Dry lightning raises Northern California fire danger

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The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) has increased its staffing due to the dry lightning and strong winds that have hit Northern California.

A low pressure system along the coast is bringing subtropical moisture, which is causing isolated thunderstorms across northern and central California, many of which have little to no rain with them.

Considerable lightning has already begun and is likely to continue into Thursday, according to a Cal Fire press release issued Wednesday afternoon. Dry lightning has already sparked over a dozen fires in the Sierra Nevada and northeastern California.

Ahead of Wednesday’s predicted dry lightning, Cal Fire staffed its reserve fire engines, made additional inmate fire crews available 24 hours a day and has held all personnel on duty. In addition to department preparations, Cal Fire is in communication with local, state and federal partners, including the U.S. Forest Service, the California National Guard and the California Emergency Management Agency.

“This year we have seen a significant increase in lightning-sparked fires in California,” said Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott in the release. “With the already tinder-dry conditions, this lightning storm system has elevated the fire danger even higher for this week.”