Lightning Fires and Smoke

Lightning storms last week sparked numerous fires in the Eastern Sierra and beyond. Most of the fires were small and did not spread, but one fire near Lake Isabella, on the Kern River, did grow, sending smoke to the Eastern Sierra.

Forest Service officials noted 1500 down strikes of lightning in the storms that moved into the Eastern Sierra Friday. These strikes led to six fires. The fires in the Eastern Sierra were mostly single tree strikes that didnt burn more than a few square feet. One fire reported in the Coyote Flat area was not found by firefighters.

So far this fire season, the Eastern Sierra has been spared the thick smoke from fires burning in the dense forests on the west side of the Sierra, but streaks of smoke and haze were visible in the Owens Valley Monday morning. With no major fires in the Eastern Sierra, the smoke appeared to be coming from the 560 acre Bodfish fire near Lake Isabella.

Kern County Fire officials report that the Bodfish Fire started Thursday after a lightning storm hit the region. Kern County, BLM, Forest Service and CalFire crews fought the flames through the weekend and are now in mop up mode as the fire is listed at 90% contained.

This should help diminish the smoke in the air over the Eastern Sierra.

Adding to the mix this year, the National Park Service plans two prescribed fires in Sequoia Kings Canyon this week. One of the fires is set to cover 98 acres and the other, 39 acres and is designed to reduce the fire danger around the Wuksachi Lodge. Both are scheduled to be lit Tuesday if conditions allow, and burn for about three days.

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