Lightning started 19 fires in Sequoia National Forest, officials said

PORTERVILLE, Calif. - Hundreds of lightning strikes started a total of nineteen fires in the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument last week, officials said.

The storms that brought the lightning also brought a few rain showers which helped firefighters put out these fires.  However, the rain was not widespread nor was it enough to lower the fire danger, officials said.

Lightning caused fires can go undetected for days or weeks until forest materials dry enough to allow flames to spread to the surface.  There is a chance more fires could still be discovered in the coming weeks, officials said.

The Forest continues to be in fire restrictions, which means no campfires or charcoal barbecues anywhere in the Forest or Monument until enough rain falls to reduce this risk of wildfire. 

The Forest Service asks visitors to call ahead to check on conditions and obtain weather forecasts prior to travel in the mountains. 

Many wildfires are caused by people, due to lack of information, education, or awareness regarding; proper outdoor equipment use; safe towing, proper maintenance, tire pressure, etc. of vehicles; and industrial work.

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