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Forest fires keep Highway 97 closed

One of the major routes between Prince George and the rest of the province remained closed Monday as massive forest fires raged near 100 Mile House and Williams Lake.
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One of the major routes between Prince George and the rest of the province remained closed Monday as massive forest fires raged near 100 Mile House and Williams Lake.

As of a midday, the Gustafsen Lake forest fire stood at an estimated 5,000 hectares after a "dramatic wind shift" forced an evacuation of the District of 100 Mile House on Sunday night.

Near Williams Lake, the 158 Mile House and Wildwood fires covered a combined 10,000 hectares and are now being treated as a single blaze. Likewise, the five blazes making up Hanceville fire southwest of the community stood at 10,000 hectares.

And the Dragon Mountain fire southeast of Quesnel was at 1,500 hectares.

All were listed as zero-per-cent contained as of Monday morning. The causes of those blazes was under investigation.

It meant Highway 97 was not an option for anyone heading further south than Quesnel.

Highway 5 was still open although three fires were burning near Little Fort. East of that community two fires combined for 897 hectares and to the west, one stood at 15 hectares.

Closer to Prince George, there are three fires of note with evacuation alerts in place as a result - at Sutherland Road, 10 km north of Fort Fraser (700 hectares), Grizzly Lake, 10 km west of Bobtail Lake (250 hectares) and Tatelkuz Lake, 118 kilometres along the Kluskus Forest Service Road, southwest of Prince George (950 hectares).

A fire at Big Bend Creek, 75 kilometres along the Kluskus was at 960 hectares as of Saturday.

All were lightning caused and zero-per-cent contained.

Campfires have been banned across the province with the exception of Haida Gwaii and a small strip along the west coast of Vancouver Island.

All open burning including campfires have also been prohibited within city boundaries as of Monday and an air quality advisory issued Sunday remained in effect.

Nearly 70 provincial parks and a number of recreation sites have been closed.