SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — Fire officials are bracing for the possibility of lightning-sparked fires across a wide area of Northern California as a number of thunderstorms move into the region.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant says the agency has increased staffing and is on high alert because of the increased fire danger from so-called dry thunderstorms.
Berlant and forecasters say the thunderstorms in the forecast for the weekend are expected to produce lightning, but very little rain.
Thunderstorms can be a mixed blessing for firefighters because though the precipitation they bring can help douse wildfires, the erratic winds with the storms can also fan the flames.
Fire officials say the thunderstorms are expected to make things more difficult for the 500 firefighters battling a wildfire in a rugged area of the Plumas National Forest.
That blaze has consumed about 6,000 acres, or nearly 9.5 square miles.
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