Drones, waterbombers and restricted airspace during forest fires
Learn about the safety rules in the airspace around active forest fires and stay safe on Ontario’s waterways.
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To support the protection of public safety and other values, such as property and infrastructure, we manage and operate a number of:
- response centres
- fire management personnel
- various fixed wing aircraft and helicopters
Disrupting air traffic around forest fires is dangerous and illegal. This can cause delays in wildland fire suppression efforts and put the safety of firefighters, fire response personnel, the public, and other emergency service personnel at risk.
Drone or un-manned aerial vehicles (UAV) safety
Flying drones or UAV around forest fires is dangerous and illegal.
When you fly a drone near a forest fire, you can put the lives of pilots, firefighters and other emergency service personnel at risk.
The “no drone zone” is any area within nine kilometres of any forest fire.
Before you fly your drone, make sure you understand the rules and regulations.
Drone pilots must follow the rules in the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs). Visit Transport Canada’s drone safety site to learn about:
- drone safety
- legal requirements
Remember, you are the pilot of your drone. Be safe and stay clear of forest fires.
Waterbombers are used exclusively for suppressing wildland fires and can scoop 6,130 litres of water in 12 seconds.
If encroaching watercraft on a lake or river pose a safety hazard, waterbombers will not scoop. This can cause delays in effectively and efficiently suppressing a nearby wildland fire, which could put the safety of the public, firefighters, and other emergency service personnel at risk.
You can help fight forest fires by staying clear of waterbombers. When waterbombers approach a body of water, move close to the shore so they can perform their scoop safely and effectively.
Notice to Air Missions (NOTAMs)
Section 601.15 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) states that the airspace around forest fires is restricted to forest fire suppression aircraft only.
Pilots are reminded that Notice to Air Missions (NOTAMs) concerning forest fires can be found in the Flight Information Region (FIR) section when flight planning.
For information on all active Ontario forest fires visit Ontario.ca/forestfire.