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Thursday lightning strikes cause small fires near Cortez

Firefighters extinguish three trees
Lightning lights the sky in this archived photo.

Cortez firefighters responded to several small fires caused by lightning strikes during a brief thunderstorm Thursday afternoon.

Assistant fire chief Shawn Bittle said three trees caught fire in various parts of Montezuma County between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m., including one near Southwest Memorial Hospital and at least one on County Road G. Other nearby fire departments, including the Lewis-Arriola Fire Protection District, also responded to a few fires during the storm. No structures were threatened by the fires, Bittle said, adding that the first two trees were quickly extinguished.

“We’re still working on the last one, but we should have it out shortly,” he said about 4:30 p.m.

The National Weather Service predicted an 80 percent chance of showers for Montezuma County on Thursday night. The weekend forecast was mostly sunny.

The weather service also warned that a storm could bring 50 mph winds and dime-size hail to the Hovenweep and Aneth areas of Utah early Thursday evening, and that another storm could bring 50 mph winds to Durango, Bayfield, Ignacio, Vallecito and Bondad.

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