U.S. Forest Service tracks lightning fires and strikes

The U.S. Forest service dispatch center tracks and looks for any fires caused by lightning strikes.

Posted: Jun 19, 2019 11:14 AM
Updated: Jun 19, 2019 11:16 AM

SHASTA TRINITY NATIONAL FOREST, Calif. - Over the weekend nine small fires were started because of lightning strikes in the Shasta Trinity National Forest.

In total over 176 lightning strikes were reported, all of which now have to be tracked by the U.S. Forest Service dispatch center in Redding.

As a young man doing this I thought it was really cool that you push out a dispatch and there’s several million dollar’s worth of equipment rolling” joked Mark Luker, Dispatch Manager for the Shasta Trinity National Forest. “now as I’m older I think that’s not as cool as it used to be but it’s still pretty darn cool”

A dispatch center is an incredibly important part of any emergency agency for Luker it's more than just a job.

When asked about the defining moments of his over 20-year career as a dispatcher Luker answer “all of its defining it makes us who we are”

Lightning fires aren’t uncommon in the National forest especially as the ground starts to dry out.

“it can become a very serious issue for us but we’ve been pretty fortunate this year and had a pretty wet winter and we still have a snowpack” Says Luker “we do have some [fires] that are trying so that’s telling me that things are trying to dry out on us right now.”

You can find a list of all of those small fires here: Link

Luker says that in years past when the drought was at its peak a storm like the one over the weekend would have.

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It took a few hours, but the sun broke through the clouds over most of northern California Tuesday afternoon. The low clouds, fog and light rain showers return to the valley Wednesday, with snowy weather in the mountains.
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