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Over 40 Fires Caused by Single Montana Lightning Storm, 25 Percent of Strikes Started a Fire

Photo by dobrinminkov/ Getty Images

A network of five fires north of Thompson falls Near Highway 2 is currently being fought by over 200 firefighters. Often a fire system like this would be renamed as a complex, but each of these fires, including the larger Lazier Creek Fire, is keeping its own name.

“One of the complex things about this fire is that it actually covers three counties and three different forests,” said Fire information officer Mark Bosburgh. “It covers federal land, state land and private land. When these fires cover multiple dispatch zones, the system that sends firefighters out to the fires, they don’t like to complex those fires across multiple dispatch areas.”

Bosburgh says all of the fires started at roughly the same time and that investigators are certain they know what started the system.

“These were clearly lightning caused fires, we have a real good handle on that,” Bosburgh said. “It was a system that came through last Friday evening and we actually had 40 fire starts from that system. I just heard some data today from our fire behavior folks that a quarter of those lightning strikes caused fires.”

Bosburgh says cooler temperatures and more humidity made firefighting easier on Tuesday and Wednesday, but that the team is worried about the expected warm up later this week.

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