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LIGHTNING FROM STORM STARTS 7 LANCASTER FIRES.

Byline: Karen Maeshiro Daily News Staff Writer

Lightning from an afternoon thunderstorm Monday sparked at least seven small wildfires, including a blaze that blackened 15 acres at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve.

The fire broke out about 2 p.m. on the reserve's northeast section but resulted in no damage to any buildings or vehicles, and will cause no harm to future poppy crops, park officials said.

``We like the idea of fire burning weeds away,'' said Mary Lou MacKenzie, a state park interpretive specialist. ``It's a natural phenomenon to have lightning fires to burn weeds and grass away. It helps the poppy. It enhances the poppy bloom.''

About 6,500 homes and businesses in parts of Palmdale, Littlerock, Lake Los Angeles and Hi Vista on the east side of the Antelope Valley lost power for up to two hours after lightning struck three of Southern California Edison's substations, said spokeswoman Denise Henderson.

``Some of our facilities were hit by lighting,'' Henderson said. ``Most of the problems we experienced were on the east side of the valley.'' All power had been restored by early evening, she said.

The other fires, ranging in size of a half-acre to an acre, were located at 65th Street West and Avenue M, 110th Street West and Avenue F, 70th Street West and Avenue E, 100th Street West and Avenue A, 120th Street West and Avenue D, and 25th Street West and Avenue O, firefighter Dave Crall said.

Crall said the poppy reserve fire was knocked down about 3:25 p.m. A total of 250 firefighters were dispatched to battle the Antelope Valley fires, Crall said.

``We're attributing the fires to lightning,'' Crall said. He said there were no injuries or damage reported.

National Weather Service meteorologist Dedric Walker said showers and thunderstorms were moving to the north through the Antelope Valley on Monday.

They were the result of moisture from the Pacific Ocean and north Mexico moving around a high-pressure center in the Four Corners area - the point where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado touch.

``It was raining in spots, and there was lots of lightning,'' MacKenzie said.

Walker said today's forecast should be mostly sunny, becoming partly cloudy by afternoon, with temperatures reaching highs between 105 to 114 degrees.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 13, 1996
Words:379
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