Joshua Tree Fire Burns 150 Acres
Monday morning, May 11, 2020, at 11:27 A.M., San Bernardino
County Fire Responders were dispatched to a reported vegetation fire in the area of 29
Palms Highway & La Contenta Road in Joshua Tree. Units arrived in the area
within six minutes to find smoke showing from a large plot of land southeast of
The Fire Crews made access to find 2-3 acres of medium fuels
with a moderate to rapid rate of spread. Strong and erratic winds quickly
pushed the fire into dry, receptive fuels. Arriving Crews anchored the fire and
started putting in hose lays to limit spread. Additional Fire Crews were
quickly requested due to the size and rate of spread. The wildfire continued to
burn at a rapid rate of spread northeast towards 29 Palms Highway and Joshua
Tree Memorial Park.
Initially, the priority was to keep the fire south of the
highway and west of the Memorial Park.
CHP set-up a road closure and managed a traffic control, due to
fire equipment, heavy smoke and proximity of the fire. Despite strong winds and
the active wildfire, crews successfully held the fire at the highway. Engines
also kept the fire from damaging nearby buildings on the Memorial Park
A San Bernardino County Fire bulldozer and CalFire Hand Crews
worked on containment lines to keep the fire from jumping into nearby receptive
fuels. Crews continued to work into the late afternoon and evening on mop-up
operations and line construction. By 7:45 P.M. the fire was 100% contained and
held at approximately 150 acres. Fire Crews will continue to monitor the fire
and patrol the perimeter for hot spots.
In the beginning of the fire-fighting, 9-1-1 callers reported an
adult male was observed leaving the area where the fire started. San
Bernardino County Sheriff Deputies and Fire Investigators responded and
searched the area, finding the person responsible for starting the fire. A 43
year-old adult from Joshua was arrested for unlawfully causing the fire. He is
being held on $25,000 bail.
Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked
to contact the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department, Morongo Basin
Station at (760)366-4175 or
San Bernardino County Office of the Fire Marshal at 909-386-4800.
Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may contact We-Tip at
Bernardino County Fire responded with (9) Engines, (2) Hand Crews, (2) Water
Tenders, (2) Fire Investigators and (3) Chief Officers. CalFire assisted with
one Engine. Joshua Tree National Park responded with an Engine and Chief
Officer. Combat Center FD assisted with station coverage.
interagency cooperation made a positive impact on keeping the fire south of 29
Palms highway and out of structures.
Highway Patrol and Caltrans personnel provided
a road closure and traffic control while
crews worked on the wildfire. Thanks to all our public safety partners for your
The 150 acre fire burned on Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) land
in unincorporated Joshua Tree. The 623 acre property features thousands of
Joshua trees and other native plants, as well as desert tortoises, burrowing
owls, desert kit foxes, and badgers. San Bernardino County personnel worked
closely with MDLT staff to establish a plan for conserving land while providing
containment lines to ensure no further spread. With high winds forecasted for
the coming days, containment lines were a high priority. Line construction by
bulldozer was kept to a minimum to minimize impact.