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Thomas Creek wildfire grows to 500 hectares, local state of emergency for Okanagan Falls

Evacuation alert issued for over 600 homes east of Skaha Lake

UPDATE: 9:40 p.m.

The Thomas Creek wildfire burning near Okanagan Falls has grown to 500 hectares, after sparking Sunday afternoon.

According to BC Wildfire, there will be eight firefighters along with multiple pieces of heavy equipment working overnight.


UPDATE: 9:25 a.m.

A local state of emergency is now in place due to the Thomas Creek wildfire, near Okanagan Falls.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) is declaring that a state of local emergency is in effect for Electoral Area D.

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


As the Thomas Creek wildfire continues to grow, an evacuation order has been issued for 77 homes, near Okanagan Falls.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) issued the order, Sunday evening, due to the immediate danger of the wildfire, east of Skaha Lake in Electoral Area “D”.

RCMP and Penticton Search and Rescue are assisting with the order.

The RDOS also issued an evacuation alert for over 600 homes east of Skaha Lake. Many of the homes on evacuation alert are in the same areas as where the Christie Mountain fire occurred last summer. The properties are located east of Skaha Lake, south of Heritage Hills down to McLean Creek Road.

The RDOS is asking evacuated residents to consider making arrangements to stay with family or friends if possible, due to a shortage of hotel accommodations.

Those under the evacuation order should do the following:

  • If you require services, please visit the ESS Reception Centre at 199 Ellis Street, Penticton.
  • For ESS information, please call: 250-486-1890.
  • If you have pets or livestock that need to be cared for and billeted, please contact Animal Lifeline Emergency Response Team (ALERT) for support: 250-809-7152.

All evacuees are asked to register online with the Emergency Support Services (ESS) Evacuee Registration and Assistance (ERA) tool even if you do not require referrals such as housing or other services:

Those on evacuation alert should prepare to evacuate their premises or property should an evacuation order be issued. According to the RDOS, property owners will be given as much advance notice as possible prior to an order, however, there might be limited notice due to changing conditions.

BC Wildfire Service and the RDOS EOC are actively assessing the situation and should conditions deteriorate.

The fire 1.5 kilometres from Skaha Lake and above Okanagan Falls, has grown to over 100 hectares and is believed to be human-caused, according to BC Wildfire Service.

The blaze erupted just after 2 p.m. Sunday, creating a large plume of smoke that could be seen throughout Penticton.

More than five air tankers and skimmers are on the scene. A woman out boating on Skaha Lake took pictures of how the fire is coming too close to estate homes.

BC Wildfire has closed off McLean Creek Road and Eastside Rd., at McLean.

Wildfire crews have been hammering the blaze with water and retardant all afternoon. There is seven BC Wildfire personnel on the scene with assistance from air tankers and two helicopters.

READ MORE: Out of control wildfire at OK Falls has grown to over 1oo ha

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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