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Hazardous fire conditions force closure of public lands northwest of Palm Springs

May 26, 2011 |  1:09 pm

The Bureau of Land Management has temporarily closed public lands near Whitewater Canyon northwest of Palm Springs due to hazardous fire conditions.

The agency closed 4,234 acres of public lands in the Riverside County canyon, an expanse of sandy desert, boulder fields, grasslands and forests that bridges the San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains and is home to an abundance of wildlife.

Hot weather has dried out the thick, spring vegetation in the canyon, prompting the closure.

“A wildfire in Whitewater Canyon under present conditions could pose a serious threat to the public and public-land resources, as well as adjacent private lands and communities,” BLM Palm Springs Field Manager John Kalish said in a statement released by the federal agency.

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-- Phil Willon in Riverside

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