Sparks Lake wildfire exceeds 40,000 hectares; warning issued about drone near Becker Lake wildfire

There could be deadly consequences if a remote-controlled aerial vehicle collides with firefighting aircraft

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      A B.C. wildfire that's 100 times the size of Vancouver's Stanley Park has grown larger today, due to a change in atmospheric conditions.

      The Sparks Lake wildfire is now 40,267 hectares, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service.

      The blaze near Kamloops was discovered on June 28. The Thompson-Nicola Regional District has issued evacuation orders for 170 properties and evacuation alerts for 704 properties.

      On July 2, the Skeetchestn Indian Band issued an evacuation order for its community.

      Meanwhile, the B.C. Wildfire Service has issued a warning about a drone observed near the Becker Lake wildfire, which is visible from Vernon.

      "If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft, the consequences could be deadly," it stated.

      Anyone caught operating a one of these remote powered aerial vehicles could be fined up to $100,000 and jailed for a year if it interferes with fire control.

      The wildfire at Lytton Creek is 8,800 hectares. After destroying 90 percent of Lytton on June 30, it's still classified as "out of control".

      These are three of 296 active fires across the province.

      The most recent one highlighted on the B.C. Wildfire Service Twitter feed is the Beavervale Creek fire 12.5 kilometres southeast of Castlegar. It's estimated to be about six hectares in size.

      Smoke from the fire is "highly visible" from Castlegar, Salmo, Trail, and surrounding communities.

      Yet another wildfire is burning near Flat Lake Park, which is 240 hectares in size. It can be seen from 100 Mile House, which is 28 kilometres to the northeast.