Lightning causes small fires, risk continues in Nevada County | TheUnion.com

Lightning causes small fires, risk continues in Nevada County

Afternoon storms caused numerous lightning strikes and small fires Tuesday throughout the Tahoe National Forest, and that trend is expected to continue through Thursday night, according to the National Weather Service.

Lightning struck 289 times in the Tahoe National Forest Tuesday and caused six small fires. Eighty six strikes and three fires were in the Yuba River Ranger District, which includes western Nevada County, according to Michael Woodbridge, a public affairs officer for the national forest.

Two of the fires that started Tuesday are now contained and the other four are still in progress, but Woodbridge said none are of major concern. Most of the fires include a single tree and surrounding vegetation, he said.

The National Weather Service in Sacramento has issued a red flag warning for abundant lightning through 11 p.m. Thursday.

Mike Kochasic, a meteorologist with the service, said a pattern of afternoon storms will likely continue into the weekend, but chances of precipitation are expected to decrease Friday.

The remnants of Tropical Storm Lidia are bringing instability and moisture over the mountains, Kochasic said, resulting in storms during the afternoons, when the sun is hottest.

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Lightning can strike up to 10 miles from the center of a storm, according to Kochasic.

"If you can hear thunder, you're at risk for lightning," he said.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Pera, email mpera@theunion.com or call 530-477-4231.

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