Saturday, May 18, 2024

York fire at California-Nevada border balloons to 77,000 acres

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A wildfire blazing along the Southern California-Nevada border, burning primarily in a delicate Joshua Tree forest, continued to swell Monday morning.

The fire had scorched 77,000 acres as of early Monday, with 0% containment. After first being observed Friday, the blaze has spread across the Mojave National Preserve in eastern San Bernardino County and into western Nevada. No evacuations have been issued as a result of the fire, which is burning in remote areas.

After a challenging weekend of high winds that sparked dangerous fire whirls and hot temperatures, better conditions appeared to be in store Monday, said Stephanie Bishop, a National Park Service public information officer and spokesperson for the York fire. The weather overnight had improved, with winds that were not as strong, which allowed for some groundwork around the blaze, she said.

Federal, state and local firefighting teams are battling the York fire, with more than 260 personnel assigned, officials said.

The blaze ignited last week in the New York Mountains in the Mojave National Preserve in eastern San Bernardino County and spread into Nevada on Sunday afternoon.

Southern California’s wet winter helped fuel increasing levels of invasive grasses and underbrush in the Mojave and Colorado deserts, federal officials said, which has made the region more susceptible to brush fires. Wildfires in these ecosystems can be particularly destructive, as Joshua trees and other desert plants have limited natural defenses to fires, federal officials said.

In 2020, the Dome fire killed as many as 1.3 million plants across more than 40,000 acres of desert in southwestern California, including large portions of the Mojave National Preserve.

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