Starting March 11th, 2019, Joshua Tree National Park vegetation and fire management staff implemented fuels treatments along the Covington Flats road system in response to heavy winter rains and significant germination of nonnative annual grasses. The removal of annual grasses and brush reduces flame lengths and fire intensity along roadways in the event of a wildland fire.
In the future, fire crews working to reduce the spread of wildfires can use the road as a barrier. Currently, roads in Covington Flats have heavier fuel loads on and near the roads. This creates issues for fire engines accessing areas and may cut off their egress if fire spans the road.
Fuels treatments provides an opportunity to protect important Joshua tree forests in the area. Joshua trees are vulnerable to fire. Fires in 1995, 1999, and 2006 burned through this area and lack of Joshua tree regeneration demonstrates the length of time it takes to recover. Contract crews will be in the area for the next several weeks. For more information, contact Neil Frakes at 760-367-5564.