Canada Smoke at Kamloops airport disrupting flights

03:51  11 july  2017
03:51  11 july  2017 Source:   Vancouver Sun

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Smoke from wildfires caused delays and a handful of cancellations at Kamloops airport Monday afternoon. “There are a number that have circled,” the airport ’s managing director, Fred Legace said. “One has gone back to Vancouver, a couple may have to go back to Calgary and then try again.

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Smoke from wildfires caused delays and a handful of cancellations at Kamloops airport Monday afternoon.

Smoke from wildfires caused delays and a handful of cancellations at Kamloops airport Monday afternoon.

“There are a number that have circled,” the airport’s managing director, Fred Legace said. “One has gone back to Vancouver, a couple may have to go back to Calgary and then try again.

“The valley is really charged with smoke.”

Legace compared the situation to heavy fog, which is typically an issue just one or two days a year.

Wind is the only thing which will properly clear the air, but that would probably be bad for the fires, he pointed out.

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Both the B.C. Wildfire Service and the Canadian Forces would like to base aircraft in Kamloops, he said, but like every other operator, they won’t be able to get in until the smoke has cleared.

The situation isn’t all bad, as “it’s given us a day to plan.”

Legace and his staff are using lessons from the 2003 fire season in setting a plan to accommodate as many aircraft and personnel as possible in coming days, when they assume they could be pushed to the limit. “All of it is quite deliberate,” he said of the planning process.

Typically the airport has about 13 or 14 flights per day and he didn’t see any issue with adding in aircraft fighting fires.

 “We’ll close down some areas — to park aircraft on taxiways or helicopters on the infield — it could get very tight.”

pjohnston@postmedia.com

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