Home>775Times>Massive York Fire Engulfs California’s Mojave National Preserve and Threatens Nevada’s Largest Joshua Tree

Massive York Fire Engulfs California’s Mojave National Preserve and Threatens Nevada’s Largest Joshua Tree

By TheNevadaGlobeStaff, July 31, 2023 6:29 pm

NEVADA – The York fire in Mojave National Preserve has burned 77,000 acres, including a sensitive Joshua tree woodland. The 2020 Dome fire destroyed 40,000 acres of Joshua trees.

Nevada’s tallest Joshua tree is in the newly declared Avi Kwa Ame National Monument, half a million acres south of Las Vegas, where the fire is advancing. The fire’s size is comparable to Las Vegas.

One of the world’s largest Joshua trees, the “Monument Tree,” has a trunk 87 inches around and branches 28 feet long. Its 700-800-year-old preservation is crucial.

The York fire is uncontained and polluting Las Vegas’ air. Fire whirls, or fire tornadoes, have been seen under dangerously high temperatures and severe winds.

Fire whirls, caused by tremendous heat and turbulent winds, make fire management harder. Non-native grasses grew during the wet winter, accelerating the fire.

Climate change is already harming Joshua trees. The Dome fire destroyed 1.3 million Joshua trees in one of the world’s largest Joshua tree ecosystems. Ecologists worried about the destiny of two Mojave National Preserve trees larger than the Monument Tree, which had developed over thousands of years.

Only a few areas have circumstances for Joshua tree growth, which explains the region’s high concentration. Some biologists think cow grazing helped create the woodland. Joshua tree forest restoration is experimental, thus time is of importance.

If climate change and wildfires are not addressed, Joshua trees might lose 90% of their range by the end of the century, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

Credits: 8 News Now

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