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Dry Lightning: Cal Fire Increases Staffing

Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators / Facebook

Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators / Facebook

CAL FIRE has increased staffing because of expected dry lightning and strong winds throughout much of northern California. 

The National Weather Service in Sacramento says monsoonal moisture will bring a threat for mountain thunderstorms beginning Friday and lasting through next week. 

The thunderstorms will bring an increase threat of fire starts as little to no rain, but isolated lightning strikes and gusty winds near storms is expected Friday and Saturday.

More rain is expected with storms Sunday through next week.  And some storms could bring locally heavy rain that could result in debris flows if near current fires, like the Washington Fire in Alpine County, or burn scars. 

The dry lightning increases the chances of new wildfires.  

And, gusty thunderstorm winds have the potential to rapidly spread any new lightning fires. 

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Ahead of the predicted dry lightning, CAL FIRE staffed its reserve fire engines, placed additional fire crews and bulldozers available 24 hours a day and has added additional staffing in its emergency command centers.  

CAL FIRE said it has responded to over 2,700 wildfires in 2015, an increase of almost 1,000 compared to the average for the same time period.  

"Due to the conditions we are experiencing this year, it is critical that we are prepared for any possible outcome from this red flag event," said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. "We are prepared, and we ask that the residents and visitors of California do their part to prevent any new wildfires."

The Washington Fire was started by lightning from storms in the first part of June, but the wildfire was not spotted until June 19. CAL FIRE crews are part of the effort to contain the fire, burning in the Humboldt-Toyiabe National Forest, 3 miles from Markleville in Alpine County.

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