Boaters blocking air tankers fighting B.C. wildfires, says official

Boaters blocking air tankers fighting B.C. wildfires, says official

12 July 2017

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Canada –  Boaters on at least three B.C. lakes are interfering with the firefighting activities of air tankers and water bombers, according to one official.

Al Richmond, the chair of the Cariboo Regional District, says there have been several reports of boaters, wind surfers and kayakers preventing the air tankers from landing to fill up with water.

The affected aircraft have been using Horse, Watson and Lac la Hache lakes to fight the South Cariboo wildfire near 100 Mile House, he said.

“It just takes one person and the aircraft can’t safely come down,” he said.

That’s why he is asking everyone to stay off the lakes being used by the air tankers or stick to the shorelines if they must be on the water.

The RCMP could start issuing fines or even start confiscating boats if the trouble continues, he said, but he’d prefer if they did not have to.

“We could be using them to do more important things than trying to deal with the silliness going on out there and people’s lack of consideration for the firefighting.”

He blamed the behaviour of the offending boaters on a lack of awareness and understanding of the needs of the aircraft.

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