About 5 PM this evening the Big Valley and surrounding areas were hit by a series of thunderstorms with many ground lightning strikes. Fire crews were kept busy late into the evening chasing the many fires started.
Air Tankers and helicopters were first called to a at least 2 fires about 5 miles north of Adin in the Harper Hill area. This fire had burned about 500 acres by Tuesday evening.
About 10 PM a fire was reported near the end of Punkin Center Rd. outside Bieber. A Bieber fire engine, 2 dozers and 2 con-camp firefigher trucks were seen going to the fire. This fire was estimated to have burned about 300 acres by Tuesday evening.
As of Tuesday evening CDF reported that there wer 17 incidents in the area ranging from spot fires to 500 acres. 6 fires were being staffed with a total of 41 engines, 14 crews, 6 water tenders, 4 dozers a helicopter and a CDF spotter airplane. All the fires were caused by severe lightning storms which pounded the area for 2 days.
Most of the lightning hit the ground with little or no associated rain, but some very strong rainstorms occurred, one hitting Bieber on Monday evening causing a sudden strong downpour. Another local storm cell associated with heavy lightning hit Bieber about 7PM Tuesday which dropped 4 tenths of an inch in about 20 minutes.
Fire equipment was called in from surrounding areas and the Bieber CDF station was noticeably full of equipment an firefighters.