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Lightning sparks small fires, more expected

 Posted: 10:05 AM July 11, 2014

Today's lightning storms have wildfire crews chasing small spot-fires early and they likely will continue to do so often as more lightning bursts are forecast today.

Early thunderstorms that dumped heavy rains in the Williams and Murphy area also triggered lightning strikes believed responsible for three reported spot-fires near Woodrat Mountain in southwestern Jackson County and a fourth near Murphy, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Fire crews were chasing after those columns of smoke spotted early and reported to fire crews, state forestry spokesman Brian Ballou says.

The National Weather Service has forecast today's heaviest thunderstorm activity to be later this afternoon.

"We got on it early and we expect to be chasing smokes all day long," Ballou says.

— Mark Freeman

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