Thomas Creek seen from West Bench on August 3. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

Thomas Creek seen from West Bench on August 3. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

Thomas Creek wildfire jumps guard, heads into area burned in 2020

The fire is moving further north into the Christie Mountain region

Thomas Creek wildfire continues to steadily move northwards and residents near Penticton can expect plenty more smoke over the coming days.

The majority of the recent fire activity is concentrated on the north flanks of the blaze, particularly in the Derenzy and McLean Clan Lake areas according to the BC Wildfire Service.

Recent conditions, despite the brief rain over the weekend, have been hot and dry which has increased fire activity.

On Tuesday, the fire jumped a fireguard, and efforts are now underway to utilize existing contingency guards to curb the fire’s spread.

READ MORE: What B.C. wildfire evacuees need to know upon returning home

“We did have helicopters responding until they were unable they were not able to with daylight conditions,” said Claire Allen, an information officer with BC Wildfire. “We have crews there today that were there first thing in the morning and working to tie it back in using the contingency guards from the fire last year.”

Those existing guard lines and the burn scar from the Christie Mountain wildfire from 2020 are being used in the planning to get the fire under control.

There is hope that some lower temperatures will bring reduced fire activity, but there is also the chance that it will bring variable wind as well, with smoke expected to stay steady over the region for the immediate future.

That smoke has been a double-edged sword for BC Wildfire, with it reducing some of the daytime heating able to get down to the ground, but also making it much harder for aerial support to be deployed.

“The day before yesterday, we weren’t able to actually get any helicopters in the air until 4 p.m. with the thick smoke inversion,” said Allen.

The last size estimate of the blaze is 10,280 hectares, however, with the growth on Tuesday afternoon and overnight it is expected that the fire has grown larger since that measurement.

READ MORE: Evacuation order rescinded for Anarchist Mountain residents

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B.C. Wildfires 2021OkanaganPenticton