Here we go again: Lightning in forecast for tinder dry Oregon

ROSEBURG, Ore. - Lightning could spark a new round of wildfires in the southern and central Oregon Cascades.

The National Weather Service issued red flag warnings across a swath of Oregon and northern California, from north of Bend on down to the Redding area.

"A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. These conditions will contribute to extreme fire behavior.

Forecasters said thunderstorms with abundant lightning are possible this afternoon and evening.

"These storms will initially be high based with little rain, so the threat for new wildfires is high," the weather service said. "Even with the potential for wetting rain in some storms, numerous new fire ignitions may occur due to critically dry fuels. Gusty outflow winds of 40 to 50 mph may also enhance fire spread."

Lightning during the first week of July sparked numerous small fires in southern and central Oregon. In Douglas County, the forest protective association plans to ratchet up public use restrictions as the fire danger reaches "high."