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ODF gears up for more potential lightning-caused fires

The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) has eyes everywhere in Jackson and Josephine counties. Four people sit in its lightning detection center looking for smoke on multiple computer monitors.

Posted: Aug 8, 2019 11:21 PM
Updated: Aug 8, 2019 11:26 PM

CENTRAL POINT, Ore.-- The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) has eyes everywhere in Jackson and Josephine counties. Four people sit in its lightning detection center looking for smoke on multiple computer monitors. They spend the day constantly scanning all 22 of the cameras on its 11 detection sites in two counties.

"Those camera's sole purpose in life is to find smokes as small as we can find them," said Lead Dectection Dispatcher Chris James.

Staff is constantly checking the weather, looking for lightning strikes and listening to different scanners for any fires so they can find them as soon as they are discoverable.

"It's important to find the fires small. The faster that we can detect them, the faster we can get resources out to those fires," James added.

On July 15th, 2019, James said lightning sparked almost 100 fires. He hopes Friday's lightning event doesn't start nearly as many but when the lightning comes, they'll be ready.

"The function of this detection center is to literally find them as small as possible so that we can get on them," James added. "It's safer for the firefighters if we attack them small. It doesn't cost as much. It doesn't create as much smoke if we can put them out quickly."

ODF said you can help crews by preventing any human-caused wildfires from starting. That way, firefighters will be able to focus on putting any of the lightning caused fires out.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 68503

Reported Deaths: 867
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah15561230
Washington940198
Marion8650135
Clackamas568777
Umatilla421248
Lane405040
Jackson357925
Malheur234942
Deschutes207414
Yamhill161516
Linn131019
Polk114015
Douglas88217
Jefferson79811
Union7463
Klamath7454
Benton7447
Morrow6357
Lincoln60014
Wasco49719
Josephine4824
Columbia4573
Coos4061
Hood River3751
Clatsop3450
Baker2703
Crook2086
Grant1301
Curry1202
Tillamook1150
Lake1131
Harney901
Wallowa703
Sherman230
Gilliam210
Wheeler30
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1171802

Reported Deaths: 19025
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3832757580
San Bernardino884691129
Riverside850771434
San Diego75307988
Orange731521559
Kern39990448
Fresno37349477
Sacramento35739566
Santa Clara32454476
Alameda28378502
San Joaquin25675502
Contra Costa23381260
Stanislaus21145422
Tulare20550308
Ventura18914175
Imperial15725356
San Francisco15053160
Monterey14695116
San Mateo13707170
Sonoma11846157
Merced11537179
Santa Barbara11205135
Kings1044087
Solano1003681
Marin7628129
Placer622468
Madera604785
San Luis Obispo595635
Shasta460147
Yolo456174
Santa Cruz420228
Butte385359
Sutter314415
Napa294517
El Dorado21544
Yuba198110
San Benito181316
Lassen17733
Tehama158725
Mendocino148522
Nevada11839
Tuolumne9088
Glenn8918
Lake88619
Humboldt8199
Colusa6946
Siskiyou6242
Mono5243
Amador48416
Calaveras47522
Del Norte3131
Inyo29016
Plumas2050
Trinity1390
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Modoc1220
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