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Lightning causes at least three fires Monday, more lightning predicted Tuesday and Wednesday

August 20, 2013

Mammoth Lakes Fire Department firefighters put out one of the three known treetop fires in Mammoth that were a result of the Monday afternoon storm. Photo/Cheryl Hogan

A flurry of lightning strikes right above the town of Mammoth Lakes Monday afternoon, Aug. 19, left at least three trees on fire in three different areas of town and firefighters from both the Town of Mammoth Lakes and the Inyo National Forest scrambling to put them out.

Although the fires, which started at about 3 p.m. Monday, are now out, there is still the potential for more lightning strikes Tuesday and Wednesday, said Thom Heller, a fire fighter with the Mammoth Lakes Fire Department.

Some trees could have been hit but have yet to show smoke or flames, he said, so it is important that residents stay alert.

“There were three known strikes but we are still watching for others,” he said. “We are expecting more of the same kind of weather today and tomorrow,” he said Tuesday afternoon.

Heller said the three trees were located near the Knolls, near Camp High Sierra and near the Ski Back trail.

The lightning struck trees that were about 130 to 140 feet tall, he said, leaving the top 30 to 40 feet burning. Alert residents called the fire department within minutes of the strikes and by the time evening fell, all the fires were out, he said.

If you see a fire, call the fire department at 934-2300, or call 911.

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