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Like herding cattle : Crews struggle to keep boaters away from wildfire, B.C. water bomber forced to abort refill

Like herding cattle : Crews struggle to keep boaters away from wildfire, B.C. water bomber forced to abort refill
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On Wednesday, station leader Ron Sutherland said water bombers had to abort at least one flight to refill their pontoons because boats were in the way.

Its like herding cattle. If youve tried to herd cattle, its very hard, Sutherland told CTV News. People just seem to want to get in the way and get a better view. Its just not good. Its just getting in the way.

Crews were eventually able to clear the space.

The RCMP boat was there as well, they stopped a couple of boats, we got a couple of boats and finally got them moved back and the next fly by, (the water bombers) finally got to fill up their pontoons, he said.

Under B.C.s Wildfire Act, a boater getting in the way of firefighting aircraft could face a violation ticket fine of $1,150 or an administrative penalty of up to $100,000. The person could also be charged with an offence under the Wildfire Act, which carries a maximum fine of $100,000.

Sutherland says his organization is run by volunteers and does not have the power to issue fines, but RCMP officers do. He also adds that, so far, boaters have moved on after being told once.

The fire threatening Sicamous started after a van hit a hydro pole, knocking it over and causing power lines to spark in dry grass for 100 metres in either direction, .

It happened just before 11 a.m. Tuesday, and by evening the blaze had forced a thousand people to flee their homes and left most of the rest of the residents on evacuation alert.
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