The fires being managed for resource benefit on the Kaibab National Forest and the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park increased in activity yesterday due to drier conditions. Fire managers are hopeful that the drier weather pattern will allow the fires to continue growing and achieving resource objectives such as improving forest health and reducing the likelihood of future high-severity fires.
“This is what we expect when we manage resource benefit fires during monsoon season,” said James Pettit, fire management officer for the Williams Ranger District, on which the Sitgreaves Fire Complex is burning. “The fires become more active and spread when conditions are dry, and then slow and smolder when rain returns. This is how lightning-caused fires would have naturally burned during this time of the year, and we adjust our management activities accordingly.”
The goal is to allow the fires to burn as they would naturally as long as they can be safely managed while benefiting forest resources.
Williams Ranger District: The Sitgreaves Complex, which is located about 5 miles northwest of Parks, is 4,140 acres in size. As afternoon temperatures heat up the existing burn area, fire managers expect that smoke production will increase. Today, fire officials anticipate that managed ignitions will resume along existing fire lines, which will also result in smoke being more visible. Sitgreaves Complex information is available on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SitgreavesFireInformation.
Tusayan Ranger District: Fire officials are managing a new fire start called the Hammer Fire. The Hammer Fire, which was discovered July 29, has grown to 24 acres and is located near Camp 36 Tank about 10 miles east to southeast of Tusayan. The Hammer Fire is being managed as part of the McRae Fire Complex and is expected to grow rapidly as long as drier conditions prevail.
The 3,900-acre McRae Fire, located a few miles southeast of Tusayan, is also expected to grow today as crews conduct managed ignitions along the south end of the fire on Forest Road 305AB. Smoke from the McRae Complex should move away from Tusayan but will be visible from State Highway 64.
North Kaibab Ranger District: The Quaking Fire, which is located about 40 miles southeast of Fredonia, Ariz., is 337 acres. Drier conditions over the last two days have allowed the fire to begin growing again. If conditions are appropriate, fire officials will start managed ignitions along Forest Road 271 between the 271L and 271H roads.
North Rim Grand Canyon: The Kanabownits Fire remains at 303 acres in size and is located about a mile northeast of the historic Kanabownits Cabin on the Walla Valley Peninsula. Crews are monitoring the fire and doing preparation work for future operations. Smoke production has been minimal but is likely to increase as conditions dry out.
For fire information, visit inciweb.nwcg.gov or follow @KaibabNF and @GrandCanyonNPS on Twitter. Photos are available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/kaibabnationalforest. For recorded fire information, call (928) 635-8311 (Kaibab National Forest) or (928) 638-7819 (Grand Canyon National Park.)
For more information on smoke and air quality please visit www.azdeq.gov or wildlandfire.az.gov.