A lightning-strike fire that started Sunday in Joshua Tree National Park still smoldered Wednesday with hot spots on steep, boulder-strewn slopes, and commanders estimated crews had it 60 percent surrounded.
Full containment and control of the fire is expected by 6 p.m. Friday Aug. 17, park spokesman Joe Zarki said.
"At morning briefing we had abut 75 firefighters," Zarki said before noon Wednesday. "The south side of the fire is active, on rocky slopes with about 300 feet of elevation gain. Fire crews are having to deal with that mix of boulders and vegetation."
Thunderstorms spawned lightning that ignited the Quail Fire on Sunday Aug. 12, about 3.5 miles northwest of Keys View, Zarki said. Burned acreage was estimated Wednesday at just over 270 acres.
Lightning started three other fires inside the park in the Covington Flats area, and they were all contained Sunday, Zarki said.
Fires are part of the natural cycle in Joshua Tree National Park, but non-native grasses in recent years have contributed to larger and more frequent fires, Zarki said.
Keys View is in the Riverside County portion of the park, southwest of Ryan Mountain. The overlook affords views of San Jacinto Peak, the east San Gorgonio Pass and part of the Coachella Valley.
Joshua Tree National Park is about 70 miles east of Redlands and Loma Linda.