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Residents living near fire outside of Okanagan Falls urged to take evacuation alert seriously

Click to play video: 'Wind may be cause for concern as forestry crews fight the Thomas Creek wildfire near Okanagan Falls' Wind may be cause for concern as forestry crews fight the Thomas Creek wildfire near Okanagan Falls
Wind may be cause for concern as forestry crews fight the Thomas Creek wildfire near Okanagan Falls

The Thomas Creek Wildfire in the South Okanagan broke out on July 11 and continues burning out of control a week and a half later.

“It was coming over (the ridge),” said Kathy Dagneau. “They hit it very hard with the helicopters and with retardant.”

Read more: Smoke and ash from wildfire near Okanagan Falls affecting entire region

Dagneau lives on McLean Creek Road, an area that last week was on an evacuation order but is now on an alert as the fire has retreated behind the ridge on the east side of Skaha Lake.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS) has 704 properties on an alert as a result of the nearly 7,000 ha blaze.

“We hear the message from B.C. Wildfire Service all the time the conditions can change very, very quickly,” said Erick Thompson, an information officer with the RDOS Emergency Operations Centre.

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Click to play video: 'Windy conditions keep B.C. communities on edge Thursday as wildfires grow' Windy conditions keep B.C. communities on edge Thursday as wildfires grow
Windy conditions keep B.C. communities on edge Thursday as wildfires grow

With most of the fire activity taking place behind the ridge and not overly visible, Thompson said it’s important to remind residents on an alert to remain vigilant.

“If your property is in under an evacuation alert, you need to treat it seriously and have a plan and be ready to leave immediately,” he said.

“Even if you don’t see the fire right outside of your door, if the wind shifts and all of a sudden it moves and jumps there are some concerns.”

According to the B.C. Wildfire Service, fire growth was minimal again on Wednesday but winds are expected to increase through Friday, which may elevate fire behaviour and result in the fire growing.

Read more: Roundup of wildfires throughout the Okanagan and area

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The Wildfire Service said crews are making steady progress towards containing the flames on the south flank and heavy equipment is being used to build contingency guard lines to the east of the fire.

There are 29 firefighters dedicated to the Thomas Creek wildfire along with five helicopters and 20 pieces of heavy equipment.

The cause remains under investigation.

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The impact of wildfires on B.C. tourism

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