Hikers rescued from wildfire in Joshua Tree National Park

Hikers rescued from wildfire in Joshua Tree National Park

24 May 2009

published by latimesblogs.latimes.com

USA — Twelve hikers trapped at Joshua Tree National Park were airlifted to safety today as a 100-acre wildfire burned in rugged terrain near the park’s historic Lost Horse Mine.

The fire, which began around 4 p.m., trapped the hiking party, according to park ranger Pam Tripp. The hikers were rescued by helicopter. The fire, burning in Joshua trees, pinyon pines and junipers, as well as fast-burning desert grasses, was fanned by late afternoon winds.

The Lost Horse fire is burning in a remote area of rugged hills between the park’s Geology Tour Road and the Keys View Road. Both have been closed to the public.

All other areas of the park remain open, including campgrounds. Officials said minor traffic delays may be encountered.

The terrain hampered efforts of fire crews to get engines near the blaze and hand crews began walking in Sunday evening, Tripp said. The fire is being fought by personnel from the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and San Bernardino County Fire Department.

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