This week marks the two-year anniversary of the massive CZU Lightning Complex Fire that scorched more than 86,000 thousand acres in Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties.
It was lightning that started the CZU Lightning Complex Fire and on Wednesday, with lightning strikes reported in the same area Cal Fire crews are on high alert.
Cal Fire crews rushed to respond to several reports of lightning strikes Wednesday. They were detected by fire surveillance cameras, special weather apps and phone calls from people in the area.
“We had a few strikes in the area King Mountain in San Mateo County. We had a few strikes in the far area of Crystal Springs reservoir area. In Santa Cruz County, we had few large grouping of strikes above the landfill near Dimeo Lane,” said Jed Wilson, Deputy Chief of Cal Fire’s San Mateo and Santa Cruz Unit.
Crews from Cal Fire’s Fall Creek station near Felton used a wildland engine to investigate a nearby strike.
“We’ll follow GPS to that location. Sometimes, it’s not always accessible with the engine. But if it’s not, we will hike our way in,” said Anthony Medios of Cal Fire’s CZU Unit.
So far, ground crews gave not spotted any active fires, but they’re not taking any chances.
“This afternoon, we’re doing a reconnaissance flight with our Aerotack just to fly over and to confirm there’s no fires that we may have missed,” Wilson said.
Drought conditions, tinder dry brush and heat only increase the risk a lightning strike can quickly lead to a large fire, which is why Cal Fire has beefed up staffing and brought in volunteer firefighters.
Ben Lomond resident Mike Martyn, who survived the CZU Fire, appreciates the proactive approach.
“Once the fire gets into the woods and goes, It is horrible, the fire goes so fast,” he said.
Source: NBC Bay Area