Lightning sparks new fires, crews put them out
After rain, lightning, and thunder made its way through the region Friday night into early Saturday morning, it provided some benefits to the firefighting efforts taking place against the Panther Gulch and Evans Creek Fire.
"Before the storm came in, we still had a couple of active fires although they're on the downward slope of where we're going with it. The rain definitely did help Panther Gultch, as well as the East Evans fire," Natalie Weber of the Oregon Department of Forestry said."
"With both of those, we still have crews working on that so to get moisture really did help a little bit and especially with the tough steep terrain, it really got to some of those areas that we've been struggling to get to ourselves so it's very helpful," she said.
While rain was plentiful, that didn't stop lightning from sparking new fires.
The national weather service reported 1600 strikes of lightning in northern California and southern Oregon. The Oregon Department of Forestry found three fires as a result, despite the rainfall.
Two were in the Applegate Valley Area, while one was near Prospect. They were all within 1/100th of an acre in size, so crews were able to easily put them out, according to O.D.F.
While new fires were extinguished, Weber says there is still the potential for more lightning, which means more caution and monitoring by O.D.F.
"We're probably about halfway through, we do have another expected thunderstorm to come through the area on Saturday afternoon so we're still gearing up for that we have our engines that are out monitoring different areas that had lightning strikes yesterday, and they'll be in their patrol areas throughout this afternoon as we start to see those storms pass through," Weber said.
She mentioned that she is grateful for the public's help with calling in smoke sightings which helps in combating new fires as soon a possible.