Warm temperatures lead to increase in lightning strikes

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Alaska Division of Forestry is reporting more lightning strikes than usual this early in the season.

According to a press release, there have already been nearly 5,000 recorded strikes around the state in the last two weeks. Two thousand four hundred of those happened on Monday, the highest single day this season.

Tim Mowry, the public information officer with the Division or Forestry, says lightning has started a half dozen fires so far this year though, none of the fires are considered a threat at this time. Officials continue to monitor them. Lightning fires typically start away from people, and pose less of a threat, so they are often just allowed to burn.

Mowry says the weather is to blame for the early lightning fires.

"We had a high pressure system move in and when you get hot temperatures as people see, it's a beautiful day and then in the afternoon you get these clouds that roll in, you get a thunderstorm, you get a big heavy shower, and that brings lightning with it. Typically June is more where you see more lightning but when things start to warm up and there is moisture in the air that is where you are really seeing it," said Mowry.