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 intersection.

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 property.

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 1-888-78-CRIME.

San 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.

Strong interagency cooperation made a positive impact on keeping the fire south of 29 Palms highway and out of structures.

California 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 help!  


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.