Lightning causes 5 small fires |

Lightning causes 5 small fires

Lightning started five small fires on the Tahoe National Forest Monday, and more are possible from the weather system currently moving through the Sierra Nevada range.

Rain, hail and lightning strikes pounded the mountains above the foothills Monday afternoon, forest spokeswoman Ann Westling said.

“It looks like they’re getting a handle on all these. They’re all burning in fairly moist conditions,” Westling said late Monday. The wet conditions resulted from early-season storms that have passed over the forest since mid-September.

Four of the fires were along the Plumas and Sierra county lines, two in the Gold Lakes-Bassetts area and two northwest of Sierraville near Calpine. The fifth was near Sugar Pine Reservoir, which is north of Foresthill in Placer County.

None of the fires grew to larger than one acre, as wet conditions slowed the blazes enough so firefighters could contain them quickly, Westling said.

But north winds are predicted for later in the week, which could fan any smoldering burns left by lightning into fires.

Today, meteorologists predict a 30-percent chance of thunderstorms and a slight chance of showers tonight, according to the National Weather Service in Sacramento. Highs will be in the mid-50s today, with lows in the mid-40s tonight.

Clear skies are predicted to return for Halloween Wednesday and are projected to stay that way through the weekend. Highs will be in the mid-60s Wednesday through Sunday, with lows in the mid-40s.

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