Grand Canyon National Park fire managers anticipate initiating prescribed pile burning this week as weather and fuel moisture conditions allow. As part of the South Rim Piles Project, they will burn 3,500 piles of woody debris east and west of South Entrance Road and south of Highway 64 (Desert View Drive) East. These 5'x5'x5' piles are comprised of slash left after mechanical thinning or cutting of trees within the 150 acre project area, and are being burned as part of a key objective of the project, which is to reduce the fuel load.
Smoke from the South Rim Piles Project will be most visible during ignition operations and will likely gradually diminish after ignitions are completed. Smoke impacts to Highway 64 should be minimal, but drivers are advised to move along the highway slowly with their lights on, avoid stopping in areas where fire personnel are working, and follow directions of signs and personnel. There are no road closures anticipated at this time.
Smoke will also be visible from various locations on the North and South rims, including Grand Canyon Village. Fire managers are working with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality-Smoke Management Division to reduce and mitigate potential smoke impacts.
Prescribed fires play an important role in decreasing risks to life, resources, and property. Fire managers carefully plan prescribed fires, initiating them only under environmental conditions that are favorable to firefighter and visitor safety and achieving the desired objectives. Prescribed fire objectives include reducing accumulations of hazard fuels, maintaining the natural role of fire in a fire-adapted ecosystem, and protection of sensitive natural and cultural resources.