22 people injured by lightening strikes in Colorado over 72-hour period
Sixteen people were injured by lightening strike while climbing the 14,060-foot Mount Bierstadt in Clear Creek County, Colorado Sunday afternoon, bringing the number of people hit by lightening strike to 22 over a 72-hour period, Xinhua reported.
All 22 were treated and released from local hospitals and there were no reports of fatalities or critical injuries.
A dog was killed hiking with the group of 16 that were blasted 500 feet from Bierstadt's summit Sunday.
More than 30 rescue personnel from 10 government agencies descended on the mountain within minutes, and a National Guard Blackhawk helicopter was on call.
Six other people were hit by lightening near Colorado Springs Thursday near the top of the famous tourist site Pikes Peak.
Colorado has the third highest fatalities from lightening in the U.S. with 17 from 2005-2014, according to the National Weather Service.
Many victims are hit while hiking or climbing in remote mountainous areas where there is scant coverage or protection, according to the National Park Service.
Mount Bierstadt is a popular, easy "14er" for many hikers because of the easy access from the parking lot at the summit of nearby Guanella Pass.
Colorado has 58 mountains with peaks over 14,000 feet high, called 14ers, more than all the other U.S. states combined.
The lightening strikes end two months of extremely unpredictable weather in Colorado, as May's record rains were followed by tornadoes, hail and late freezes in June.
May 2015 was the wettest month on record in Colorado (since 1894), Oklahoma and Texas, a dramatic turnaround from the blistering heat and severe drought conditions that baked the region in preceding years.
Colorado's June weather has been typically unpredictable, with freezes and hail storms destroying crops in the eastern "Front Range" half of the state, and a number tornadoes touching around Denver.
In early June, more than 4-feet of frozen ice from a hailstorm blanketed a Denver neighborhood, while eight tornadoes destroyed more than 20 homes in the city's suburbs the same week.
The record rainfall that produced widespread flooding in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, eastern Kansas and Missouri, during the past few weeks, also dampened Colorado's fire prone forests.
Following horrible, damaging back-to-back forest fire seasons in 2012 and 2013, that destroyed 700 Colorado homes and killed several people, last year saw little wildfire activity in America' s West and this year even less, according to Inciweb, the national interagency fire agency.
Sunday a memorial service was held in Prescott, Arizona to honor 19 young men who died exactly two years before - all members of the elite "hotshot" firefighter team - who were engulfed in flames June 28, 2013 when the Yarnell Hill fire suddenly changed direction.