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Firefighters Prepare For Lightning Caused Wildfires

Local firefighters are monitoring terrain as lightning enters the area. Read to find out how fire officials keep a watchful eye for lightning that could spark wildfires.

Posted: Aug. 15, 2018 8:54 AM
Updated: Aug. 15, 2018 8:56 AM

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. -- The Oregon Department of Forestry uses 26 cameras and a sophisticated model to track areas in danger of lightning caused wildfires. Overnight, the region didn't see much activity but the danger is far from over as storms head to parts of northern California and southern Oregon. 

Different agencies use different methods to keep track of fires. The U.S. Forest Service incorporates towers that use man power to monitor the surrounding area and storms. ODF has migrated away from using people on its towers and instead has placed cameras on top the stations. 

Both kinds of towers enable firefighters to pinpoint a strike and send a team to the exact location, often times before the public is even aware of the fire. 

Lightning caused fires also cause problems for firefighters because of the location of the strikes. The strikes tend to be in remote locations with rough and steep terrain. 

The last major storm hit southern Oregon about a month ago and more than a thousand strikes caused 75 fires on ODF protected land. Lightning is responsible for some of this fire season's largest wildfires including the Taylor Creek Fire, Miles Fire and the Garner Complex. 

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