Joshua Tree Fire 90% Contained, Road Reopened

A helicopter drops water on the Quail Fire on Monday. | NPS Photo

The 273-acre Quail Fire, ignited Sunday in Joshua Tree National Park by a thunderstorm, was 90% contained by Wednesday evening, according to the National Park Service. Visitor access to the popular Keys View Road was restored this morning when the road reopened at 8 a.m. The road, which was a few miles from the fire, was closed earlier this week to allow firefighters to stage equipment.

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As the Quail Fire was progressively fought back over the last few days, a number of crews were pulled off the fire to fight the larger Buck Fire to the south near Hemet. One crew of firefighters is still working in the Park to mop up and begin the restoration process, and support equipment remains in the vicinity of Keys View Road. The Park Service is asking visitors to drive cautiously on the re-opened road and to be aware of firetrucks and equipment.

The Quail Fire was one of four in the park that were sparked on Sunday when a monsoonal thunderstorm system blew through the area. The other three fires, in the Covington Flat area, were quickly doused: the Quail Fire took more effort as it burned a remote, rugged area of the park in the Little San Bernardino Mountain range. The Park Service's efforts now turn to resource recovery in the charred piñon-juniper-forested area.

Fire trucks parked at Cap Rock in Joshua Tree National Park | NPS Photo

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About the Author

Chris Clarke is a natural history writer and environmental journalist currently at work on a book about the Joshua tree. He lives in Joshua Tree.
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