Photo submitted. The Williams Lake Airport has been closed to all non-fire suppression aircraft since wildfires broke out in the Cariboo Fire Centre July 7. Airport manager Shea de la Mare hopes it can re-open early next week to regular travel he said Friday.

Photo submitted. The Williams Lake Airport has been closed to all non-fire suppression aircraft since wildfires broke out in the Cariboo Fire Centre July 7. Airport manager Shea de la Mare hopes it can re-open early next week to regular travel he said Friday.

Airport hopes to re-open early next week for regular travel

While the Williams Lake Airport has been closed to regular travel since Friday July 7 airport manager Shea de La Mare hopes it can re-open early next week.

While the Williams Lake Airport has been closed to regular travel since Friday July 7 airport manager Shea de La Mare hopes it can re-open early next week.

“We are in conversation with the province to open it possibly on Monday,” de La Mare said from the airport Friday. “The airport has been fully manned since the wildfires began two weeks ago, but the province closed the airspace to anything but fire suppression efforts immediately.”

At the most there have been seven airtankers and 20-plus helicopters at the airport at one time, he said, adding there are also other places in the province where aircraft has refuelled, including the Puntzi station.

When the Wildwood Williams Lake Airport fire broke out on Friday, July 7 the proximity of the blaze to the airport forced the evacuation of the nearby Cariboo Fire Centre for one night.

“The fire encroached to the east far side of the runway,” de la Mare said. “All the trees were consumed by fire, but the blaze stayed behind the fence.”

It remains an estimated 12,987 hectares.

Quesnel’s airport manager said Friday that they have not seen an increase in the number of people using the Quesnel airport that would normally fly out of Williams Lake.

Throughout the wildfire situation, de la Mare has been sleeping at the airport in his trailer.

“It has been pretty smokey, just like in town,” he said.

Williams Lake Tribune

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