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Wildfire smoke continues to cancels events in North Okanagan

Downtown Plaza closes for 3rd day, restaurant, employment centre closed
Smoky skies in Vernon reached an air quality index of 11 Wednesday, Aug. 16. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

UPDATE Aug. 17:

Thick wildfire smoke continues to cancel plans.

Advisories continue for a third straight day as the air quality is 10 (very high) in the North Okanagan for today.

Downtown Sounds won’t be taking place on 30th Avenue Thursday evening.

“As the air quality is at a very dangerous level, we will be closing the 2900 Plaza today for everybody’s safety,” the Downtown Vernon Association said.

This is the third day in a row the Plaza has had to cancel plans due to heat and smoke.

The Small Axe Roadhouse in Enderby is closed for the day.

“It’s gonna be an epic scorcher,” the popular restaurant posted on social media. “Plus it’s real hard to breath and see outside with all the forest fire smoke and ash.

“This makes for a miserable, unsafe work environment, especially for our rad as heck kitchen crew.”

But the Small Axe hopes to open back up in time for the big car show in town.

“Temperatures are supposed to drop way back down into the 20s Friday so it should be business as usual for Friday Night Lights.”

Poor air quality has also closed the drop-in resource centre at WorkBC Vernon.

The centre closed Wednesday and continued the closure Thursday.

Caravan Farm Theatre was also forced to cancel its Wednesday performance of Every Brilliant Thing. But the Spallumcheen theatre has added a matinee showing for Saturday.



Getting outdoors is getting harder to do amid the immense smoke in the air.

Along with those staying inside due to health concerns, the smoke has cancelled several outdoor events around Vernon.

SilverStar Bike Park has decided to close at 5 p.m. today, Aug. 16.

“With the forecasted smoke to be worsening up on the mountain, we have made the decision that for the health and safety of our guests and staff, Extended Play will be cancelled this afternoon,” the resort said.

The dangerous air quality level has also shut down the 2900 Plaza.

It’s the second day in a row the Plaza (a block of 30th Avenue) has been closed due to health concerns. It was closed Tuesday due to heat.

“If the temperature gets to 36 or greater, (or if the Air Quality Index is greater than 200 pbm), the 2900 Plaza and any events/performances will be cancelled,” the Downtown Vernon Association said.

The Plaza normally features the following:

Tuesdays: 10:15 a.m. Story Time for children. Plus at 6 p.m. on the patio, popular solo entertainers.

Wednesdays: 6:30 p.m. Learn to square dance, with the Vernon Star Country Squares.

Thursdays: 6 p.m. Downtown Sounds. Live party bands each week. Bring your chairs, as picnic tables may be full.

Fridays: DJ’s at 6 p.m.

Saturdays: The 2900 Plaza Market (12-4) and live solo entertainers.

The 2900 Plaza chairs are also up for auction until Aug. 28.

The final Plaza day is Thursday, Aug. 31 with two bands, games etc.

READ MORE: 8 Okanagan cities experience temperature records as heat wave soars across B.C.

READ MORE: Immense wildfire smoke causes air quality advisory for B.C. Interior


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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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