6,000 lightning strikes in northern California

Lightning at Wind Cave National Park
Lightning at Wind Cave National Park, July 23, 2012, Photo by Bill Gabbert.

(Originally published at 4:40 p.m. PT, June 10, 2013; updated at 11:45 a.m. PT, June 11)

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Sunday and Monday much of the Northern California foothills and mountains including the Sierra experienced significant thunderstorms with dry lightning. Nearly 6,000 8,000 lightning strikes were recorded. Over 50 60 small fires have been discovered that were ignited by lightning. Though most of the storm systems have moved out, CAL FIRE crews continue to respond to additional fires.

Below is a summary of some of the fires in four northern California CAL FIRE units as of Monday afternoon:

  • Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit: 21 fires, largest fire 4 acres
  • Tehama-Glenn Unit: 20 fires, largest fire 2 acres
  • Butte Unit: 11 fires, 0 acres
  • Lassen-Modoc-Plumas Unit: 2 fires, 0 acres

Videos from the National Interagency Fire Center

Today the National Interagency Fire Center uploaded a bunch wildfire-related videos to YouTube. We have six of them below.

This first one is about managing communications on a complex incident:

The second one is on the subject of engines:

The third one describes what wildland firefighters must do if there is a medical emergency on an incident.

Continue reading “Videos from the National Interagency Fire Center”

More lightning fires in Arkansas

More than 1,000 wildfires burned this year in Arkansas, according to KAIT8 news, and many were human-caused. But lightning’s rising on the list of causes for fires in the state. State Forester Joe Fox said that 15 percent of Arkansas fires are usually caused by lightning — and some years it’s under 3 percent. But according to Fox, lightning has caused more than half the fires in the last two months.

The Arkansas Forestry Commission yesterday activated military Blackhawks for fire suppression in the state.

Photos of lightning in the Black Hills

Lightning at Wind Cave National Park
Lightning at Wind Cave National Park, July 24, 2012. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

We have had a boatload of lightning in the Black Hills of South Dakota in recent days. Almost every day we have been seeing numerous downstrikes which have started dozens of fires over the last week in the Black Hills and the prairies to the east.. Most of the fires have been caught at less than a couple of acres, but several have burned thousands.

I shot these photos Monday evening in Wind Cave National Park.

Lightning at Wind Cave National Park
Lightning at Wind Cave National Park, July 24, 2012. Photo by Bill Gabbert.
Lightning at Wind Cave National Park
Lightning at Wind Cave National Park, July 23, 2012. Photo by Bill Gabbert

Fire near Cascade, South Dakota

Fire West of Cascade
Fire south of Cascade, SD, July 16, 2012. Photo by Bill Gabbert

Monday night there was a shitload of lightning in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota, which may have been the cause of a fire burning a couple of miles west of Cascade. This fire had probably burned a few dozen acres when I arrived, but it slowed down when a few sprinkles hit it. The lightning did not slow down, however.

Fire, Cascade, South Dakota
Fire south of Cascade, SD. Photo by Bill Gabbert
Fire West of Cascade, SD
Fire south of Cascade, SD, July 16, 2012. Photo by Bill Gabbert