Lightning increases chance for Sierra fires


Halfway through the fire season, one constant in the era of recurring drought and climate change is that in California there will be several fires burning somewhere most of the year with residual smoke settling in the Central Valley, foothills, and local mountains.  
After the Dinely Fire in early June threatened several Three Rivers homes, wildfire has been a non-factor on the local landscape. Cal Fire, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Forest Service fire crews have mostly been shuttled out of the area to one fire after another burning elsewhere.
Detwiler Fire
The Detwiler Fire that started July 16 in Mariposa County burned 81,826 acres, destroyed 63 homes, and burned or damaged dozens of other structures. As of August 3, it was 95 percent contained and is now shifting to repair operations. The fire’s cause has been determined to be gunfire.
The fact that it never approached the 151,000 acres of the Rough Fire, which was ignited by lightning July 31, 2015, was because firefighters began suppression immediately after the fire was discovered. The Rough Fire, burning in remote terrain, was managed as a prescribed burn for the initial days of the fire but eventually became the largest and most costly fire to suppress in the history of Fresno and Tulare counties.
North Guard Fire
Currently, the only fire burning within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is a two-acre blaze smoldering east of North Guard Creek and south of Bubbs Creek in the remote Kings Canyon high country. The blaze, discovered June 18, was most likely sparked by lightning. It is currently being monitored by aircraft.
Michael Theune, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks fire information officer, said for the last two weeks he has been on assignment at three other fires, the largest being the Modoc July Complex fires in Northern California. 
“It’s surprisingly quiet right now in the local parks but the forecast is showing thunderstorms in the high country,” Mike said. “That means the potential for more lightning strikes.”                                
Theune will provide a fire update at the Three Rivers Town Hall meeting on Monday, August 7. 

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