Weird Wrap: B.C. bans drones from wildfire sites

Helicopter drone filming video. Stock photo by Getty Images

Some stories go too far beyond weird, to downright frustrating and stupid. But we don’t do “Frustration Fridays” here, so…

It’s bad enough that humans started the massive forest fires raging through B.C., but now another breed of moron is actively hampering firefighting efforts.

Police in Kelowna are reminding drone hobbyists to keep their whirlybirds away from the forest fires raging in the region, because all the drone activity is actually hampering firefighting efforts.

Buzzing drones are a danger to firefighting helicopters, to the extent they’ve actually been grounded.

"We want to stress the fact that this is illegal," Fire Information Officer Melissa Klassen told the CBC. "Anytime you have an active wildfire, the airspace directly over the wildfire within the radius of five nautical miles is restricted."

See: Drones FAQ

The RCMP is investigating as the fires rage — having already destroyed some 560 hectares of forest and animal habitat. But hey, I bet we’ll get some neat YouTube drone videos, and that’s all that really matters.

Monument mounter released

The Toronto man who apparently got busy with the National War Memorial in Ottawa is out of jail with orders to stop drinking.

Maciej Andrej Szczypka appeared in court Tuesday after spending two days in jail for his illicit encounter over the weekend.

Witnesses said Szczypka mounted the statue around 11:30 p.m. Sunday while sporting a (probably very redundant) t-shirt reading “I need a drink.”

He’s been charged with mischief and is due back in court on August 27. In the meantime, he’s barred from drinking or possessing booze and cannot go near the memorial, the rare restraining order issued to protect a statue. However, in a town jam-packed with statues, we may not have heard the last of him.

Good Samaritan assaulted

No good deed goes unpunished, as they say, which a Barrie, Ont. woman discovered to her shock last week.

The 24-year-old was hiking on a trail when she saw a cyclist riding erratically, possibly suffering from heatstroke or sunstroke. He crashed into a bush and she ran over to help, when he got aggressive and made a grab for her. She was able to flee and called police.

A 26-year-old Barrie man is charged with sexual assault, and police are investigating whether he was intoxicated or suffering from a medical condition.

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