Mojave Desert fire in August destroyed the heart of a beloved Joshua tree forest

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J.T. Sohr, fire engine captain in the Mojave National Preserve, walks in the charred Cima Dome Joshua tree forest. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

J.T. Sohr, fire engine captain in the Mojave National Preserve, walks in the charred Cima Dome Joshua tree forest. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

The first day of California’s lightning siege, thunderstorms rolled across the Mojave National Preserve, slicing the afternoon sky with dry strikes.

Smoke rose from the top of Cima Dome, marking the start of a wildfire that would ravage the heart of one of the world’s largest Joshua tree forests.

A drive down Cima Road that only weeks ago was a trip through a magical landscape is now a tour of the world’s biggest Joshua tree graveyard.

Most of the charred trees are still standing. In the evening light, their leaves, bleached with scorch, take on an eerie beauty. But they are doomed, and the 43,273 acres of the Dome fire are forever transformed.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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