Major lightning filled the skies on August 21 – 22nd. In this 24 hour period, over 4,400 lightning strikes crackled in Northern California. The outcome? Forty-five new fires.
Here’s the breakdown:
- CAL FIRE Siskiyou Unit – 5 new fires, largest is less than an 1 acre
- CAL FIRE Lassen-Modoc-Plumas Unit – 6 new fires, largest is less than 1 acre
- Lassen National Forest – 2 new fires, largest is less than an 1 acre
- Klamath National Forest – 9 new fires, largest is 2-3 acres
- Tahoe National Forest – 1 new fire, largest is less than an 1 acre, fire is contained
- Tahoe Management Unit – 4 new fires, largest is less than an 1 acre, all fires contained
- Modoc National Forest – 8 new fires, largest fire is the Whitmore Fire 40 acres – 70% contained
- Six Rivers National Forest – 2 new fires, Roger Fire 4-5 acres, Lemonade Fire 2 acres
- Plumas National Forest – 4 new fires, largest is less than an 1 acre
- Shasta-Trinity National Forest – 1 new fire, fire is less than an 1 acre
- BLM, Northern California District – 3 new fires, largest is less than an 1 acre
It looks like California firefighters will be heading into battle this weekend with more fires expected. Hand crews, fire engines and helicopter water drops from the U.S. Forest Service and Cal Fire with the assistance of local departments, are on standby after multiple fires were caused by lightning. Aerial reconnaissances flights conducted daily by the Forest Service assist with the detection of new lightning related fires, as well.
“Storms are expected to hit the area Saturday afternoon and continue through Monday night,” said Noel Isla, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in San Diego. “Some of the thunderstorms can produce a brief heavy rainfall … with a threat of flash floods,” he said.
Given the chance of lightning-related fires, resources are at the ready just in case, said Cal Fire spokesman Bill Peters. Cal Fire hasn’t “discussed a certain staffing pattern to make sure our resources are ready to respond in a strike team fashion,” he said. “But as it is, all our resources are here and available to us so we can respond rapidly to any situation that may occur.”
A wildfire in Yosemite is now burning about 165 square miles, which roughly doubled in size in a day. It has burned 105,620 acres (up from 53,000 acres a day earlier), spreading from Stanislaus National Forest to Yosemite. The fire is only 2% contained.
We pray for the safety of these brave men and women as they work to keep us safe!
(article written with excerpts from The Redlands Daily Facts and Cal Fire)
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