August 13, 2022
McKinney Fire update is a mixed blessing
YREKA - Thunderstorms passed over the McKinney Fire near Yreka, bringing rain that limited fire growth but also throwing out lightning strikes that sparked 12 new small fires in the area, officials said Monday.

These new blazes ranged in size from less than one-tenth of an acre to several acres. "All are being fully suppressed," the U.S. Forest Service said in its latest report on the fire burning near the California-Oregon border.

More thunderstorms were expected, delivering another chance for beneficial rain — but also for lightning and erratic winds that could exacerbate the blaze. The McKinney Fire has killed two people and threatened and destroyed small towns.

"While the weather mitigated fire spread, vegetation in the area is extremely dry and the continued threat of thunderstorms and the associated strong, erratic winds could result in increased fire behavior," the Forest Service said.

National Weather Service forecaster Brian Nieuwenhuis said a weather balloon released Monday to measure the moisture content in the air determined that any storms that do reach the region are likely to bring rain.

"That measurement of moisture that we see in the air is some of the highest we've ever seen for this time of year," said Nieuwenhuis. "The thunderstorms are going to make rain underneath them, but they're going to make wind all around them, too. You also have your lightning concerns with new starts and the safety of the firefighters."

A chance of thunderstorms continues through Wednesday.
Story Date: August 3, 2022
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