Dry Lightning Could Spark More Fires

Dry Lightning Could Spark More Fires

14 July 2008

published by www.kmph.com

USA — Firefighters are standing by in the Central Valley, in anticipation of new fires that could be sparked by dry lightning this weekend.

Many have been working more than three weeks straight, since dry lightning ignited about 1700 fires throughout the Golden State on June 20th.

Hundreds of new wildfires may spark in the Fresno and Tulare County mountains and local firefighters are just waiting.

“We have pre positioned a lot of resources, especially in Fresno and in the south, trying to get them under control as soon as we can,” said capt. Mike bowman with CAL Fire.

In addition, eight smoke jumpers and their plane, stationed out of Redding, flew to Fresno ahead of potential new fires.

“Our job is to get called, using this aircraft, parachute down to the fire, so we can put it out before it becomes a big one,” said Smoke Jumper Josh Matheisen. “In the last 3 weeks, we’ve done more than we normally do in a season.”

Meanwhile, nearly two dozen CAL-Fire firefighters from the valley are currently battling the massive blaze in Butte County.

Fire officials say one person has found died in the flames, after the Concow area was under a mandatory evacuation.

“This is what can happen if you don’t listen to the sheriff’s Department, listen to Cal Fire, the other fire agencies: it’s time to get out when we say it’s time to get out,” said CAL Fire Spokesperson Melissa Smith.  

More National Guard troops are on their way to California to help fight the fires, even international forces from Australia, Canada, Greece, and Mexico, are sending crews and equipment.

Local crews say they’re going to need all the help they can get.

“We’re worried, we’re absolutely stretched, we have been for 25 days or so,” said capt. Mike bowman with CAL-Fire.

President Bush is expected to come to California this Thursday, to tour the fire damage.

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