Sacto 9-1-1
July 23, 2012
Lightning strikes spark fires throughout the Sierra

Sixteen lightning-sparked fires have burned 78 acres in El Dorado and Amador counties.

What fire officials have dubbed the Amador Lightning Complex started at 11: 30 p.m. Sunday and was reported 20 percent contained this evening. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reported that more than 1,800 lightning strikes hit the two counties in the past two days.

Cal Flre spokesman Daniel Berlant said the agency has responded to about 50 fires throughout Northern California as a result of lightning strikes Sunday and today. The largest single fire burned 75 acres near Copperopolis in Calaveras County.

During the 24-hour period that ended at 6 a.m. today, more than 1,200 lightning strikes were recorded in or near the Tahoe and Eldorado national forests, according to Forest Service officials. As of this afternoon, 20 fires were burning in the Tahoe National Forest and 13 in the Eldorado National Forest. Officials said most of the fires were small, burning less than an acre, with some involving a single tree. Most were in remote areas and posed no threat to homes.

The thunderstorms today and Sunday were accompanied by rain, which reduced the fire danger.

"We expect to see additional smokes as things dry out," said Frank Mosbacher, spokesman for the Eldorado National Forest.

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