Thursday, June 21 , 2018, 3:48 am | Overcast 61º


Local News

Lightning Strikes Spark Numerous Santa Ynez Valley Brush Fires

Firefighters keep busy with backcountry blazes, but Figueroa Mountain Road fires have been contained; California logs 10,123 lightning strikes in 24 hours

Lightning strikes kept firefighters busy with brush fires in the Santa Barbara County backcountry Saturday. There were no injuries reported in the blazes and authorities said no homes were threatened.

Two fires were reported in the northern Santa Ynez Valley just before 6:30 a.m. Saturday. The bigger blaze, a 35-acre fire in the 9000 block of Figueroa Mountain Road about 10 miles northeast of Los Olivos, was fanned by wind gusts of up to 30 mph. Crews from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and Los Padres National Forest, assisted by a water-dropping helicopter, fought to get the fire contained.

A second fire was reported in the 7600 block of Figueroa Mountain Road but firefighters contained that blaze at two acres, authorities said.

Both fires are under investigation, but officials said lightning was reported in the area early Saturday.

Ken Williams, who lives in the 5100 block of Figueroa Mountain Road, told Noozhawk that thunder and lightning flashes from the overnight storms woke him up Saturday. The Santa Barbara social worker and frequent Noozhawk columnist said early Saturday afternoon that weather conditions continued to be “muggy and warm” but that the wind had died down.

At least four more fires were reported, including a 25-acre fire burning in a remote area of the San Rafael Wilderness. Air tankers were dispatched to drop fire retardant on the blaze.

In all, 10,123 lightning strikes were recorded in California during a 24-hour period that ended at 6 a.m. Saturday, according to in Nevada City. Between 5 and 6 a.m. Saturday, 1,286 downstrikes were recorded.

The majority of strikes was recorded in Southern California, in a band stretching from the coast to the Nevada border, YubaNet said.

The National Weather Service said there is a chance of continued thunderstorms Sunday and Monday in the backcountry. Intermittent thunder was heard along the South Coast through much of Saturday afternoon.

Sunday’s South Coast forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies and temperatures in the upper 60s. Weather officials said a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms will remain in the forecast through Tuesday night.

» Click here for the complete National Weather Service forecast.

» Click here for the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services. Click here to sign up for the OES’ messaging service. Connect with the OES on Facebook.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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