Joshua Tree Road Closed as Park Crews Battle Fire

The Quail Fire in Joshua Tree National Park. | Photo: National Park Service

A wildfire in Joshua Tree National Park has prompted the closure of a main park road as firefighting crews work to contain the 270-acre blaze. The Quail Fire, sparked by a lightning strike Sunday afternoon in piñon and juniper woodland northwest of the popular Keys View overlook. Keys View Road has been closed to the public past Cap Rock to allow firefighters to stage and move equipment.

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As of Monday evening, the fire was approximately 35% contained but not growing in size, and crews are working today to secure the southern edges of the fire in some of the Little San Bernardino Mountains' roughest terrain. The firefighters represent agencies including the Department of Defense, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Forest Service, San Bernardino County, Cal Fire, and the National Park Service.

Three other lightning fires were sparked Sunday in the Covington Flat area in the northwest section of the Park, but they were doused quickly by firefighters and burned only a couple of acres.

All other Park facilities are open according to the park's summer schedule, but people planning to visit should pay attention to notices and ask rangers for updates. Hikers should probably plan walks on trails other than the Stubbe Springs Trail northwest of Keys View.

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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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