LIGHTNING has caused no less than 61 fires in the Valencian community in August alone.
This is the most recorded in 20 years, ahead of the 47 seen in 2003 and 35 in 2004.
In total more than 22,000 bolts of lightning struck the region last month, with the hot weather being blamed for the strikes by Spanish Meteorology Agency AEMET.
The heat caused a double whammy – first of all the parched conditions left scrub and woodland tinder dry, then the thunder storms that followed ignited the vegetation and strong winds fanned the flames.
The Forest Fire Prevention Centres (CPIF) has set up monitoring services, both human and automated.
First of all they log each lightning strike then check to see if any damage was caused. In the event of a fire they can quickly raise the alarm with a precise location.