UPDATE: Thomas Creek wildfire now at 900 hectares; evacuation order rescinded

A firefighter works to put out hot spots at the Thomson Creek fire Sunday. (Mike Biden photo)A firefighter works to put out hot spots at the Thomson Creek fire Sunday. (Mike Biden photo)
Wildfire at night. (Mike Biden)Wildfire at night. (Mike Biden)

The Thomas Creek wildfire is now estimated at 900 hectares and still classified as out of control.

On Monday morning, BC Wildfire Services said the heavy smoke was making it difficult to get accurate mapping on the size of the fire which ballooned from .50 ha to 500 hectares on Sunday when it started.

Later on Monday, visibility increased and firefighters were able to get a better picture of the size.

On the wildfire dashboard, the fire’s cause is listed as human but that is still under investigation.

The residents of 77 properties put on evacuation order Sunday night can now return to their homes.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) advises that the Thomas Creek Wildfire evacuation order for 77 properties issued on July 11, has been rescinded.

The area previously under evacuation order is now on an evacuation alert. All 627 properties previously under evacuation alert will remain under evacuation alert, said the RDOS.

BC Wildfire Service and the RDOS EOC are actively assessing the situation and should conditions deteriorate, evacuation orders may be issued for affected residents.

A local state of emergency was issued Sunday night, July 11, and will remain in force for seven days until July 17, 2021, at midnight unless revoked by the RDOS or the province.

Of the properties evacuated there were 30 cows and 20 horses in the evacuated areas.

While many properties were ordered to evacuate, not everyone did.

Of the 77 properties that were ordered to evacuate, nine registered with the evacuation centre and another nine registered online, according to the RDOS’s Emergency Operations Centre.

Elaine Mac posted the video of five water skimmers dropping water near her McLean Creek Road home before she evacuated.

“The evacuation went smoothly. We had emergency kits packed in advance (meds, personal supplies, change of clothes, pet supplies etc),” she said.

She spent the day moving neighbour’s domestic animals to a house in Penticton.

They are staying with friends in Keremeos.

“Everything ran like a well-oiled machine,” she said. “To watch the emergency crews work was spectacular.”

According to the RDOS, property owners will be given as much advance notice as possible, however, they may receive limited notice due to changing conditions.

BC Wildfire crews had a ‘very successful night’ getting rid of fuels and creating containment lines on the out-of-control Thomson Creek blaze above Okanagan Falls.

With little wind, the estimated 500-hectare interface fire saw no growth overnight, said BC Wildfire Services Kim Janowsky.

“The fire is moving in a southeastern direction away from homes,” said Janowsky in a live briefing at the RDOS office Monday.

The interface fire still has a rating of five out of six and is deemed out of control but crews haven’t seen major growth today. The fire is still listed at 500 ha.

VIDEO: No new growth overnight, as fire crews work tirelessly on Thomas Creek fire