Lightning caused four small wildfires in Santa Clara, Monterey and San Benito counties as thunderstorms rumbled across the area Sept. 9, the National Weather Service said.

A fire in Santa Clara County charred about one acre west of Coyote Creek, the weather service said. A fire in Monterey County’s Carmel Valley burned less than an acre.

The largest blaze was 1.5 acres in Pinnacles National Park, one of two fires in San Benito County. The second consumed about one acre in the northeast part of the county. 

The weather service tallied 6,037 lightning strikes in the region in the 18 hours ended at 5pm.

Of that number, 85 strikes were positive lightning, which typically carries more current than others and is the most likely to cause fires, said Cindy Palmer, a meteorologist for the weather service forecast office for the Bay Area, in Monterey.

Another 2,200 strikes were negative lightning, the most common form of cloud-to-ground lightning. 

The remaining strikes, more than 3,750, were from cloud to cloud, she said.

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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