Since the wind event that occurred last weekend, fire managers have been implementing a plan to stop the growth of the 11,000-acre Ikes Fire, which is located on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park and the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest.
Fire crews have been completing burnout operations over the last week along Forest Road 271 from the Grand Canyon rim to the junction of Forest Road 206. On Monday, crews began extending these operations along forest roads 206 and 4008, which connected the burnout preparation work to a point on the main portion of the Ikes Fire that burned earlier in the summer. This additional work involved about 2 miles of fire line burnout, which crews successfully completed yesterday.
In addition to the work along forest roads, the Flaming Gorge Fire Use Module began treating the area along the rim of the Grand Canyon with a burnout process that will prevent any further movement of the wildfire from the plateau area into the canyon. It will also make the area on the plateau resistant to any fire movement up and out of the canyon. Firing operations may continue into the weekend, which could result in smoke impacts similar to those that have occurred over the last two days. Smoke impacts will moderate as soon as burnout operations are completed.
The Ikes Fire remains at about 11,000 acres in size. Acreage totals may increase as burnout operations are completed over the next few days. In addition to hand ignitions, fire managers may use a helicopter to conduct aerial ignitions.
An expanded area closure is in effect on the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest in order to ensure public and firefighter safety during ongoing fire operations. The closure includes the Rainbow Rim Trail area and the viewpoints from Parissawampitts Point to Stina Point. Crazy Jug Point north of Parissawampitts is open. The Kaibab National Forest will reopen the area as soon as conditions are safe for public entry.
For hikers and mountain bikers, the Arizona National Scenic Trail is an alternative recreational opportunity while the Rainbow Rim Trail is closed. The Arizona National Scenic Trail is accessible from many points along Highway 67 and offers a variety of scenery, including views into the Grand Canyon.
Highway 67 and the North Rim Village, North Rim Lodge and businesses are open. However, some road and trail closures are in effect for the Ikes Fire area within Grand Canyon National Park. The following roads and trails are closed on the North Rim:
- Powell Plateau Trail
- North Bass Trail
- Fire Point
- Swamp Point
- W4 road north of the intersection of the W4 and W1 roads
Smoke from the Ikes Fire has been more visible over the last few days due to the burnout operations. Visitors traveling to the area should be aware of possible smoke along Highway 67. Visitors are asked to drive carefully and turn headlights on for safety. For local air quality and related information, please visit the following websites: www.airnow.gov or the Smoke Management Division of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality at https://azdeq.gov/SmokeManagemet.
More information can be found on InciWeb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6475/. Visit www.nps.gov/grca/learn/management/firemanagement.htm for additional information about wildland fire at Grand Canyon National Park.
For information about the Kaibab National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/kaibab or @KaibabNF on Facebook and Twitter.