Yesterday, a dazzling array of lightning bolts lit up Wyoming skies. Wildfire Today reports that thousands of strikes hit the Cowboy State.

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The report from Wildfire Today indicates that Wyoming was not the only Rocky Mountain state to see lightning storms. Colorado, South Dakota, and Nebraska also experienced massive lightning strikes.


How Many Lightning Strikes Hit the Rocky Mountain Region This Week?

Wildfire Today reports that nearly 40,000 lightning strikes hit the region. Wyoming, Colorado, South Dakota, and Nebraska experienced 39,421 lightning strikes, to be exact.


Normally, periods of extreme lightning come with heavy rainfall, but that was not the case in many areas impacted by lightning. Considering most of the Rocky Mountain region is in a drought, concerns over lightning wildfires are valid. The National Interagency Fire Center reports that the northern Rocky Mountain and Rocky Mountain region had over 2,000 lightning-caused wildfires last year. This year, the Bridger-Teton Flagg Fire was caused by lightning.


Lightning Safety in Wyoming

Obviously, lightning strikes can cause wildfires. But, lightning can pose a risk to humans as well. Three weeks ago, a lightning strike in Bridger-Teton tragically struck and killed one Wyoming student and injured another during an outdoor leadership school. Lightning should always be approached as an unpredictable and dangerous situation. Here's how to keep yourself safe from lightning during wild Wyoming weather:

  • Go Indoors. The CDC recommends going indoors as soon as thunder rolls in - "When thunder roars, go indoors."
  • Out in the Wild? Find Shelter. Lightning usually strikes taller targets. Getting low to the ground can reduce your chance of getting struck. However, you shouldn't just lie flat on the ground. The CDC recommends curling into a ball-like position, tucking in your head with your hands over your ears, and reducing your direct contact with the ground - only your feet should be on the ground.
  • Avoid Open Structures and Vehicles. Open structures won't protect you from lightning, and they can conduct lightning if they have metal walls or fencing.
  • Avoid Tall Structures. If you are in a forest, find shelter near shorter trees.

For more information on lightning safety, click here.

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