By Sharon Ko
MEDFORD, Ore. — Dozens of lightning strikes hitting Jackson County has officials looking closely at the forest floors. Fire officials fear those lightning strikes are silently waiting to possibly smother into aggressive fires.
The Oregon Department of Forestry says lightning struck Jackson County about 23 times. As of now, officials have not seen any that are putting up smoke. Those lightning strikes hit mostly in south Medford and near the California border. ODF also recorded some lightning strikes in parts of Douglas County.
Officials say the heavy rainfall with the lightning strikes on Monday is helping. But as it is with lightning-caused fires, fires can pop up days later after a storm.
“Lightning striked trees have been known to kind of hold in a secret for weeks sometimes and you know, I think the record for us that I can recall anyway has been a month,” says Oregon Department of Forestry fire prevention specialist, Brian Ballou.
Fire officials say the pattern of storms coming in this year is similar to last summer and there were several crew members checking out the forest floors on Tuesday. ODF has several cameras set up on mountaintops near the Applegate Valley and Grants Pass to continue monitoring possible fires.