More than 500 firefighters succeeded in containing a blaze late
Sunday that ravaged 14,988 acres and three mobile homes in New
Cuyama, only to see a bolt of lightning start up a fresh fire
several miles away on Monday. Because of fire crews’ proximity to
the second burn, they were able to contain it before it consumed
more than 55 acres. More crews continue to come to the region as
lightning storms persist. According to Helen Tarbet of the National
Forest Service, fires started by lightning are among the most
unpredictable. If a pine tree gets zapped, for instance, it can
heat the sap up to a boiling point, causing the tree to explode as
many as five days after the lightning struck. Lightning also
ignites simmering blazes in green vegetation. When lightning
strikes remote areas prone to fire, meteorologists use sensors that
measure the electricity in the air to pinpoint where the lightning
hit and direct firefighters to a potential fire.


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