Lightning sparks 25 fires in Tahoe National Forest |

Lightning sparks 25 fires in Tahoe National Forest

Fire crews are aggressively attacking 25 small fires started by 411 lightning strikes in the Tahoe National Forest since last Friday.

This morning, the service sent out a reconnaissance flight to survey the forest for any new smoke rising from Sierra ridges. Three lookout towers are also being used to detect rising smoke.

The National Weather Service has forecasted more thunderstorms in the Sierra.

“We are expecting additional activity today,” said Ann Westling, Public Affairs Officer for the Tahoe National Forest.

Crews numbering more than a 100 have contained 10 fires using heavy equipment, air tankers, smoke jumpers and hand labor. The fires are located in steep terrain and are sometimes difficult to spot, Westling said.

Summer thunder storms are common in the Sierras yet fires are stopped by forest service crews when lightning strikes, Westling said.

“We do not let fires burn. We aggressively attack them,” Westling said.

In the Sierra Buttes, two out of three fires have been contained. Between Sierraville and Truckee, 18 fires have been confirmed and 7 have been contained. Several others are burning near Stampede Reservoir and north of Independence Lake. One fire is burning in the American River drainage.

The largest fire so far was a three to five acre fire near Sierra Brooks subdivision south of Loyalton.

In Plumas County, crews have moved around the Antelope Complex Fire which is now 53 percent contained. The fire has burned 22,882 acres and lightning has sparked 12-15 new fires. More thunderstorms are predicted for the region and no containment date has been set.

The Antelope fire is currently staffed with 1,500 firefighters and personnel, making it the greatest staffing commitment in Northern California. To date, one structure has been destroyed.

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