DOZENS OF LIGHTNING STRIKES SPARK FIRES AS POWER OUTAGES HIT MOUNTAIN AREAS

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Update August 11 5:30 p.m. - More than 500 lightning strikes have been reported countywide. 

ECM reader Geoffrey Thomas sent us this reassuring eyewitness account from Chihuahua Valley: "Have surveyed the valley from a high vantage point and there is no smoke evident, especially at 30800 Chihuahua Valley Rd...We received and still are, multiple lightning strikes but due to volume of rain 0.2 inches in the last hour there doesn't appear to be anything igniting...There are no aircraft at all due to the severe thunder cells... Everything is very wet up here!"

Deerhorn Valley Antler editor Kim Hamilton says smoke in Jamul turned out to be a false alarm due to a barbecue.

Update 4:45 - Cal Fire responding to more fires but assures all are small and most are "only a single tree."

 Update 4:20 p.m.: A 2-acre lightning fire has also been reported in the Oak/Grove Palomar area in difficult access terrain. There is also a 10-acre fire in the Beaumont area of south Riverside County with smoke visible in San Diego's North County.

August 11, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Lightning has sparked 12 new fires at 30800 Chihuahua Valley Road near Warner Springs, just north of the Chiihuahua Fire already burning in the area. Incident Page Network reports at 3:47 p.m. that air tankers are being diverted to the new fires, which are in difficult access areas. 

A total of 60 lightning strikes have been reported between Julian and Bell Valley, according to a post at www.WildlandFire.com.  A possible hit is also reported in the Green Valley area near Cuyamaca. Yet another fire is reported in Jamul on Honey Springs Road. Scanner traffic also indicates a direct hit on a fire watch tower and a helitac dispatched to a blaze near the La Cima camp above Cuyamaca Lake off theo ld Milk Ranch fire road. 

The Chihuahua Fire has charred approximately 1800 acres and  was 40% contained prior to the lightning strikes.

A lightning fire at Pine Hills and Highway 78 near Julian has been extinguished, Cal Fire confirms. 

SDG&E reports 41 homes in the Descanso/Boulder Creek area are without power due to a suspected problem in the overhead electrical systems.  An ECM reader has indicated that her power in Julian is also out.

If you have information or photos on these or other fires, please contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org and also please post the information in the comments section below to alert other readers as quickly as possible.

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