San Bernardino Mountains, CA, August 23, 2013 – Lightning storms passing through early Monday morning started 22 fires in the San Bernardino National Forest. All but one of the reported fires have been contained under unified command of the San Bernardino National Forest and CAL FIRE, with the assistance of local fire departments.
The one uncontained fire is the Gobblers Fire, which is burning in a steep inaccessible terrain northeast of Gobblers Knob, at the upper end of Lytle Creek. The fire is not threatening any communities at this time. Smoke from the Gobblers Fire is visible from surrounding areas.
Firefighters have been working to suppress the lightning fires with fire engines, hand crews, and helicopter water drops. The US Forest Service is conducting aerial reconnaissance flights each day over the forest to detect any new fires — part of their normal operating plan after lightning storms.
Lightning and thunder storms are common in late summer in Southern California as monsoonal moisture patterns are present. Both need to be taken seriously and cover sought before the arrival of a storm. The exact locations of thunderstorms are difficult to forecast accurately more than a few hours in advance.
Between Sunday evening and Monday morning there were over 25,400 reported lightning strikes in California.