UPDATED: Evacuations ordered as Ashcroft wildfire grows

The fire is an estimated 700 hectares in size

A wildfire on the Ashcroft Reserve west of Ashcroft is spreading rapidly through the grassland, fanned by high winds.

B.C. Wildfire Service estimates the fire to be 700 hectares in size, causing Highway 97C, Highway 97, and Highway 1 to close in both directions.

The rapidly growing wildfire has prompted a tactical evacuation of the area.

More than 20 structures, most of them on Ashcroft Indian Band land, have been destroyed or damaged. Cattle have been moved from one property where a barn was threatened.

A number of residences at Boston Flats near Hghway 1 have been destroyed.

Ashcroft Fire Rescue and the Ashcroft RCMP are on scene, and aircrafts are circling the site – one dropping water over the ridge.

Internet service is down and many businesses, as well as the Ashcroft pool, have closed.

The fire is reported to be an extension of the blaze that broke out shortly after 10 p.m. on Thursday, July 6 just south of Ashcroft.

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