This story was updated at 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.  and 11 a.m.  Saturday with more information about the fire and the arrest.

Two suspected THC extraction labs have caused two house fires in two days in the Morongo Basin. A suspected illegal marijuana grow and drug lab are believed to be responsible for a house fire in Yucca Valley Friday afternoon, and a 35-year-old resident was arrested. Firefighters from Yucca Valley, Yucca Mesa, Joshua Tree, Twentynine Palms and the Combat Center were called to the 54800 block of Navajo Trail at 2:32 p.m. Smoke was visible from miles away, and County Fire Battalion Chief Donnie Viloria said firefighters saw flames coming from windows on the north and west sides of the home when they arrived. All the occupants got out of the house safely. Yucca Valley firefighters began an aggressive attack on the exterior of the house while waiting for the back-up firefighters. According to Viloria, challenging building construction, concealed spaces, and multiple layers of roofing sheeting hampered efforts to ventilate the house. After the fire was extinguished, firefighters noted what appeared to be equipment for a drug lab inside the house. Investigators from the fire department and the Sheriff’s arson and bomb detail were called in and deputies found a THC extraction lab and an indoor marijuana grow with about 80 plants. Neighbors told Z107.7 News that they heard several popping noises before the fire started and the smell of burning marijuana was noticeable in the air. A resident, Larry Evans, was arrested for investigation of manufacturing a controlled substance. Larry Evans was booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $500,000. Just Wednesday another THC extraction lab caused a fire in a Morongo Valley home.

Photo courtesy George Cox

Black smoke pours from a window during a Yucca Valley house fire. Tami Roleff photo

Thick smoke pours out of a window during a house fire in the 54800 block of Navajo Trail in Yucca Valley Friday afternoon. Tami Roleff photo

Yucca Valley firefighters were first on the scene of the Yucca Valley house fire, and started an aggressive exterior attack. Tami Roleff photo


The days are getting longer and that means it’s time to change our clocks again. Rebecca Havely reminds you to not only change your clocks tonight, but your smoke alarm’s batteries as well…

Sunday, March 11, is the start of Daylight Saving Time and that means it’s time to “spring forward” one hour. It also means it’s not only time to change your clocks but also your smoke detector batteries. While electronic devices may change their clocks automatically, it’s up to you to keep yourself and your family safe by changing smoke alarm batteries. Test the smoke alarm to ensure that it works and remember to check all smoke alarms monthly. A working smoke alarm can decrease a family’s risk of dying in a house fire by nearly 50 percent. Smoke alarms should be placed on every floor of your home, in every bedroom, and any outside sleeping areas.


Lifetree Café is a place where people gather for conversation about life and faith in a casual, comfortable setting. This week’s discussion will be about the safety of churches. Here’s reporter Tanisha Cureton with the details…

Approaching the issue of church security will be explored at Lifetree Café on Sunday, March 11, at 4 p.m. The program titled “In the News: God and Guns” features an interview with Frank Pomeroy, the pastor of a Texas church targeted in a shooting that claimed 26 lives in November 2017. Participants will have an opportunity to discuss what level of security churches should offer. Church leaders and church members are encouraged to attend. This free 60-minute event will be located behind Little Church of the Desert at Veterans Way and Ocotillo Avenue in Twentynine Palms. For more information call, 760-217-2597.


Things are getting a bit surreal this month at Gallery 62 in downtown Joshua Tree. Managing editor Tami Roleff says there’s a new art exhibit called “What Dreams May Come”…

March’s art show at Gallery 62 in downtown Joshua Tree features the art of six local artists: intriguing sculptures by Eric Banas; pixelated paintings by David Bottoms; abstract paintings of the human form by Jason Graves; collages of photography and images from the Victorian era by Kat Johnson; and fanciful photomontage pieces by Ray Yeager. In the Signature Gallery is Patrick Glynn with his heart photography. An opening reception is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 10, during the Second Saturday Art Crawl. The show is on display through April 1. Gallery hours are Fridays and Sundays from noon to 3, and Saturdays from 9 to 3. Gallery 62 is located at 60167 29 Palms Highway, Suite H, in downtown Joshua Tree.


Harrison House presents hammer dulcimer player Dan Joseph. Reporter Eric Knabe tells you how you can hear those sweet dulcimer tones…

On Sunday, March 11, at 4 p.m., Harrison House Music, Arts & Ecology will present a special night of music with hammer dulcimer player, Dan Joseph playing his original composition, “Dulcimer Flight.” Dan Joseph is a composer, performer, writer and curator based in New York City. For the past 15 years, the hammer dulcimer has been the primary vehicle for his music. The performance will be held at Harrison House, 6881 Mt. Lassen Ave., in Joshua Tree. Tickets for the performance are $20 and available online at or at Joshua Tree Health Foods at 29 Palms Highway and Sunset Avenue.


Sky’s the Limit Observatory and Nature Center invites stargazers to enjoy the desert night sky. A variety of telescopes will be available for guests to view the incredible cosmic sights. Here’s reporter Tanisha Cureton with the details…

Some of the brightest constellations will stand out against the winter Milky Way during this time of the year. This includes the Great Orion Nebula, the Big Dipper and many more. The campus is always open, so arrive around sunset to allow time to visit other educational attractions before the cosmic tour begins at dark. Guests are asked to a bring a red flashlight to preserve night vision. This free event will be held Saturday, March 10, from 6:30p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The Observatory is just outside the main entrance to Joshua Tree National Park at 9697 Utah Trail, Twentynine Palms. For more information, call 760-365-7897.


The Morongo Basin Tennis Association will host a youth tennis league at Twentynine Palms High School from March 13 to May 12. Practices will be Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. On Saturdays there will be family play days from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Twentynine Palms High School tennis courts. Students from the ages of 6 to 18 are invited to come join in the fun. Registration is $30 per child and each child will receive a t-shirt with their registration. For more information, call Coach Ingram or Coach Shay at 760-367-9591.