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Drone operators told to stay away from forest fires

MNRF concerned after incident in Fort Frances area
(Tbnewswatch file)

DRYDEN, Ont. —Forest fires are a No Drone Zone. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says drone operators must avoid flying the unmanned vehicles anywhere near a wildfire.

The warning was prompted by a recent incident in the Fort Frances area.

An MNRF spokesperson in Dryden said ground crews working on a fire spotted a drone flying over the blaze.

There were no firefighting aircraft assigned to the fire at the time.

The law prohibits flying a drone within nine kilometres of a forest fire. The ministry said drones can put the lives of pilots and firefighters at risk.

Federal law provides for a fine of up to $25,000, or jail time, for violators.

Forest fire season heats up slowly

The MNRF reported two new fires in the Northwest Region as of mid-afternoon on Tuesday.

The fires were all located in the ministry's Kenora district, and were 3.8 and one hectare in size.

Both were listed late as under control.

Fires are occurring in spite of a low or moderate fire hazard across most of the northwest.

On the weekend, there were eight fires in the region including in the districts of Thunder Bay, Fort Frances, Kenora and Dryden.

Just over the border in Manitoba, a more serious situation exists, with a 2,000-hectare human-caused fire continuing to burn out of control Tuesday in the province's southeast.

The MNRF said smoke from that fire could be expected to drift into the Kenora district.