Wildland forest fires are capable of spreading at an astonishing rate. Crowning forest fires often spread at up to 5.5 kilometres per hour, with spotting as far as 2 kilometres ahead. Windblown grass fires can spread at speeds up to 8.5 kilometres per hour.
In British Columbia, an average 48% of all wildfires are caused by human activity. Wildfire is also a natural phenomenon. Nearly 52% of British Columbia’s wildfires are caused by lightning strikes. Over the last several centuries, large areas of British Columbia have been burned over repeatedly. Over the last 10 years, on average over 2,500 wildfires were started in British Columbia each year consuming over 25,000 hectares of forested land annually. Thousands of families were recently evacuated from their communities and hundreds of homes destroyed.