Fire & Lightning Storms in Sonoma County

Photo By: Erin Holland

Unlike anything we’ve seen before. Hearing the thunder outside, junior Erin Holland snapped a picture of the rare sighting of lightning in the Bay Area. The lightning produced red flag warnings all throughout the county, and eventually sparking wildfires. “It was a feeling of worr[y] but astonishment at the same time,” said Holland.

Article By: Tianna Cooke

Early Sunday morning on August 16, lightning struck the Bay Area, shocking thousands. Many were shocked at the rare-sighting, staying up to capture the moment on their phones. With over 2,500 strikes, the lightning caused vibrations, shaking houses throughout the bay. Junior Erin Holland woke up from the lightning just as it began to start, “I stayed up the whole time and watched it right outside of my window. It was beautiful,” she said. 

Although the lightning may have been beautiful, it caused many red flag warnings throughout the bay. “A lot of people were worried about the potential fires and the red flag warnings, which I get, but the lightning was amazing.” Holland said. 

With the rare occurrence of the lightning, Holland was shocked as she had never seen anything like that before, “It was a beautiful, once in a lifetime experience,” she said. The “once in a lifetime experience” took a quick turn for the worse, as it sparked fires not only in Sonoma County, but all throughout the Bay Area. 

The Walbridge Fire broke out shortly after the lightning struck northwest of Healdsburg. Evacuation orders and warnings quickly took place, evacuating parts of Forestville and Guerneville. Firefighters struggled to contain the fire, as it took them multiple days to get even just a small percentage of containment. 

The fires caused unhealthy air quality, calling for a suggestion by officials to wear a N-95 mask, but that conflicted with the suggested mask to reduce the risk of COVID-19. The masks suggested to help reduce the risk of COVID obviously helps prevent the spread of the virus, but does not protect your lungs from the smoke. Whereas the N-95 mask does little to prevent the spread of the virus, but protects your lungs from the smoke. 

On the morning of September 9th, the fires painted the skies a bright orange, sparking conversation across the country about climate change. The never seen before skies had former president Barack Obama talking, as he took to Instagram to express his worry of the current state of California and our world as a whole. Since then, the fires were extinguished, but unfortunately enough, the dreaded “fire-season” is still active in the Bay Area.

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