Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

Dry Lightning Sparks Increased Fire Danger

Sep 6, 2012

The weather forecast for Northern and Central California over the next few days has state fire fighters on high alert.   CalFIRE’s Daniel Berlant says thunderstorms and strong winds could lead to dry lightning.   "When we get lightning-sparked fires, there can be dozens – even sometimes hundreds – of fires spread out through a large area.  That always is a challenge for us, because that means additional resources are needed.”    So CalFIRE is placing more fire fighters on duty and staffing its reserve engines in preparation for the increased fire danger.   California has already used up its emergency firefighting budget for the current fiscal year.  It’s now 20 million dollars over budget and burning through the state’s reserve fund.   Several fires are currently burning across California – including one that’s 4,200 acres in the San Gabriel Mountains near Los Angeles.  Wednesday's light rains there have been a help – but firefighters are still worried about dry lightning.