Klamath Falls, Ore. – Several powerful storm cells passed over the Klamath Basin Thursday night, pounding the area with lightning.
The Clovis Fire burned five acres in the Pine Grove area around 7:30 that evening.
Roger Vercruysse lives near the burned area. He said, “Just after lightning struck, we went out and looked, and immediately smelled smoke.”
“Started down here at the other end behind me,” said Incident Commander Matt Flock of the Oregon Department of Forestry. “And within a few minutes, we could see it from our office that is on the other side of the lake.”
Flock added that heavy winds were blowing the fire toward homes. “It was actually going right towards another house that was probably another 1000 feet.”
“We could actually see some of the red flames,” recalled Vercruysse. “Pretty heavy duty smoke coming our way.”
While it was too windy to call out helicopters, the rain helped to put out the fires.
Flock was on hand Friday morning as crews worked to make sure the fire doesn’t rekindle. “I think we found 10 smokes already just today.”
Crews will be watching for other lighting sparked fires throughout the area.
“These next few days are going to be the lightning holdover days,” said Flock.
Thursday night’s storm also caused some minor flooding in downtown Klamath Falls, though there have been no reports of any serious damage.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970’s. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.Lyle’s job history is quite colorful.
He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90’s as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.
“The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story”.
When he’s not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.