The Okanagan Valley of British Columbia has been submerged since Saturday in a brown haze of smoke emanating from massive wildfires just south of the border in Washington state.
Winery owners say this is the worst smoke here since a major wildfire near Kelowna, BC, in 2003. However, they are not yet saying the grapes are in jeopardy. That could change if the smoke conditions continue much beyond two days. At least one winemaker has sent sample grapes for lab work to detect smoke taint.
Adding to the concern is a fire near Oliver, BC, that once again is threatening several wineries. Tinhorn Creek CEO Sandra Oldfield says the same wind that brought smoke north from Washington state turned the Oliver fire back towards her winery, one of several put on evacuation warning by fire officials.
Although the forecast calls for continued smoke conditions, the haze eased sufficiently to allow the Penticton Airport to resume operations, which had been suspended due to low visibility.