Klamath Falls, Ore. – Klamath County was hammered late Wednesday afternoon by rain and lightning, in a storm that brought flooding and fires.
The storm hit Klamath Falls hard, dumping more than a half an inch of rain in a little over an hour.
Storm drains couldn’t cope with the deluge, resulting in flooding in several areas.
Lightning from the storm was recorded by the Oregon Department of Forestry.
“About 2 o’clock is when it all started, picked up a few on the south end here.” Notes the ODF’s Randall Baley, gesturing at a map. “Then it really kind of loosened up, and then when we got up north of the unit here, it hit really hard.”
“We had quite a few strikes through our Klamath unit, and over into the Lake unit.” Confirms Jennifer Case of the ODF. “Starting about 8 fires or so.”
The largest of those fires was two acres.
Crews are still watching for smoldering ‘sleeper’, or ‘holdover’ fires.
“A holdover is one that doesn’t pop up right away, it waits a few days.” Explains Case.
“We’ve had some holdovers that have lasted multiple days.” Adds Baley. “It depends on the air mass, if it’s wet – it takes a little bit for that fire to find the fuels, get enough oxygen and sunlight on it, and dry things out – and they’ll pop up.”
Remote cameras on lookouts will help to spot any holdover fires.
“Then we have an aviation flight that goes around and looks for those as well.” Case points out. “Then we have engines out in those areas. They usually drive around, go to high places to see if they can see anything.”
The fire danger in Klamath and Lake counties remains ‘extreme’.
Fire season east of the Cascades began in early June.
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.