BC fire maps glow red

UPDATE: 4 p.m.

A number of highly visible fires continue to pose a potential threat to public safety.

A 61.5-square-kilometre fire near Ashcroft has been active for five days. Poor visibility has made it difficult to determine how many structures have been burned. Smoke is visible from Highway 97C and Highway 99. An evacuation order is in effect in Cache Creek and areas to the north.

The 50-square-kilometre Gustafsen fire was fanned with strong wind from Sunday night. The fire is now threatening 100 Mile House.

The 150 Mile House blaze is measured at 2.5 square kilometres. Crews succeeded in building containment lines on both the west and east flanks on Monday. The wildfire service calls it "a dynamic situation," with a focus on protecting Highway 97 and nearby structures.

There are numerous fires affecting Hanceville, about 60 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake. Soda Creek is one square kilometre in size, located about 25 km northwest of Williams Lake.

At the 20-square-kilometre Wildwood fire, crews are building containment lines to protect Highway 97 and the community.

The Harrison Lake east fire is nearly two square kilometres in size. The fire is about 30 km north of Harrison Hot Springs and is 40 per cent contained.

UPDATED: 3 p.m. 

Wildfires continue to rage across the province, with an estimated 14,000 people now forced from their homes.

There are currently 218 fires burning, with 29 new starts, according chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek.

"It's certainly less than what we've been seeing over the past few days," he said. "We had in the neighbourhood of 140 new fires start on Friday and almost 100 on Saturday, so certainly less activity."

The fire blazing near 100 Mile House is at 5,000 hectares and is zero per cent contained.

"There was a dramatic wind shift (last night) that led to the recommendation that the District of 100 Mile House be evacuated," he said.

A group of wildfires burning near Williams Lake is now considered to be one fire, although they have not yet touched each other. Those fires have consumed a total of 10,000 hectares.

The fire in Ashcroft now sits at 6,150 hectares. That blaze has not grown, but instead has received more accurate mapping, said Skrepnek.

Campfires are now banned across the province, with the exception of Haida Gwaii and the West Coast Fog Zone on Vancouver Island. 

"Generally, we are still looking at a deteriorating situation. We are looking at many weeks to come of a very challenging environment, and public safety will remain the overriding priority," said assistant deputy minister at Emergency Management BC, Robert Turner.

Currently, there are 1,600 personnel fighting the flames with 1,000 of those being front-line firefighters. It is estimated humans are responsible for 40 per cent of recent fire starts.

ORIGINAL 1:10 a.m.

The map of B.C. is literally on fire.

BC Wildfire Service maps showing active fires and the fire danger danger rating across the province are covered in red.

As of mid-day Monday, there were 231 wildfires burning in B.C., and more than 14,000 residents had been evacuated from their homes.

Firefighting help is being brought in from across the country, and Canadian Armed Forces resources are aiding the fire support effort.

The Wildfire Service's active fires map shows a concentration of fires burning in the Central Interior, between Ashcroft and Prince George. Thousands of residents have evacuated to the Kamloops area.

In the south of the province, the largest fires are burning near Princeton and Harrison Lake.

The fire danger map shows the lower two-thirds of B.C. awash in red and orange, meaning the threat is either extreme or high.

Only a few pockets of Northern B.C. and Haida Gwaii are blue, or rated as having a very low fire risk.

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