Lightning sparks wildland fires |

Lightning sparks wildland fires

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

A slow-moving storm spat lightning into South Lake Tahoe wilderness, causing small wildland fires and numerous 911 calls.

Fire personnel responded to a wildland fire at the top of High Meadow Trail around 5 p.m. Wednesday. The fire was controlled quickly after more than 25 U.S. Forest Service personnel reported to the scene along with engines and resources from Lake Valley Fire Protection District and South Lake Tahoe Fire Department.

“It was just a common little lightning strike and we got a line around it pretty quick,” said Debbie Walls, captain at the U.S. Forest Service Engine 42 out of Meyers.

Firefighters attacked the flames with chain saws, handpicks and a water hose snaking into the woods from a truck.

“We had it 15 minutes after we arrived,” Walls said.

Another call came in about a lightning-caused wildland fire near Angora Lakes around the same time as the High Meadow Trail fire.

A witness saw smoke and flames emit from a small patch of forest after a bolt struck the ground. The flames were doused by heavy rain.

Steve Goldstein, a forecaster for the National Weather Service, reported more showers and thunderstorms expected today. An upper-low system off the California coast is sucking up moist and unstable air, which is causing the thunderstorms.

The system is expected to move through the area tonight when drier air will move in on Friday.

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