Tuesday, July 24, 2012

CAL FIRE: Lightning Complex

Lightning Complex Camino – During the past 24 hours, extreme lightning activity in the Amador-El Dorado Unit (AEU) of CAL FIRE has resulted in increased staffing levels across the unit.  There were 1848 lightning strikes in 12 hours and as a result, there have been 16 wildland fires on state responsibility area lands with more expected to surface as the affected areas dry out.

“Firefighting personnel are aggressively suppressing wildland fires in very rugged and often isolated areas covered in timber.  Fires in these outlying areas are a challenge to get to but with the assistance of our air program, we can slow down the fire until ground units arrive” says Incident Commander Brian Estes. Due to this recent thunderstorm activity and current weather forecasts, Unit Chief Kelly Keenan wanted to remind everyone of some basic lightning safety tips:

  • Lightning bolts can strike 10-15 miles from a thunderstorm
  • If you hear thunder then lightning is close enough to be a real threat, seek shelter indoors
  • Lightning does strike the same place twice
  • If you are caught outside during a thunderstorm, move towards a safe shelter
  • The safest shelter is a building with wiring and plumbing.  Sheds, picnic shelters, tents or covered porches do NOT necessarily protect you from lightning
  • Do not use corded telephones unless absolutely necessary
  • Wait for 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder is heard to resume outside activities

Annually 400 people are struck by lightning in the US and about 60 people die from their injuries, the rest can face a lifetime of disabilities including pain and neurological disabilities.

“The best idea is to err on the side of caution, go indoors and stay there until the thunderstorm has passed.  Safety should be priority one for you and your family” adds Chief Keenan.  For more information on lightning safety visit www.weather.gov/os/lightning/ and remember “when thunder roars go indoors.” # # # Teri Mizuhara, Unit Public Information OfficerFire Prevention Specialist II CAL FIREAmador-El Dorado Unit 530.647.5239  desk530.708.2724  cell530.647.5276   fax

No comments: