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Lightning triggers mountain brush fires; Los Angeles gets light drizzle [Updated]

June 3, 2009 | 12:06 pm

Rainy [Updated at 1:15 p.m.: There are now at least 15 lightning-related fires, including at least five in the San Gorgonio Wilderness. The McKinley fire has spread to about 150 acres, but officials say it has mostly been contained. State Route 330 has been reopened.]

Lightning strikes sparked several small fires in the San Bernardino National Forest and closed a portion of State Route 330, authorities said.

The lightning was part of a storm system that brought light drizzle to parts of Los Angeles along with cool temperatures.

The largest fire, named the McKinley Fire, spread to about 100 acres, said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Norma Bailey.

"We certainly did have a big storm overhead," she said.

Bailey said lightning began to strike the forest about 8:30 a.m. and that there were a total of at least eight strikes that sparked blazes. Most of the fires were just "spot" fires or ones that were held to less than an acre, she said.

One, named the Cactus Fire, was sparked in the San Jacinto Mountains. Another was a quarter-acre fire named the Cucamonga fire.

Terri Kasinga, a spokeswoman for Caltrans, said Route 330 was closed about 9:30 a.m. and that officials were not sure when it would reopen.

Stan Wasowski, a spokesman for the National Weather Service, said lightning continued to strike in the area. Authorities said rain also was falling there.

-- Ari B. Bloomekatz

Map: National Weather Service

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