The Northwest United States experienced another day of lightning Saturday.
Thunderstorms were prevalent in the Northwest United States on Friday with many areas receiving rain ranging from a trace to about half an inch in some locations in Northwest California and Southwest Oregon.
Thunderstorms apparently affected the route of Air Tanker 911, a DC-10, as it ferried from Moses Lake, Washington to Sacramento McClellan Friday night, lengthening the planned 600-mile flight to 749 miles.
Some rain will continue on Saturday across Washington, Montana, and Northern Idaho.
The threat of thunderstorms, lightning, gusty winds, or dry fuels have triggered Red Flag Warnings across six states
Lightning strikes, above, and accumulated precipitation, below.
On Friday the Red Flag Warning areas in Washington, Idaho, and southwestern Montana could experience additional lightning with little or no rain.
Thousands of lighting strikes hit Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon Thursday and Thursday night. Much of the area also received at least a little precipitation over the last 48 hours, which could reduce, but not eliminate, the threat of new wildfires.
Researchers have found that about a quarter of the fires caused by lightning that grow to more than 4 km² (988 acres) are reported more than a week after they are ignited.
A paper published in the Fire Open Access Journal describes how the National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN) and U.S. Forest Service fire data were used to determine the correlation between lightning strikes and the reported location of lightning-caused wildfires.
The NLDN, which has been used operationally for several decades, consists of 113 sensors across the continental United States and has a reported flash detection efficiency of cloud to ground flashes between 90–95%, with spatial errors that are typically less than 500 meters for the flash data used in the study.
The researchers found, of lightning-caused fires that grew to more than 4 km² (988 acres):
50% reported the same day
71% reported within 3 days
73% reported within 5 days
77% reported within 7 days
Holdover fires that are not reported for days or weeks after the lightning occurs can be problematic for land managers. Shortly after a thunderstorm has left the area, fire detection efforts are often ramped up and may continue in that mode for a few days. Fires that smolder in duff or under snow and suddenly grow can be unexpected. Firefighting resources that may have been staged in anticipation of emerging fires could be released or assigned to active incidents, complicating efforts at quick initial attack with overwhelming force.
Authors of the paper: Christopher J. Schultz, Nicholas J. Nauslar, J. Brent Wachter, Christopher R. Hain, and Jordan R. Bell.
And, the time he was struck by lightning
Scott Gorman, the crew superintendent on a California hotshot crew, was interviewed on National Public Radio along with his wife Sarah Barnes. They talked about how the partial government shutdown is affecting their family, and the time that Mr. Gorman and three other firefighters were struck by lightning while working on the Noon Fire in Arizona in 2004.
The interview was posted by NPR on January 21, 2019.