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Treebeard's Stumper
1 October 1999

Unlucky Strikes

The week before school began, lightning started the Camuesa Fire near Red Rock. Julie and I were hiking up Mono Creek that day, into the remote Dick Smith Wilderness behind the fire. That trail starts after a two hour drive on a dead-end dirt road. We smelled smoke and got out as fast as we could! On our drive out, we saw dozens of lightning strikes in the backcountry mountains, but only one started a fire. Lightning is the major natural cause of wildfires. But why do direct lightning strikes to ground usually not start fires?

Fire on the hills
Lightning-caused Camuesa Fire burning into the backcountry behind Red Rock on August 26, 1999.

Answer


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Copyright © 1999 by Marc Kummel / mkummel@rain.org