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Thunderstorms forecast for Malheur County, bringing lightning to parched landscape

Thunderstorms are forecast to hit Malheur County Monday afternoon into Tuesday night, with the risk “very high” for new large fires, according to forecasts issued Sunday.

The National Weather Service posted a red flag warning for “critical” fire conditions in the area from noon Monday until 10 p.m. Tuesday night.

“Temperatures are forecast to increase once again Sunday into Monday increasing overall fire potential. A threat of thunderstorms mainly over the southeastern tier will increase the potential for new fire development,” according to a forecast from the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center in Portland.

The center said that the expected lightning means there is a greater than 20% chance of new large fires starting in the region.

The weather service said isolated to scattered thunderstorms would develop Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning. More thunderstorms are forecast for Tuesday afternoon . . .