Lightning sparks small wildfires | SierraSun.com

Lightning sparks small wildfires

Liz Kellar
Sun news service

Lightning strikes caused by thunderstorms caused about five more small fires over the weekend.

Eleven total small fires were reported in the Tahoe National Forest since May 25, said Tahoe National Forest dispatcher Cindy Hobbs on Sunday. All were contained with only two still not completely out as of Sunday afternoon, she said.

“We’ve had no major threats,” she said. “We’ve been doing aircraft recon around the area twice a day for the last three days. They didn’t pick up anything new this morning.”

Most of the weather activity, including downpours and some hail, has been occurring on the east side of the Sierra Nevada, Hobbs said.

While the region occasionally sees thunderstorms in June, it is unusual for May, said Tahoe National Forest spokeswoman Ann Westling.

Hobbs said the unsettled weather might continue a few more days. There is a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms in the late morning and afternoon today, extending into the evening, according to the National Weather Service.

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Lightning strikes on the Tahoe National Forest caused a month of fires last summer.

Lightning started more than 2,100 fires across California, including at least 25 in the Tahoe National Forest, on the night of June 21. For the next month, a blanket of smoke covered the region as flames scorched 4,235 acres within the Yuba River watershed before the fires were contained. On the American River, another 20,541 acres burned.