A rapidly-growing wildfire in West Kelowna has spread to 175 hectares in size, forcing another thousand area residents away from their homes.

Officials confirmed an evacuation order issued Thursday afternoon has expanded to a total of 2,500 people in 1,100 homes, all located in the Smith Creek, Tallus Ridge, Alexandria Way and Shannon Woods neighbourhoods.

The massive blaze is not contained but crews are working to establish guards to protect residential properties and area infrastructure.

West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater said there are plenty of firefighters available, with help coming in from Peachland, Kelowna, Lake Country and the Wildfire Management Branch, but getting aircraft has been a challenge.

“The problem is there are a limited number of aircraft in British Columbia,” Findlater said. “We don’t have exclusive use of those.”

Air tankers and helicopters have been working to stop the flames from advancing, but have had to take turns dropping fire retardant on the West Kelowna blaze and others in the region, Findlater said.

In light of the fire’s spread, the mayor and city council have declared a local state of emergency. All residents who live west of the Bennett Bridge are asked to shut off outdoor irrigation and limit household water use to save supplies for fire crews.

So far, no homes have been destroyed. Officials confirmed that reports of one home and outbuilding being lost to the fire on Thursday afternoon were false.

Evacuees have been told to report to an Emergency Reception Centre set up at Mount Boucherie Secondary School at 2751 Cameron Road. A previous centre set up at Lakeview Heights Baptist Church has been closed.

The Canadian Disaster Animal Response team is also working to find accommodations for animals affected by the evacuation.

Before leaving home, residents are urged to close windows and doors, shut off all gas and electrical appliances except for refrigerators and freezers, and gather family pets. They’re asked to take only important items like wallets, purses, keys, and medicine.

Anyone needing transportation assistance can call 250-469-8490.

The latest updates are available at the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations website.