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Lightning strike in Maine sets tree on fire as severe weather strikes region

FOX News logo FOX News 7/15/2020 Travis Fedschun
Video filmed on July 8 by the Wales, Maine Fire Department shows how lightning sparked this fire inside of a tree during a recent storm. © Provided by FOX News Video filmed on July 8 by the Wales, Maine Fire Department shows how lightning sparked this fire inside of a tree during a recent storm.

thunderstorm that lit up the skies in Maine last week also caused a spectacle on the ground.

The Wales Fire Department said on Facebook it responded last Wednesday to a lightning strike on a tree on Leeds Junction Road, about 20 miles southwest of Augusta.

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Severe thunderstorms were reported in the area around the time of the strike.

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Video released by the fire department shows flames shooting up from the middle of the tree.

Firefighters told WMTV-TV that rain kept the flames from spreading.

Lighting typically strikes tall objects such as trees and skyscrapers because their tops are closer to the base of the storm cloud, according to the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL).

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"However, this does not always mean tall objects will be struck. It all depends on where the charges accumulate," according to the agency. "Lightning can strike the ground in an open field even if the tree line is close by."

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When a tree is hit, water inside the tree trunk is turned into steam as energy from lightning heats the air anywhere from 18,000 degrees Fahrenheit to up to 60,000 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the NSSL.

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"If it gets under the bark into the surface moisture of the wood, the rapidly expanding steam can blast pieces of bark from the tree, and the wood along the path is often killed," the agency states.

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