Fire Damages Historic Area of Joshua Tree National Park

This Monday, March 26, 2018 photo provided by Steve Raines shows a fire that broke out at Joshua Tree National Park, damaging a historical landmark. The National Park Service says the fire damaged the Oasis of Mara, a site settled by Native Americans who planted 29 palm trees. (Steve Raines Photography via AP)

(CN) – An historic area of Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California burned Monday evening in a small human-caused wildfire, according to investigators.

About five acres of vegetation burned around 9:00 p.m. in the city of Twentynine Palms in San Bernardino County. The fire damaged the Oasis of Mara, a historical landmark that also serves as the headquarters and visitor center for Joshua Tree.

San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said no arrests have been made, contradicting an earlier report by the Associated Press.

While authorities believe the blaze was sparked by human activity, fire department spokesman Eric Sherman said investigators are still determining whether it was intentional or an accident.

Oasis of Mara was first settled by the Serrano people, who planted the 29 palms trees that inspired the city’s name.

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