Cal Fire Working to Detect Lighting Fires

Cal Fire Working to Detect Lighting Fires

Posted: May 23, 2018 6:06 PM
Updated: May 23, 2018 6:23 PM

REDDING, Calif - Thunder and lightning are expected to roll through the mountains Wednesday night.

But with each lightning strike that hits, there’s a chance for fire.

That’s why Cal Fire and the National Forest Service are teaming up, and taking flight, to detect any possible strike that could become a problem.

“The last couple weeks we have has a barrage of thunderstorms and we are here trying to detect where they hit,” said Air Tanker Base Manager Jeff Ridley.

The aerial work began last week when the departments detected two incidents in the Shasta National Forest.
Both were attacked early.


So now, the departments are heading back up, to fly over each mapped location where lightning has struck.

“We’re given maps from the forest. The night before they were able to collect data where the lightning strikes occur and they put that on a map that which we put on iPad. So we can see where we are compared to where the strikes are and it just helps us get a better pinpoint,” said air attack pilot Adam Roberts.

The difficult part of this recon mission is, even if lightning strikes on Wednesday, a fire may not spark until weeks later.

“Sometimes it can take several days for a fire that might be smoldering. I’ve detected a fire up to three weeks after the lightning storm,” added Ridley.

But for now, both Cal Fire and the National Forest Service, are doing everything they can to get past this week’s thunderstorm.

“We went out yesterday we put about six hours on the forest. We didn’t find any new starts but we were able to see the starts we found the day before that were put out and no more smoke was showing,” said Roberts.

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