UPDATE: 9:30 p.m.
The Thomas Creek wildfire now spans 900 acres, according to the BC Wildfire Service. The fire still remains out of control.
Heavy smoke throughout Monday hampered efforts to properly estimate the size of the blaze. The increase in size is attributed to more precise mapping as visibility increases in the area.
The fire started on Sunday east of Skaha Lake near Okanagan Falls.
The Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District withdrew evacuation orders Monday afternoon for the 77 properties that had been the subject of evacuation orders on Sunday. They remain on evacuation alert, along with 627 other properties in the region.
Heavy equipment works in the southwest corner and continues upward with their targets, according to BCWS.
The cause of this fire is still under investigation.
The BCWS had 33 people to respond to the incident on Monday, with the help of three helicopters, eight pieces of heavy equipment, structural protection units and the local fire department. The teams will stay on site overnight.
Updates on this fire will resume at 7 a.m.
UPDATE: 4:35 p.m.
The Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District canceled all 77 properties that had been placed on an evacuation order on Sunday.
The 77 properties are now on evacuation alert in addition to the 627 properties that have been put on alert since Sunday afternoon.
“An evacuation alert has been issued to prepare you to evacuate your premises or property if an evacuation order is issued,” RDOS said in a statement.
Property owners will be given as much notice as possible before an evacuation order, but you may receive limited notice due to changing conditions.
BC Wildfire Service and RDOS EOC are actively assessing the situation and should conditions deteriorate, evacuation orders may be issued for affected residents.
“Of the 77 properties that were initially on evacuation orders, a total of 18 have signed up for emergency support services,” said RDOS communications coordinator Erick Thompson.
Thompson says it’s important for anyone on alert or order to register with ESS.
“It’s important that residents are put into the system so that if an alert changes to an order, ESS can make sure everyone is safe. “
“We ask people to plan ahead as you will likely be asked to leave on very short notice. It is best to plan your accommodation in advance. The hotels have a limited capacity, ”added Thompson.
For more information and to register, click here.
UPDATE: 3:50 p.m.
Gord Cullen says he discovered he was on evacuation alert Monday morning after returning from a camping trip.
“I got off the 200 and a lot of vehicles were parked watching the big tankers drop the chemical spray. And then I sat on the beach and watched all the planes go around and blow it up with water. “
Cullen is just one of 627 properties on evacuation alert Monday afternoon.
A total of 77 properties are on evacuation order.
Fewer than 10 of the 77 properties under evacuation orders have registered with the emergency reception center, and less than 10 of the 627 properties on evacuation alert.
“My mom comes over from my sister’s in Summerland to pick up all of her important papers that we have at home and my car is pretty much stocked with everything I want if I have to go,” Cullen added. .
A total of 33 firefighters, three helicopters and eight pieces of heavy equipment responded to the blaze.
The Thomas Creek Wildfire spans 500 acres and is classified as out of control.
UPDATE: 1:30 p.m.
Many of those on evacuation orders in Okanagan Falls stand close to their properties and animals, defying the order and staying put as the Thomas Creek wildfire rages nearby.
Fewer than 10 of the 77 properties under evacuation orders have registered with the emergency reception center, as well as less than 10 of the 627 properties on evacuation alert. RDOS continues to urge those on prescription or on alert to sign up, just in case.
The good news about the wildfire includes the fact that it is developing in a south-easterly direction, away from homes and infrastructure.
“We have three helicopters charging and cooling that need the perimeter as they establish their containment lines. So this will continue throughout the day, it will probably take us a few days to get this containment line to the east side, depending on the activity of the fire and also the practicable terrain, ”said the representative of BC Wildfire, Kim Janowski, Monday afternoon.
He added that the terrain is difficult and that he hopes civilians will withdraw from the fire zone.
“Please stay out of the water near our working skimmers, as well as the helicopters. We have helicopters that fire water from buckets and ventral tanks, so they have to fly over the lake. If a boat was below while they “.
The Thomas Creek wildfire is still listed at 500 hectares, but that number could change as the smoke clears and crews are able to get more accurate mapping.
