Lightning Causes Three Fires in Park

Lightning strikes ignited three small wildfires at Joshua Tree National Park on Thursday afternoon. A fire near the Keys View Overlook started about 1:30 p.m. By 6 p.m., it had burned 25-30 acres in desert brush and pinyon pine and juniper habitat. A second fire was ignited about the same time near the Upper Boy Scout Trailhead about 5 miles from the park's West Entrance. A third small fire was discovered by fire crews 1.5 miles east of the Keys View Road. Fires crews have responded to all three fires.

The largest and most active of the fires, called the Keys Incident Fire, is burning near Inspiration Point, to the west of the Keys View Road. Five engines and crews are on scene at this fire with two water tenders. One helicopter is currently supporting the Keys Incident Fire. A total of 20 firefighters are presently working the fire. Four additional fire crews have been called out as well as a water tanker aircraft tasked from Hemet, California. The Incident Commander for the Keys Incident Fire is Chuck Heard of the National Park Service. The fire is burning actively in rugged terrain and poses no threat at present to buildings, structures, or private property. There is no estimate on containment at this time.

The two other fires are small and are being monitored by fire crews.

To assist fire crews in fighting the Keys Incident Fire, the Keys View Road from its junction with Park Boulevard to its terminus at Keys View is closed to public access. All other park roads, trails, and visitor facilities remain open for normal visitor use.

Visitors are urged to use caution while driving through the park and to be alert to the presence of firefighting equipment and other emergency vehicles. For further information and fire updates, the media can contact Joshua Tree National Park at 760-367-5522.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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