Recent thunderstorms in the Northstate bring back terrifying memories for Manton residents.
"The only thing I'm afraid of in life is wildfire," stated Kristy Coffee, wine representative for Indian Peak Vineyards in Manton.
Lightning strikes ignited the devastating August 2012 Ponderosa fire in Tehama County. Flames spread quickly, gutting 52 homes, 80-plus outbuildings and blackened more than 20,000 acres.
Dry blots from the sky can smolder in the Earth’s soil for days, then spread into a full-blown wildfire.
The two year anniversary of the Ponderosa fire is just a few months away. With recent thunderstorm activity in late May, those near where flames scorched Manton are concerned they could potentially happen again this summer.
"It's pretty early in the year still. We still have a little bit of moisture in the ground. It's more July and August that when we hear that there's thunder and thunder storms and all that – no, no, no, we don't want it. We're doing our rain dances," Coffee said.
Many people living in Manton take CAL FIRE’s heed, to heart. They work diligently to keep ample defensible space around their homes and even the area wineries.
"I survived the Ponderosa fire … all I can say is that it's absolutely terrifying," described Coffee.
CAL FIRE crews say the Northstate is highly prone to dry lightning, typically in the late summer months. Those strikes can ignite multiple fires, all at once, in remote mountain areas. Both of those circumstances added to the Ponderosa wildfire’s destruction.