August 3, 2017

B.C. Smoke Hampers Aviation


Commercial flights have been cancelled and general aviation hampered by flight restrictions and a thick blanket of smoke over much of B.C.

A massive ridge of high pressure has anchored off the coast of B.C. and would normally provide ideal summer flying conditions.

But the hot, dry weather is also ideal for forest fires and more than 100 fires, some covering hundreds of square kilometres, have filled the stagnant air with smoke.

There are also numerous temporary flight restrictions closing large swaths of low-level airspace.

Hardest hit so far has been the Kamloops area, where Air Canada cancelled several flights earlier this week. A fire about 30 km northeast of the city, near Monte Lake, also put a TFR in one of the approaches to Kamloops Airport (YKA).

Airport Manager Fred Legace said operations have been hindered on at least three days in the past couple of weeks and it’s playing havoc with schedules.

“I would rather take a winter storm any day,” he told Kamloops This Week.