Red flag warning
Low humidity, strong winds and lightning have spurred a red-flag fire warning in the Truckee-Tahoe area through this afternoon.
The warning was issued by the National Weather Service for northeast California and northwest Nevada due to thunderstorms bringing strong winds and isolated lightning strikes with little to no precipitation. The warning will be in effect from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. today.
A 100-square-foot single lightning fire was extinguished by firefighters south of Donner Lake near the snow sheds Sunday, according to Jeff Brand, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Colfax battalion chief. He said the person who reported the fire saw smoke and dialed 911. A tanker plane was also called to help extinguish the fire because of the remoteness of the location.
In response to the red-flag warning, Brand said he called for four more fire engines, a bulldozer and a hand crew to be on standby in Truckee.
“We’re augmenting our resources,” Brand said.
The U.S. Forest Service has a plane that will cover areas where lightning strikes might occur, Brand said. According to CDF spokeswoman Tina Rose, the red-flag warning for the Truckee region is a warning specific to possible lightning strikes.
“In most cases it (lightning) doesn’t turn into anything,” Brand said.
Brand said the Martis Peak Lookout station is not currently being manned, but will be in the near future.
Mark Deutschendorf, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Reno, said the thunderstorms passing through the area have been caused by a combination of warm weather with an available moisture supply. But the lack of substantial rain from the storms has CDF concerned.
“It would take a slow-moving thunderstorm to see any rain,” Deutschendorf said.
He said the Tahoe region still holds quite a bit of moisture in the trees, which aids in lowering the risk of fire danger. In some areas conditions are much drier.
Deutschendorf said Lassen County has been dealing with wild fires caused by lightning strikes.
He said more thunderstorms are predicted for today, with Wednesday bringing the best chance for rain. Deutschendorf said temperatures are supposed to cool down into the low 80s by Thursday.