Plumas National Forest firefighters responded today, June 3, to a lightning fire in Butterfly Valley near Quincy on the Mount Hough Ranger District.
The Butter Fire was reported today around 4 p.m. The fire is approximately two-thirds of an acre and is lined. Firefighters are continuing to secure the fireline and working on mop-up.
Resources on the fire this evening are Plumas National Forest Engines 324 and 320, Greenville Rancheria Engine 2 and the Trinity Hotshots.
Butterfly Valley received heavy lightning last Monday and this fire is a holdover from that storm. The strike tree was a large diameter, multi-top white fir. There was still heat in the top of the tree, requiring firefighters to cut it.
The fire was also in an older fuel reduction treatment area which helped reduce fire intensity and growth, helping firefighters.
Even though thunderstorms over the past few weeks have had wetting rains, lightning fires can holdover for several weeks. They remain undetectable until dryer conditions, increased winds and other factors cause them to spread and become more visible.
On the Butter Fire, dryer conditions today led to embers falling from the strike tree and igniting surrounding vegetation, spreading the fire and producing visible smoke.
The weather forecast through next week includes a continued chance of thunderstorms. Firefighting resources continue to be prepared to respond quickly to lightning fires across the Plumas National Forest.
“The forest has received numerous lightning strikes over the past 11 days, usually with heavy rain,” said Deputy Forest Fire Management Officer Marty Senter. “Our firefighters are responding to smoke reports and working to suppress lightning fires as quickly as possible.”