Thunderstorms May Impact Firefighters Working Rocky Fire

The unpredictable Rocky fire grew to 65,000 acres by Tuesday morning after bursting through the containment line and jumping a highway, sending embers over firefighters, reports The Los Angeless Times (http://lat.ms/1P4StrV)

After the massive wildfire crossed California 20 on Monday afternoon, firefighters battled multiple new spot fires and worked aggressively to dig out lines around the blaze, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

On Tuesday, there were new challenges for firefighters who had hoped the weather would help control the erratic fire.

Brooke Bingaman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento, said an incoming storm could bring thunderstorms to the region. That could mean more headaches for firefighters as thunderstorms bring the possibility of lightning and strong winds.

Thousands of lightning strikes sparked several hundred small wildfires since last week, CalFire said.

“Northern California will continue to see the threat of lightning-sparked wildfires as scattered thunderstorms are likely in northwestern and the upper north part of California,” CalFire officials said Monday.

In California, more than 10,000 firefighters are battling 22 wildfires, including the Rocky fire. Cal Fire officials said tinder-dry conditions allowed the wildfires to burn at an explosive rate. Just this year, Cal Fire crews responded to more than 4,200 wildfires, about 1,500 more than the average for the same period last year.

The Rocky fire has defied most models and computer simulations, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Suzi Brady.

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