Lightning strikes spark fires across the region on stormy night


An electric night of lightning strikes started several fires across the region.

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Wednesday’s night’s thunderstorm didn’t bring much rain but hundreds of lightning strikes had Rural Fire Service crews on high alert.

Canobolas Zone NSW RFS Inspector Brett Bowden said one strike on a fence on Waldegrave Road at Springside melted barbed wire and started a fire which crews responded to at 7.20am on Thursday.

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ELECTRIC NIGHT: Canobolas Zone RFS Inspector Brett Bowden examines a lightning tracker showing the spread of strikes across the Orange region on Wednesday night.

Inspector Bowden said they had also responded to overhead wires arcing on Banjo Paterson Way near Yeoval just after midnight.

He said lightning started a fire on Wenz Lane near Canowindra and another at Red Hill, near Manildra.

On Wednesday crews put out a two hectare grass fire off Broula Road near Cowra which was ignited by lightning.

Inspector Bowden said they anticipated up to a dozen fires would be detected across the region as the smouldering developed.

“We expect more smoke will become visible as the day warms,” he said.

“We’ve got a pretty good lightning tracker system.”

To assist crews spotting the outbreaks the RFS sent up a reconnaissance flight from 11am to about 4pm to monitor the Central West covering an area from Young to Dubbo, Mudgee and Condobolin.

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BLAZE: Crews respond to a fire at Springside.

“It’s a normal thing after significant lightning activity. It’s a lot of lightning actually,” he said.

“It is the quick way we can identify where the lightning strikes have happened.”

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START: The RFS crew found the melted metal on a fence hit by lightning at Springside.

Inspector Bowden said with a pattern of hot weather forecast to continue until Sunday, crews would be watching for outbreaks.

Orange State Emergency Services controller Kim Stephens said the storm had not caused much damage around Orange.

He said it brought down a tree on Boree Lane which blocked the road.

Mr Stephens said the tree was removed by SES workers on Thursday.

The official weather station at Orange Regional Airport recorded 4.4 millimetres of rain from 11pm on Wednesday to 4am Thursday.