On June 22, 2005, at about 1:00 pm, a fire erupted in a private residence on Paradise Road in Morongo Valley, California. Due to high temperatures, low humidity, and high winds, the fire quickly spread to surrounding homes and brush. Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, approximately 2 miles due east, was directly in the path of the flames which destroyed 6 homes and the BMCP historic barn, and ultimately consumed 3022 acres of vegetation, most of which was on the Preserve.
Thanks to the efforts of fire crews and a private citizen with a water truck, the BMCP hosts' residence, Nature Center, and Kiosk were spared, as were many acres of vegetation and several of the boardwalks in the northern portion of the Preserve. However, there was extensive damage to the Marsh, Mesquite, Yucca Ridge, Canyon, and Barn trails, with signs, benches, and about 1000 feet of wooden boardwalk and 300 feet of the newer Trex boardwalk totally destroyed.
The public support in helping to restore the Preserve was tremendous. The Friends of BMCP collected thousands of dollars in donations for fire recovery expenses and coordinated volunteers to work with BLM on trail restoration. Because of the hard work of dedicated volunteers, several trails were reopened within weeks after the fire, and by March, 2006, all of the trails were once again open to the public.
The photos below were taken one week after the fire during a damage-assessment survey lead by BLM officials into those few areas which could be accessed safely.Click on the thumbnails below to see a larger picture and description.
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