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Wildfires

Phoenix

US: Lightning sparks fires in Northern Nevada

Dry, hot conditions and lightning strikes sparked at least seven fires in the Reno-Sparks area Sunday, while smoke from fires in California continued to blow into the Reno area.

Info

Firefighters in stalemate against California blazes

Firefighters in Northern California battled more than a thousand wildfires to a stalemate by Sunday, but forecasters said dangerous conditions would not relent anytime soon.

No new major fires had broken out Sunday as fire crews inched closer to getting some of the largest blazes surrounded, according to the state Office of Emergency Services.



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©AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
Brandon Hoefs, of Nebraska, a member of the Mid Plains Interagency fire crew, turns away from a wildfire as it nears the deck of a home on Partington Ridge Rd. south of Big Sur, Calif., Friday, June 27, 2008. Fire crews continue to fight the Basin Complex fire, which is burning in the Los Padres National Forest near the coastal town of Big Sur.


But a "red flag warning" - meaning the most extreme fire danger - was still in effect for Northern California until 5 a.m. Monday. And the coming days and months are expected to bring little relief.

Forecasters predicted more thunderstorms and dry lightning through the weekend, similar to the ones that ignited hundreds of fires a week ago. Meanwhile, a U.S. Forest Service report said the weather would get even drier and hotter as fire season headed toward its traditional peak in late July and August.

Health

Smoky skies threaten health in fiery California

Hundreds of lightning-sparked wildfires have turned the air of Northern California into an unhealthy stew of smoke and ash, forcing the cancellation of athletic events and other outdoor activities.

Cloud Lightning

Colorado, US: Most wildfires blamed on lightning

More than a dozen wildfires have been sparked in Colorado in the past week, most by "dry lightning," and the biggest has burned more than 1,100 acres in Park County.

The Nash Ranch fire, which started Thursday afternoon east of Guffey, forced the evacuation of about 150 homes, said Linda Balough, a Park County spokeswoman.

Two structures - a shed and camper trailer - have been lost to the blaze, Balough said.

About 125 fire fighters, including a Rocky Mountain Area Type II Incident Management Team, swarmed into the Guffey area to battle the blaze, she said.

Dry conditions, swirling winds and high temperatures have combined to make this year an active fire season.



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©The Colorado Springs Gazette | KEVIN KRECK
A single engine air tanker drops retardent on the fire burning near Guffy, Colo., Friday, June 27, 2008.


Better Earth

US: Unusual lightning storm starts series of wildfires

Fire crews already spread thin fighting blazes across California are dealing with a flurry of new fires on the North Coast caused from an unusual and powerful lightning storm that struck on Friday.

As of Saturday evening, CAL FIRE reported that approximately 37 lightning-caused fires were started during the past 24 hours in widely scattered areas of its Humboldt-Del Norte Unit.

Phoenix

Barn razed in wildfire east of Colorado Springs

One building and a corral burned today after dry lightning strikes ignited at least four grass fires that were nourished by strong wind gusts.

El Paso County Sheriff's Lt. Lari Sevene said authorities received at least six calls about 2 p.m. of fires in the area, roughly 15 miles east of Colorado Springs.

Sevene said deputies notified residents in a "a handful - maybe three or four" homes to evacuate or prepare to evacuate. No injuries to people or animals were reported.

Two of the fires were under control by 4 p.m. Wednesday.

As of 5:00 p.m., some 1,000 acres had been consumed by four separate fires.

Cloud Lightning

Colorado, US: Firefighters say fire near NORAD likely sparked by lightning

Firefighters say a wildfire that broke out in grass and scrub oak near Cheyenne Mountain may have been started by lightning.

Colorado Springs Fire Lt. Brian Keys says the five-acre fire Friday likely was sparked by a lighting strike Thursday that smoldered.

Bizarro Earth

Montana wildfires reaching historic proportions

Depending upon who's talking, this year's fire season has already passed by the 2000 and 2003 seasons as the worst since 1910.



©David Erickson / Whitefish Pilot
Scattered flames mark the eastern boundary of the Skyland Fire near the town of Heart Butte on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation on Aug 1 just after midnight.


That supposition is based on where the state is now with maybe one more month of fires ahead before a good rain or snow finally extinguishes the fires for good.

To make matters worse, seven new lightning-caused fires were detected Tuesday in the Swan Lake area, despite a light rain.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning keeps Washington firefighters busy

Firefighters tried to contain several dozen lightning-caused fires in Washington state on Saturday, as more thunderstorms swept through the region.



©AP
The red lights of fire trucks, right, are seen as firefighters prepare defend homes against a fast moving wildfire Friday night, July 13, 2007, in Asotin County, Wash.


Close to 2,700 lightning strikes were reported in Washington and Oregon on Friday and early Saturday, sparking 212 fires, but firefighters quickly contained most of them. Three of the largest remaining fires had burned nearly 43 square miles of grass, sagebrush and farm fields in south-central Washington, and only one had been contained by early Saturday afternoon.

Attention

Update! Dozens of wildfires ravage West - Utah one of the largest in history

Overnight rain and cooler temperatures slowed a South Dakota wildfire, as other fires blackened the landscape in California, Utah, Nevada, Washington, Colorado, Montana and Oregon.



©noaa


Many of the fires were started by lightning and fueled by dry conditions, made worse by a heat wave that sizzled across the western United States last week.

The South Dakota fire had raced out of a canyon, destroyed 27 houses and killed a homeowner who went back to try to save his belongings, a top fire official said early Monday.

The change in weather gave firefighters a chance to shore up their fire lines, though conditions could shift again for the worse, state wildland fire coordinator Joe Lowe told crews at a morning briefing held in light rain.

"This fire is not over yet," he cautioned. "This fire could come back to life again."