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Salmon Arm boy’s birthday flight cancelled due to Kelowna wildfires

Wildfires in Kelowna, West Kelowna, and Lake Country have forced the closure of airspace
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Thick wildfire smoke can be seen from Highway 97 near Vernon. (Contributed)

A young boy’s excitement over a special birthday trip was quickly dashed Friday morning.

Justine Holgesen and her son woke up early Aug. 18 to drive from their Salmon Arm home to catch a flight.

“I was trying to take my son to see his grandparents in Toronto for his seventh birthday,” said Holgesen.

As she drove up Highway 97, seeing thick smoke coming from Kelowna, she didn’t have a good feeling.

Arriving at Kelowna International Airport (YLW), her gut feeling was confirmed. All flights were cancelled.

Wildfires in Kelowna, West Kelowna, and Lake Country have forced the closure of airspace around YLW.

“The priority is the safety of our community and to allow access to the airspace required by aerial firefighters,” said Cassie Brannagan, communications advisor. “We appreciate travellers’ patience with this evolving situation. “Travellers are asked to check with their airline for the most up-to-date flight information before coming to the airport.”

Holgesen was heartbroken for her son.

“He was so dissappointed. He had been looking forward to this trip to see his Nana and Papa for weeks.”

She’s hoping to catch a flight out of Kamloops to make the special trip possible.

READ MORE: 4 wildfires now spreading in Lake Country

READ MORE: Okanagan wildfires: What you need to know for Aug. 18


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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

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