Sacto 9-1-1
September 6, 2012
Lightning strikes spark wildland fires, prompt safety warnings

Lighting activity during the past 24 hours has resulted in 13 wildland fires from 310 lightning strikes in areas served by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's Amador-El Dorado Unit.

The unexpected thunderstorm brought lightning with wetting rain in some areas and dry lightning, with little of no rain, in other areas, according to a Cal Fire news release.

"Cal Fire firefighters are aggressively suppressing wildland fires across the unit in the state responsibility lands ranging from very rugged and often isolated areas covered in timber to the oak woodlands in the front country," Brian Estes, incident commander, said in a written statement. "We anticipate that additional wildland fires will erupt as the affected areas dry out later this week."

Due to the recent thunderstorm activity and weather forecasts, Unit Chief Kelly Keenan offered basic lightning safety tips:

• If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to be a real threat. Seek shelter indoors.

• Lightning bolts can strike 10 to 15 miles from a thunderstorm.

• Lightning does strike the same place twice.

• If you are caught outside during a thunderstorm, move toward a safe shelter.

• The safest shelter is a building with wiring and plumbing. Sheds, picnic shelters, tents or covered porches do not necessarily protect you from lightning.

• Do not use corded telephone unless absolutely necessary.

• Wait 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder is heard to resume outside activities.

For more information on lightning safety see the website at www.weather.gov/os/lightning/.

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