How many fires are burning in B.C.?

Also: How much is burning? And which highways are closed? We answer the five most Googled questions about B.C. wildfires.

A burnt tree is seen in the foreground above the remains of mobile homes destroyed by wildfire in Boston Flats as a fire burns on a mountain near Ashcroft, B.C., on Sunday, July 9, 2017. B.C. government officials now estimate that 7,000 people have been evacuated from their homes due to wildfires burning in the province. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

A burnt tree is seen in the foreground above the remains of mobile homes destroyed by wildfire in Boston Flats, B.C.. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

Watching the flames rampage across British Columbia can be overwhelming, even from a distance. That’s why, here at Maclean’s, we’ve answered the top five questions Googlers have been asking about the sudden and fierce B.C. wildfires. Last updated on July 11.

How did the B.C. fires start?
A combination of human activity and lightning storms are thought to be the primary causes of the fires raging across the province. According to officials, the unusually wet spring season had inspired a laissez-faire attitude around fire safety in the province. But warm weather over the last couple weeks quickly dried out the vegetation, which acts like kindling for a cigarette butt or the embers of a fire that’s not been properly snuffed out. Meanwhile, persistent warm weather, along with low humidity and high winds, stoke what start as tiny flames. Likewise, the conditions are ripe for lightning to set fire where it strikes, and to spread rapidly.

How many fires are burning in B.C.?
As of Monday morning, there were about 230 active wildfires in B.C. At least 23 of them span more than 10 hectares, and 10 are bigger than 1,000 hectares.

How many acres are in a hectare?
Good question. There are 2.47105 acres in a hectare. There were about 41,709 hectares burnt or burning at last count, or about 103,000 acres.

Where are the current forest fires in B.C.?
The B.C. Wildfire Service map shows that most active fires are located in the central and southern Interior of the province. Communities that have been partially or completely evacuated include 100 Mile House, Moore Mountain, Williams Lake, Ashcroft, Little Fort, properties north of Princeton, and others in Loon Lakes, Dunn Lake, Alexis Creek and some near Hallamore Lake. A full list of evacuation notices can be found on the Government of British Columbia website.

Which highways are closed?
Highway 1: Closed in both directions from Ashcroft to Cache Creek, 10 km west of Cache Creek to 5 km east of Cache Creek, as well as 4 km west of Savona.

Highway 20: Closed to westbound traffic at the Chilcotin Bridge, 25 km west of Williams Lake.

Highway 24: Closed 31 km east of the junction with Highway 97 north for westbound traffic.

Highway 5A: Closed in both directions at junction with Highway 3 in Princeton, and 29 km north of Princeton at Allison Lake Provincial Park.

Highway 97: Closed from junction of Highway 1 in Cache Creek to Clinton, and at the Canim Hendrix intersection to the Timothy Lake Road junction.

Highway 97C: Closed in both directions from the junction with Highway 1 to Government Street Ashcroft, as well as from Logan Lake to Ashcroft.

Highway 99: Open to local traffic only from Highway 99 at Highway 12 to the Hat Creek junction. Closed in both directions from the Hat Creek junction to Highway 97.

Cariboo Road: Closed in both directions from 150 Mile House to the junction with Horsefly Road.

RELATED: B.C. creates $100 million fund as number of B.C. wildfires hits 230

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