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Lightning pummels Klamath County

Twenty-three lightning strikes hit Jackson County over a 24-hour period Monday and today, but that's nothing compared to the atmospheric assault that rained down on Klamath County.

Between 7 a.m. Monday and 7 a.m. today, Klamath County was peppered with more than 600 air-to-ground strikes, according to the National Weather Service.

Modoc County, California, just across the border from Klamath County, saw nearly 950 strikes, said meteorologist Misty Firmin.

"The big winner was Modoc County," Firmin said.

A majority of the strikes in Jackson County were confined to the northeast portion of the county. So far, the Oregon Department of Forestry has no confirmed fire starts, according to agency public information officer Melissa Cano. ODF crews this morning were patrolling areas where confirmed strikes hit.

"We’re probably going to be chasing smoke all day," Cano said.

Information about new wildfire starts on U.S. Forest Service lands was not immediately available. On Monday, wildland firefighters reported the Chetco Bar fire, burning in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness just north of the Chetco River, had grown to more than 1,400 acres in size. That fire was lightning-sparked and has been spreading slowly, officials said.

A red flag warning, issued by the weather service when "critical fire weather conditions" are in place, will be in effect from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. today. It's the second day for such a warning in the region.

Jackson County is expected to see a bit more thunderstorm activity today, though the lion's share of the thunder and lightning is expected to the east.

— Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.

Mail Tribune / File Photo