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Lightning strikes spark forest fires

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Early morning lightning sparked nine fires in the Tahoe National Forest Sunday. Crews were also fighting eight fires within the American River Ranger District as of Sunday afternoon. By Sunday night, the Tahoe National Forest fires were contained, with crews set to continue mop-up operations on six of the blazes Monday, according to Bob Sopp, dispatcher at the Cal Fire Incident Command Center in Grass Valley. About 25 strikes of lightning set off Tahoe forest’s incidents. As of Sunday, the fires were in remote locations and about 1 acre or less, according to a news release from Ann Westling, Tahoe Forest spokeswoman. Fourteen water engines, one water tender, seven crews, one air tanker and two air attack ships were dispatched to the locations. In the American River district, three fires were found southwest of Duncan Peak, four fires are north of Mosquito Ridge Road in the Peavine — Big Oak Flat area and one fire was about 1.5 miles from the Forest Service seed orchard. An additional fire was reported five miles west of Graniteville in the Yuba River Ranger District in northern Nevada County. “We have strong initial attack forces on these fires to keep the acreage small,” Jeanne Pincha-Tulley, Tahoe National Forest fire chief, said in a news release. “We are optimistic regarding our progress but all depends on the predicted afternoon winds.” Warmer weather along with lower humidity as high pressure builds over the region is forecast for the upcoming week. ~ Staff report