California County Hit by 1,000 Lightning Strikes in 3 Hours; Firefighters Battle New Blazes

California County Hit by 1,000 Lightning Strikes in 3 Hours; Firefighters Battle New Blazes

Firefighters work to extinguish fires in Eastern Fresno County, California. (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection/Fresno County Fire Protection District)

Jill McLaughlin
Jill McLaughlin


Updated: 6/26/2024


Fire crews in Eastern Fresno County in Central California were working to extinguish multiple blazes after the region was hit by over 1,000 lightning strikes in three hours amid a storm on June 24, according to the Fresno County Fire Protection District.
Although several fires started around the time of the lightning storm, the official cause of the fires has not been released.
Of five wildfires in the area, the Flash fire at Kings Canyon and Cove Road, and the Bolt fire at Palomino Drive and Elwood Road, continued to burn Tuesday afternoon.
Three smaller fires, the Strike fire, MAL fire, and Muscat fire, were extinguished or nearly contained.
The Bolt fire grew to more than 1,700 acres by Tuesday afternoon as firefighters from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) and Fresno County reported 10 percent containment.
The cause of the Bolt fire near the Wonder Valley Ranch Resort, an outdoor recreation resort, remained under investigation, according to a Cal Fire status report.
Approximately nine square miles around the Bolt fire were under an evacuation order, and more than 50 square miles were under an evacuation warning on Tuesday afternoon, according to Cal Fire.
The Flash fire on East Kings Canyon Road in Squaw Valley grew to 980 acres as crews reported 15 percent containment Tuesday, according to a Cal Fire update.
The cause of the Flash fire is also still under investigation, Cal Fire reported.
Both fires are considered part of the Flash Complex fire and located in steep, rocky terrain, making access difficult for firefighters, according to Cal Fire.
No injuries were reported for the two fires and no buildings were reported as destroyed.
Cal Fire and Fresno County fire officials did not return requests for comment and updates on the fires.

Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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