Death Valley National Park Battles South Complex Wildfires

Date: August 22, 2012



Death Valley, CA–On the evening of August 10th a weather event that included several dry lightning cells ignited several fires in the vicinity of Hunter Mountain in the Panamint Range of Death Valley National Park. These lightning strikes resulted in two wildland fires, the South Fire and the Pass Fire, These fires were managed as an incident called the South Complex. A total of 453 acres was burned (Pass Fire: 441 acres, South Fire 12 acres).

The fires were within the Death Valley Wilderness, but were suppressed due to several factors including historic resources in proximity to the fires, on-going law enforcement operations in the area, low fuel moistures and continuous fuels, limited wildland fire resource availability in the region because of other large higher priority fires, and limited park staffing available. The fire transitioned from a Type 4 to a Type 3 Incident Command organization on August 12th and was suppressed using available regional resources (four engines, one Type 2 hand crew, one Type 2 helicopter). The fires were contained on August 6th and on August 17th all initial attack resources were released.On August 18th a precipitation event provided critical moisture over the entire fire area.

The staff of Death Valley National Park along with local and regional partners were able to manage these fires effectively and efficiently with limited resources. The fires will continue to be actively monitored by NPS staff until declared controlled. 17 % of death Valley National Park is considered “burnable”.



Scroll to Top