The National Weather Service said 30 years of data shows August 6 – 12 sees more lightning than any other week, and after Sunday saw lightning spark a pair of fires in the Applegate Valley, firefighters are on high alert.
“We have our detection center staffed up,” said Oregon Department of Forestry Public Information Officer Natalie Weber. “They’re ready and monitoring any potential strikes and ready to look at those on the camera to see if we have a fire started.”
ODF is preparing by calling on more contract crews in order to free up their local resources to respond to lightning or human-caused fires.
“We also just have our crews ready to go and sometimes out in their patrol areas a little bit earlier than normal,” said Weber, “so that if we have a strike in that area, we can get there a little bit faster then if they were responding from headquarters.” ODF said being out in the community gives them a better look at the sky from across the counties.
“While we’re aware of potential lightning in the forecast and we’re ready for that, we’re really always ready for that call,” Weber said.
The U.S. Forest Service said they too are prepping for the week of potential weather. They said they’re ordering more engines, aircrafts and crews to pre-position if there’s lightning—but they said that’s standard practice.