The destructive nature of cloud-to-ground lightning strokes is well known. Loss of life and damage to buildings and other man-made structures may to a large extent be prevented by the judicial use of lightning conductors and screens but no comparable protection may be offered to expanses of agricultural crops or forests. According to Fuquay (1967) lightning is the greatest single cause of forest fires in the western United States: during the period 1946–1962, 140,000 such fires occurred causing severe losses of timber, wildlife, watershed, and recreational resources. Comparable losses occur regularly in other parts of the world. The only solution is the suppression or modification of cloud-to-ground lightning discharges. Methods of suppression are described, some of which may turn out to be practical ways of achieving this aim.

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