Thunderstorms rain fire-starting lightning on Oregon

Thunderstorms rain fire-starting lightning on Oregon
Map of 72 hours worth of lightning strikes, through August 12, 2014. Courtesy Oregon Department of Forestry. Color codes: RED: within the past 0-1 hour | ORANGE: within the past 1-6 hours | YELLOW: within the past 6-12 hours | GREEN: within the past 12-24 hours | SEA GREEN: within the past 24-48 hours AQUA BLUE: within the past 48-72 hours | DARK BLUE: over 72 hours

EUGENE, Ore. - Zap. Zap. Zap. Zap. Zap ... repeat.

Thunderstorms battered Oregon this week as the state experienced a period of "critical fire weather," as defined by the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center.

Mike Cafferata, Forest Grove District Forester with the Oregon Department of Forestry, put together a map of recent lightning strikes through the end of the day Tuesday. The agency shared the map on Facebook Wednesday.

Firefighters from local, state and federal agencies have been working to extinguish new wildfires.

Many parts of Western Oregon saw increased humidity and even a little rainfall Tuesday into Wednesday, helping slow the growth of new fires.

State foresters asked the public to continue to be safe with fire on public and private lands.

"Oregon's fire agencies are stretched to the max with initial and extended attack throughout Oregon, as well as patrol and reconnaissance for new fire starts," the Oregon Department of Forestry said in a statement Wednesday. "More human-caused fire starts will only over-tax an already busy system and could result in the next large fire that burns hundreds or even thousands of forested acres - or even threaten your community or that of your loved ones."

Meanwhile, lightning remains possible Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.