Lightning Sparks Fires in California

State fire officials say that more than 1,500 lightning strikes ignited 81 fires in northern and central California over the weekend, but most are contained.

Department of Fire and Forestry Protection officials said Sunday more fires are likely because of the lack of rain and possible future lightning strikes.

Spokesman Daniel Berlant says the agency’s Santa Clara unit is fighting 20 fires covering 200 acres that are 35 percent contained. The fire’s progress has been stopped.

Meanwhile, the agency’s Tuolumne-Calaveras unit has fully contained the 200-acre Telegraph Fire near Copperopolis.

The Angeles fire burning above Los Angeles is not fully contained yet. Officials were predicting it would be fully contained by today. But it is only 84% contained and officials now say it will be contained on September 19, Saturday.

On Sunday, 1,519 persons were working on that blaze, and the fire’s perimieter was 120 miles long.

Last week, state Insurance Commisioner Steve Poizner anticipated the lightening strikes in Northern California, and the fact that the worst part of the fire season in the state is ahead, and urged Bay Area residents to prepare for the possibility of fire.

He urged residents to update their insurance and to inventory their homes.

Specifically, he advised residents to inventory their belongings using a digital camera and a Home Inventory Guide from the Department of Insurance to catalogue their possessions. He suggested they label each photograph with information about each item. He also suggested homeowners should store copies of important documents, such as the inventory, insurance policies, and receipts, in a safe place like a safe deposit box or work office.

California residents can contact the state department at 800-927-HELP.