Matthew Renda

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July 24, 2012
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Official: Roughly 900 lightning strikes on Tahoe National Forest land

NEVADA COUNTY, Calif. — All of the fires that ignited in remote locations of the Tahoe National Forest Monday and Tuesday as a result of numerous lightning strikes have been contained, controlled or extinguished, officials said.

More lightning bolts struck the Tahoe National Forest Monday evening and Tuesday morning, creating minor fires in remote areas of the forest, said Ann Westling, TNF spokeswoman.

From 6 a.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Tuesday, 345 lightning strikes were recorded in the TNF, bringing the total number of strikes in the past two days to about 900, Westling said.

Additional fires were spotted by forest service air crews Monday evening, increasing the total amount of fires from 22 to 25, said Westling Tuesday morning.

All of the fires were reported as under control Tuesday afternoon. The largest fire covered 1 1/2 acres and the others burned less than 1 acre.

Although no additional lightning strikes are anticipated, the forest service will continue to deploy airplanes in an effort to spot fires stemming from the strikes.

Periodically, fires started by lightning will smolder for hours or even days, before fully igniting a wildland fire, Westling said. Crews will continue to monitor the area throughout the week, she said.

In addition to the approximately 150 forest service firefighters, crews from Pike Fire Department, Redding Smokejumpers, Salmon River Hotshots and Calfire are providing assistance.

Other areas were not as fortunate, as forests in Amador and El Dorado counties experienced about 1,800 lightning strikes, which created 16 separate fires, the largest of which totals 28 acres, according to the Cal Fire incident website.

A total of 79 acres are burning in the two counties and containment is listed at 30 percent.

Calfire has deployed 304 firefighters in the effort to quell the fires.

There were more than 1,000 lightning strikes scattered throughout all federally managed forests in California on Monday into Tuesday, Westling said.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jul 24, 2012 07:55PM Published Jul 24, 2012 03:07PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.