8/22/2013 - 10:15 a.m.
Thunderstorms can be a mixed bag for fire fighters. The downstrikes can produce new fires. The outflow winds can produce extreme fire behavior and spread the fire in unpredictable directions. And the rain, which often happens on the tail end of the storm, can significantly slow down the fire spread and reduce fire intensity.
It sounds like all of the above happened on the Hough Complex. Yesterday fire activity increased as the storms moved into the area. Downstrikes produced at least three new fires. But the big effect today is the rain. Lookouts in the area are reporting between a quarter and a half inch of rain.
This will be a big boost to firefighters today and should be a big help in their efforts to contain the remaining uncontained fires.
The only problem with rain from thunderstorms is that it tends to be very localized. One spot might receive a significant amount of rain and a half mile away there may have been little or no rain.
The low pressure system that helped produce the thunderstorms is moving out of the area to the northeast reducing the threat of thunderstorms locally today. But there is still a chance of a few lingering storms and the area remains under a red flag warning for thunderstorms.