AUBURN (CBS13) — With thousands of lightning strikes over the course of two days from this recent storm, fire crews have their eyes on the skies looking for fires.
It’s all hands on deck for Cal Fire crews who monitor the strikes.
“We’ll send our air attack planes up and look for those spots where we know lightning positively made contact with the ground,” said Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant.
National Weather Service meteorologists are working overtime tracking strikes caught by sensors tracking radio waves emitted by lightning.
“On the radio during a lightning storm sometimes you’ll hear it crackle. That’s really all it’s doing,” said meteorologist Eric Kurth.
But not all lightning strikes are equal.
Negatively charged strikes come from the ground and are weaker, causing a hit tree to burn. Positively charged strikes come from the sky with a lot more energy.
“With a positive strike, it may explode,” Kurth said.
But the danger doesn’t stop when the storm passes.
“It may take several days smoldering before it ignites into a wildfire,” Berlant said. “Once the storm leaves, our concern for lightning fires may continue for several days.”