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Lots of lightning, but few fires

Feather Publishing
09/13/2011

Summer thunderstorms are not at all un-common in Plumas County. The storms usually produce fires, often lots of fires..

This year has been different. We have seen very few thunderstorms this summer and, thankfully, fewer fires than normal.

That has changed somewhat during the past week.

We have experienced severe thunderstorms the past few days and more are expected today. Fortunately the storms have also produced lots of rain; unusual amounts of rain for summer thunderstorms in our area. As a result there have only been a few fires so far.

Lightning_Map
This lightning map shows yesterday's concentration of lightning strikes. There were over 4,000 strikes statewide. More than 3,000 of those strikes occurred on National Forests. Map courtesy of US Forest Service

A spokesperson for the Plumas National Forest reports that they have only found a dozen fires so far and all of them have been less than one tenth of an acre.

The number of know fires is likely to increase over the next few days. Lighting fires often smolder for a time before they come to life. Even though the rain was intense, forest fuels will dry over the next few days and the "sleeper" fires will come to life. Wildland firefighters will likely stay busy for the next few days.

So if there are only a few very small fires, where is the smoke coming from? Firefighters in central Oregon are battling several large fires. Some have been burning for weeks. Only recently have we experienced north winds that tend to blow the smoke from these fires into northern California.

Plumasnews.com will continue to closely monitor the fire situation. If local fire activity increases, you can find out about it here first.


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