Lightning strikes ignite fires, knock out power

LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) -- Lightning strikes late Sunday night knocked out power to thousands in the Kern River Valley, and sparked several small brush fires.

Leland Davis with the Kern County Fire Department asked that people try to avoid using the 911 system for non-emergency calls, noting the Emergency Communications Center was overwhelmed with calls from people wanting to know when their power would be restored.

Nearing midnight, lightning activity was still reported to be heavy through the Kern River Valley. Davis said crews from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and SoCal Edison were busy, just like firefighters, trying to get things back to normal.

Small fires were reported near Kernville, to the east and south of Isabella Lake, near Shirley Meadows and towards Breckenridge Mountain.