Fire Scorched Palm Oasis
Thousand Palms, CA
Coachella Valley Preserve

Last week I was driving along Thousand Palms Canyon Rd., in Thousand Palms, CA looking for some new areas to explore in the Coachella Valley Preserve and I saw a burned Palm Oasis on the side of a hill. I hadn’t heard of any recent fires in the area and I was curious to see what had happened.

The Willis Palm Oasis after a fire. Photo taken on Jan. 28th, 2011.

After a short 10 minute walk from the small parking area at the trail head of the Willis Palm Oasis I reached the scorched oasis.  The black trunks towered above us with tuffs of green growth at the top of each one.  The sun created a sheen on the burned portion of the palms. As I looked up I took a few photos capturing a different perspective.

A different perspective.

There weren’t any birds or visible wildlife in the oasis.  The fire had burned the palm fronds and skirts where bats, birds and other animals made their nests.  The palms stood bare and visible in a base of gray ash.

As I walked back to the car I wondered how the fire started and when it happened.  When I returned to my office a quick search on Google revealed that the fire occurred on Nov. 26th, 2010.  Only a few months had passed since the fire and green was already starting to show in the aftermath.  According to reports, the fire burned for about 3 hours and there is not cause documented. The BLM officials said that the burned palm trees should recover with time.

The Willis Palm Oasis is part of a series of oases, approximately 30, that are found along the San Andreas Fault.  It is located in the Coachella Valley Preserve which is home to more than 183 bird species.  It is also the home of the protected Coachella Fringe-toed Lizard.

If you are looking to take a longer hike, there is a nice hike along this trail beyond the palm oasis.  Attached is a map showing the trail. Dogs are NOT allowed on this trail.

For more information about the Coachella Valley Preserve and the Willis Palm Oasis visit


  1. i love your site. i moved to fresno three years ago from tucson and when i visit there, i want to move to the desert again.


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