Author Topic: Mojave National Preserve wildfire  (Read 272 times)

JFanaselle

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Mojave National Preserve wildfire
« on: August 17, 2020, 10:56:54 AM »
Not sure if anyone has seen this, but there's a massive fire burning on the Mojave National Preserve. The fire broke out early yesterday in the area of the Cima Dome, east of I-15 near Cima Road. As of this morning, the NPS was reporting the fire to be "larger than 20,000 acres." They just tweeted an update a few minutes ago stating that it's now estimated to be 40,000 acres in size. I believe it's burning toward the east, through the dense Joshua Tree forests and toward the Providence Mountains. Kind of sad, but I guess fire is natural and everything will regrow.

Several areas of the park are closed to the public at this time, including Cima Road, Kelso-Cima Road, Morningstar Road, and Ivanpah Road. I just hope they're able to preserve the Morningstar Mine, the Death Valley Mine, the ghost town of Cima, and many other historic sites in the area.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2020, 03:59:20 PM by JFanaselle »

steve c

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Re: Mojave National Preserve wildfire
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2020, 01:01:46 PM »
Do they just let it burn since it's a preserve?
Or, will there be an active response and suppression effort?
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JFanaselle

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Re: Mojave National Preserve wildfire
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2020, 03:52:47 PM »
There is an active suppression effort, but it's not going very well. Normally these fires don't do much. The sporadic growth of the vegetation in these desert areas means they don't have to dedicate many air or ground resources in order to get it in check. This one is actually making a hard run. With limited financial resources by the NPS or the BLM to fight fires like this, the strategy is basically to get everyone out of the way and let the fire do it's thing, while they try to save as many historical areas as they can.

The last update I got from my "fire nerd" friends is that the fire is burning to the north, and is expected to run out of fuel once it's out of the Joshua Tree forest. Here's a few photos from a public information officer with the San Bernardino County Fire Department, along with a map of the area the fire is burning. The photos were taken yesterday, along I-15 and along Cima Road.

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« Last Edit: August 17, 2020, 04:01:53 PM by JFanaselle »

Celt

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Re: Mojave National Preserve wildfire
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2020, 05:04:20 PM »
As much as I hate to see forest fires and the like they are a good thing for the most part. That desert will bounce back really quick after a couple winters rain and spring growth. It will more than likely come back much healthier than before.
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JFanaselle

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Re: Mojave National Preserve wildfire
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2020, 03:41:23 PM »
Sadly, this region will not simply rebound like other areas do after a fire. These desert ecosystems and their vegetation are not "fire adapted." This means that when a fire blows through, it significantly changes things for generations, or sometimes forever. The area around Hole in the Wall campground and visitor's center (also within the Mojave National Preserve) is an example of this. A fire burned through there about 30 years ago, and most of the vegetation has not regrown. You'll notice as you drive through the area that it seems extremely baron, and much different than the rest of the preserve. The only growth that has happened since the fire are non-native weeds and grasses.

This new fire, named the "Dome Fire," destroyed most of the large Joshua Tree forest north of the ghost town of Cima. This was the largest and most dense Joshua Tree forest in the world. Unfortunately, Joshua Trees do not regenerate after fire like normal trees do, so we will not see this forest thriving again within our lifetimes. Two historic ranches in the area were also badly damaged, with many buildings and corrals destroyed. Sadly, this is another example of historic sites disappearing in front of our eyes. If I take any comfort in this, it's knowing that the fire was caused by a lightning strike and then fueled by thunderstorm winds. It was not human-caused, and human activity did not promote the spread. It's still a major bummer :(

https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/2020/08/17/dome-fire-burns-in-mojave-national-park-as-temps-soar/3383180001/

Here's a photo that I took of the area back in 2015, when I led an SCCX group trip out there to explore a bit

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« Last Edit: August 27, 2020, 03:43:34 PM by JFanaselle »