Orange County fire watch crews out for first time this fire season

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Orange County and parts of San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties are under a Red Flag fire danger warning until 11 p.m. Lightning storms are moving into the area from the south.

The lightning storms could bring winds and dry lightning, which could mean trouble for firefighters.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service say, so far, lightning is striking about twice a minute, with very little rain.

The storm has wind gusts of 35 to 45 miles an hour. That means lightning-sparked fires can spread fast, at least initially, and there could be a lot of them.

The Irvine Ranch Conservancy and other fire watch programs have deployed fire watch lookouts for the first time this fire season. They deploy volunteer fire watch programs during Red Flag warnings.

Usually the crews look for people up to something suspicious, but this time, they will be looking for lightning strikes.

There is some relief in sight, though. The National Weather Service expects what it calls “more wetting rains” to move into the area tomorrow and Saturday.