Drones and UAVs

The operation of any aircraft not associated with fire suppression activities (including drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)) near a wildfire is illegal. It also poses a serious threat to the safety of firefighting personnel.

Transport Canada and the BC Wildfire Service explicitly prohibit the use of UAVs or drones of any size near a wildfire. All wildfires are considered to be automatically “flight restricted” according to the federal Canadian Aviation Regulations. The restricted area is within a radius of five nautical miles around the fire and to an altitude of 3,000 feet above ground level. The current maximum fine for an infraction is $25,000 and violators could spend up to 18 months in jail.

Learn more about the Transport Canada drone use regulations.

In Spring 2016, B.C.’s Wildfire Act was amended, and anyone found interfering with wildfire control efforts (including flying drones or UAVs) can face penalties up to $100,000 and/or up to one year in jail.

Download the BC Wildfire Service drone/UAV awareness poster (PDF)