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Fire-sparking thunderstorms departing San Bernardino National Forest

August 20, 2013|By Jason Wells

A series of thunderstorms that have sparked about 20 small fires in the San Bernardino National Forest should move out of the area Tuesday, authorities said.

About 100 personnel have been assigned to the August lightning fires, which started cropping up early Monday morning as lightning strikes turned dead, dry trees into smoldering ignition switches for small spot fires.

Small hail and gusty winds were still possible in the San Bernardino Mountains through Tuesday afternoon until skies become partly cloudy, according to the National Weather Service.

Mostly sunny conditions were expected for the rest of the week.

Many of the fires sparked since Monday were contained to small patches of forest shrubbery around the dead trees. Others, such as one flare-up west of Lytle Creek in the Stockton Flats area, hit 10 acres before it was lined with fire retardant, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Another fire on the east side of South Peak had spread to nine acres but had also been lined with fire retardant.

Overall, the U.S. Forest Service reported 75% containment as of Tuesday morning amid light winds.

Officials planned to continue to run reconnaissance flights above the forest until the thunderstorms left the area.

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jason.wells@latimes.com

Follow: @jasonbretwells / Facebook / Google+

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