Storm brings flooding, fires to Klamath County

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.

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