In the meantime, authorities are calling for caution and preparation for neighboring residents. For those with livestock, the Animal Emergency Response Team and the Ministry of Agriculture are involved in the evacuations. RDOS CAO Bill Newell said about 30 cows and 20 horses are in the evacuation order area.
Fire crews, including Janowski, are determining Monday afternoon whether conditions are safe enough for evacuation orders and alerts to be downgraded.
For now, 77 properties remain on evacuation order and 627 are on alert.
“We want people to understand that we are going to give you 30 minutes, and if we tell you that you have to leave, then it is for your own safety,” Janowski said.
UPDATE: 12:40 p.m.
Castanet’s Madison Erhardt is live on stage with the latest news on the Thomas Creek wildfire.
UPDATE: 12:00 p.m.
The RDOS provides an additional update on the Thomas Creek Wildfire.
Watch the live stream above.
UPDATE: 11:00 a.m.
The Thomas Creek wildfire is still listed at 500 acres, according to an update from the BC Wildfire Service Monday morning.
The blaze also still has eight BCWS ground staff and two BCWS helicopters, no change from the most recent previous update on Sunday night.
The Okanagan Similkameen Regional District is expected to provide another update on the many evacuation orders and alerts Monday at noon.
McLean Creek Road in Okanagan Falls Monday morning.
UPDATE: 10:20 a.m.
RDOS says thick smoke in the area makes it difficult for BC Wildfire crews to get an update on the size and extent of the Thomas Creek fire, but they expect an update later Monday.
Seventy-seven properties, 67 of which have civic addresses, remain on evacuation orders, and 647 other properties are on alert.
RDOS President Karla Kozakevich called the fire “moving quickly” with conditions changing rapidly.
CAO Bill Newell urged residents on alert or on instruction to register with emergency assistance services and inquire with their insurance company about fire coverage.
“And if not, please stay away from the area, the roads are closed.” This is a hindrance to wildfires in British Columbia for both their air strike and ground attack if they have to worry about civilians in the area. They have perimeters set up around it. So boats and bicycle vehicles stay away. Please don’t fly a drone in the area, ”Newell said.
Communications director Erick Thompson added that the Emergency Operations Center can be reached at 250-490-4225.
“If you see a fire approaching, absolutely do whatever you need to do to get out of that area and make the phone call,” Thompson said.
RDOS will provide another update at noon.
UPDATE: 9:56 a.m.
Watch the Okanagan Similkameen Regional District’s live update on the Thomas Creek wildfire above, starting at 10 a.m.
UPDATE: 9:30 a.m.
A previously reported live video update from the Okanagan Similkameen Regional District on the Thomas Creek wildfire situation will now take place at 10 a.m.
The RDOS spoke of technical difficulties on Sunday evening when it canceled the briefing.
Castanet will have the live meeting in this story at 10 a.m.
Another live update is scheduled for noon, during which the media can ask questions.
Castanet reporter Madison Erhardt is currently heading to Okanagan Falls to provide an updated snapshot of the blaze on Monday morning.
Castanet is awaiting an update from the BC Wildfire Service on the extent of the fire and the number of people on the scene.
ORIGINAL : 6h15
The Thomas Creek wildfire near Okanagan Falls continues to burn uncontrollably today after exploding to 500 acres on Sunday.
The blaze started shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday and developed rapidly east of Lake Skaha.
Seventy-seven properties east of Okanagan Falls remain on evacuation, with 600 more on alert.
The blaze prompted the Okanagan Similkameen Regional District to declare a state of emergency, but technical difficulties interrupted a live briefing scheduled for Sunday evening.
Skimmer planes, two helicopters and eight ground crews, along with several pieces of heavy equipment, battled the blaze on Sunday, with ground work continuing overnight. The Okanagan Falls Volunteer Fire Department also fought the blaze overnight.
The properties ordered to be evacuated are on Allendale Lake Road, Chapman Road, McLean Creek Road, Eastside Road and Harkin Creek Road.
The investigation seeks the causes of the fire.
Photo : Mike Biden