Plumas National Forest firefighters battled a hold-over lightning fire in Butterfly Valley near Quincy on the Mount Hough Ranger District over the weekend.
The Butter Fire was caused by a lightning strike that occurred during a severe storm that hit Butterfly Valley last Monday. The strike hit a thick white fir tree with multiple tops,s, and firefighters had to cut down the tree as the heat was retained in the upper portion from the hit.
The fire broke out in an area previously treated for fuel reduction, which helped minimize its intensity and growth. However, Saturday’s dry conditions resulted in embers falling from the burning tree, igniting the surrounding vegetation and causing the fire to spread. The fire was quickly contained and burned roughly ⅔ of an acre.
Firefighting resources will remain on high alert over the next week as thunderstorms continue to be forecasted, ring more potential for strikes in the forest. Lightning fires can remain dormant for weeks until dry conditions, increased winds, or other factors lead to their spread.
Deputy Forest Fire Management Officer Marty Senter stated that the forest had experienced numerous lightning strikes over the past 11 days. Firefighters are diligently responding to smoke reports and working to suppress lightning fires as quickly as possible.
Photo: A view of hoselay and firefighters working on constructing fireline on the Butter Fire from Plumas NF