Update: Thomas Creek wildfire balloons to 5,000 hectares in size

The Thomas Creek Fire as seen from Cedar Street in the town of OK Falls on July 14, 2021. (Submitted)
Photos of the scorched earth of the Thomas Creek fire. (Mike Biden photos)
Mike Biden photos of the Thomas Creek fire.
Thomas Creek wildfire as seen at night. The fire, above OK Falls has grown to 1,100 ha. (Mike Biden)

The Thomas Creek Wildfire has exploded to over 5,000 hectares in size.

The size increase is attributed to hot and dry conditions in the area on July 13, as well as windy conditions in the afternoon, said BC Wildfire Wednesday night.

Ground personnel will continue to work on the west/southwest flank of the fire closest to homes and are assisted by heavy equipment to establish and reinforce fire guards. Planned ignitions between the fire guard and the fire perimeter will help eliminate available fuels.

Four personnel and two water tenders were fighting the fire Wednesday. OK Falls boat launch has been closed to allow fire crews to work on Skaha Lake.

Ground personnel will continue to work on the west flank of the fire closest to homes and are assisted by heavy equipment to establish and reinforce fire guards. Planned ignitions between the fire guard and the fire perimeter will help eliminate available fuels.

The fire had initially been producing heavy smoke that made accurate mapping difficult, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

Some residents near Gallagher Lake said they could see flames from the fire Tuesday night.

Smoke is blanketing Penticton, Oliver and Summerland.

A video seen below shows just how smoky OK Falls is Wednesday.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Thomas Creek wildfire now at 900 hectares; evacuation order rescinded

Currently, over 700 properties in and around Okanagan Falls are under an evacuation alert issued by the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen.

The RDOS had rescinded their earlier July 11 order of evacuation for 77 properties, and included them in the current alert.

Six helicopters and skimmers will continue to use Skaha Lake and are urging boaters to stay away.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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

The fire was initially reported at 0.5 hectares when it was first spotted Sunday.

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B.C. Wildfires 2021Wildfires