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Lost Horse Fire Continues to Burn in Joshua Tree*

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A fire that began yesterday afternoon inside Joshua Tree National Park continues to burn today, but is expected to be knocked down by tonight. The blaze began around 4 p.m. near the Lost Horse Mine in the hills between the park’s Geology Tour Road and the Keys View Road. By 11 p.m., 150 acres had burned and had only been contained by 5%. As a precaution, 12 hikers near the Lost Horse Trail were airlifted to safety. They were never trapped, but the fire left them with a much longer, more dangerous route to leave the park, according to ranger Pam Tripp. Although the fire is burning through Joshua trees, pinyon pines, junipers and desert scrub vegetation, another concern is the endangered desert tortoise and historic Lost Horse Mind itself, which was discovered in 1893 and is currently the park's best preserved stamp miss used back then to process 9,000 pounds of gold ore. *UPDATE*: As of 10 a.m., the fire was 50% contained and expected to be at 100% by 8 a.m., Tuesday morning.