07/17/2014 07:10 EDT | Updated 09/16/2014 05:59 EDT

West Kelowna Wildfire Forces Thousands To Evacuate

Central Okanagan Emergency Operations

UPDATE: The evacuation order expanded to 2,500 residents on Thursday night. Story here.

WEST KELOWNA, B.C. - About 1,500 residents have been evacuated from the West Kelowna, B.C., neighbourhood of Smith Creek because of a wildfire burning nearby.

Carla Weaden, a spokeswoman for Central Okanagan Emergency Operations, says the evacuation involves about 500 homes.

The fire broke out early Thursday afternoon and has grown to about 3 hectares in size.

Fire crews from West Kelowna are working together with Ministry of Forests' fire crews to try and stomp out the fire.

Evacuees are being told to report to the emergency reception centre at the Lakeview Heights Baptist Church in West Kelowna.

While rain is hitting northern B.C., that isn't the case in the Okanagan.

Weaden says it's about 30 C in West Kelowna and there's wind.

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