Crews battled 23 fires in 24 hours up & down the State
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In the past 24 hours, State and Federal Fire Crews have battled 23 fires, believed to have been sparked by 200 different lightning strikes up and down the State.
Cal Fire has since increased staffing and implemented strategic movement of crews, depending on weather patterns. About a dozen Valley fire fighters from Cal Fire and a Strike Team are helping fight the "Bagley Fire" in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. The Cal Fire director has also staffed reserve engines and has made inmate fire crews available 24 hours a day.
Officials are watching a low pressure system that is bringing subtropical moisture through the State, which is causing thunderstorms and "dry" lightning. This year has brought a significant increase in lightning sparked fires. Will Goodman, a Cal Fire engineer, says the dry vegetation fuels fires. "Right now, the dry weather we're having and dry winter we've had, those fuels are tender, dry, and as soon as a spark hits them, they're taking off".
Lightning usually strikes in rural areas, sparking fires in hard to reach locations. Goodman states, "We're more worried about lightning strikes when they're far away from the road, it's harder for us to get into those areas. Sometimes, that's why the fire gets bigger, because we actually have to hike in a couple miles just to get the fire's edge".
Fire crews are asking Valley residents to remain "extra" fire safe, by avoiding mowing or weed eating in extremely dry or windy conditions. Never use lawn mowers on dry vegetation, and never pull your vehicle over in tall, dry grass.
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