Can I use 24 gauge speaker cable?

I’ve been trying to google this but I only get vague answers.
I want to know if I can use 24 gauge cable as speaker cable. And if not: why not?
Usual answers are “no, you should use xx gauge”, but I’m looking for why is that? Will the speakers of the amp go off in flames if the resistance is too high? I don’t even get that because the resistance isn’t even that much of a difference between speaker cable sizes, compared to the speakers resistance.

I’m talking about ca 16ft / 5m distance between amp and speaker. By the way should that measure 16 ft or double (32ft because one cable is plus and the other minus)?
@dadork -
@williewonka Excellent response and explanation. I’ve bought cheap wire before and have upgraded to something much better but have never really understood most of the aspects you describe.
Many thanks for the kind words :-)

I actually make my own cables from the ground up because I am frugal and like you, do not have the thousands of dollars to spend on, as some would put it, "high price jewelery"

My speaker cables currently cost around $400 for a 10 ft pair to build and are preferred to top of the line cables from companies like Nordost and InAkustik i.e. by others that have owned those cables.

If you are interested to read more on them - take a look of this thread

It goes into a lot more detail on these cables and how to build them.

BTW - with DIY - you can elect to use whatever grade wire you like
- my early prototypes used household Romex and telephone wire to prove the concept
- the latest use more advanced/quality wires to achieve superb sound reproduction

I have spent the last 6 years delving into the science of cables and developing the Helix geometry for Speaker, interconnect and power cables.

The improvements due to wire type and insulation used is the latest development and was assisted by others from several countries that have tried the Helix geometry with many different wires.

Regards - Steve
@orgillian - WRT
Better yet, if you can borrow several different manufacturer’s speaker cables instead of raw wire, compare those as well. That way, instead of relying on someone’s opinion of what you can or cannot hear, you’ll know...
Perhaps the best advice on this thread to date !

It is EXACTLY how I started my cable journey - I trusted MY EARS !

Then my inquisitive nature got the best of me and the rest is history :-)

Regards - Steve

Just like a few have mentioned in this forum or post. You just need several strands. 24AWG Cat 5/6/7 is really good because it is already twisted in the sheathing. You should do about 8 strands per termination. You can terminate them with some banana plugs or even better spades if your speakers can take spades. If not bare wire is the best but the ends will corrode over time. So give yourself about an extra 6” for cutting for redoing the ends every year. You might be supposed how good it sounds. You will get lots of detail. If you want more mid-bass double up on the gauge. Final thought: if you are using non twisted pair then watch videos on how to braid wire to help prevent noise and cross talk. I used very lite gauge wire in the past and it ruined one of my channels on my AVR. Just work your way up to 16 AWG and you will be good. 
My answer is YES.  You can use 24ga. wire on runs of 50+ feet. I have done so through 5 rooms of my parents house.  Pushed with a Wollensak  reel to reel  mono tape player.  Strictly soft background music.  Small oval 8ohm speakers.  Ran for years.  I replace the Wollensak with a mono fm radio.  Knight? KLH? receiver.  Hey! given me a break.  This was back in the 70's.

Yes with agreement to comments about wire impedance and sonic differences.  Let me remind you of this site = HIGHEND+   Thus should you push 300 watts to your MagnaPlanars, much wattage will be dissipated in the resistance of the 22ga. wire.  Heating up the wire. 
Also there are significant Sonic advantages of implementing thicker wire gauges of different materials and technologies.  I confirmed this to myself when I rebuilt a friend's 3 way Sansui speaker from the 70's.  I just by replacing the solid 22ish ga. wire used with at the time "Monster" cable.  8-10ga.?  The longest run of the three was 14" from the crossover to tweeter.  Wow.  What a difference.  Even when driven by my little Nakamichi receiver on my workbench. Crossover was next.  After which I had to get them out of my shop!  Sonically they were approaching new DCM's and Alon's in the sound room.