NWT RCMP has issued a public notice cautioning against the use of drones near areas of firefighting activity. It comes in response to concerns raised by the Government of the Northwest Territories about the potential hazards posed by drones in these zones.

Firefighting operations often necessitate low-altitude flights, which increases the risk of potential collisions with unauthorized drones. Such incidents can pose significant danger to firefighting personnel and impede firefighting efforts. The RCMP has made it clear that any drone activity in firefighting zones will be subject to investigation.

“The use of drones in firefighting areas will be investigated by the RCMP and fines range from $1000 for failing to comply with licensing and operating regulations to $3000 for putting people or aircraft at risk,” it said.

According to the Transport Canada and under the Canadian Aviation Regulations, drones must be operated under the following:

Below 90 m above the ground; at least 30 m away from vehicles, vessels, and the public (if your drone weighs more than 250 g up to 1 kg); at least 75 m away from vehicles, vessels, and the public (if your drone weighs more than 1 kg up to 35 kg); at least 5.5 km away from aerodromes (any airport, seaplane base, or areas where aircraft take-off and land); at least 1.8 km away from heliports or aerodromes used by helicopters only; outside of controlled or restricted airspace; at least 9 km away from a natural hazard or disaster area; away from areas where operation could interfere with firefighters, police or first responders; during the day and not in clouds or smoke; within your sight at all times; within 500 m of yourself or closer; must be clearly marked with your name, address and phone number.

The RCMP is urging all drone operators to strictly adhere to these regulations to ensure the safety of all individuals involved in firefighting operations.

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