: James MacDonald/Bloomberg

Drone halts firefighting near Nakusp

The drone also forced other firefighting aircraft to divert from the area

RCMP are looking for the pilot of a drone that forced the suspension of air operations above a wildfire near Nakusp on Sunday.

The drone grounded one helicopter supporting ground crews at the Wilson Creek fire, which is about 19 kilometres east of Nakusp, according to a statement from the BC Wildfire Service.

Other aircraft working on fires in the area also had to be moved off their flight paths to avoid the Little Wilson Lake airspace.

Flying drones within a radius of five nautical miles or an altitude of 3,000 feet above a wildfire is illegal. Federal penalties include fines of up to $25,000 or imprisonment for up to 18 months.

There are also further penalties under the provincial Wildfire Act, which can include a ticket fine of $1,150, a further fine of up to $100,000 if there is a conviction and imprisonment of over a year.