Lightning can strike anywhere, but damage is more common at higher terrain

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GRAND JUNCTION; Colo. (KJCT) Thunderstorms don't always make their way into the Grand Valley. Air quickly rises up and over high terrain allowing stronger thunderstorms to form which results in more lightning.

On average Glade Park sees more storms producing lightning strikes than the Grand Valley.

Jon Bilbo lives in Glade Park and says one second it is sunny, then out of no where a thunderstorm will roll through.

"They move in and out relatively quickly," Bilbo said.

National Weather Service Meteorologist, Julie Malingowski, said thunderstorms last about 20 minutes. In Western Colorado they are even quicker because there’s not a lot of moisture.

"We've had at least two fires that were started by lightning, both up by black ridge where we live," Bilbo said.

"Up high you also have to remember you're a lot closer to the cloud," Malingowski said.

Jon Bilbo does whatever he can to mitigate possible fires caused by lightning.

"We've gone in and cleared off all the dead limbs out of a lot of our trees. So we constantly maintain the grass around the trees," Bilbo said.

He has cleared the Sagebrush on his property for about ten acres around his house.

"If a fire does start there's not a lot of dry underbrush for it to consume," Bilbo said.

His wife has also gone through and cleared dead limbs from the Pinyon Pines.

"We think we have done as much as we can, but your always continuing to improve the conditions," Bilbo said.

Meteorologist said we are going through a dry stretch, so the next lightning storm could come with added danger.

"It's more likely that lightning strike could cause a fire," Malingowski said.

There is not a lot of moisture on the ground and the plants will be very dry.

"Lightning’s such a strong bolt of electricity that can start fires when the fuels are dry," Malingowski said.

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