National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) fire managers, working together as the North Zone Interagency Fire Management Program, anticipate initiating a prescribed fire treatment this fall as weather and fuel moisture conditions allow near the boundary line between the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab NF and the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The South Rim Fire Management Program is also planning a prescribed fire treatment this fall working with the Tusayan Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest.
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 assuring firefighter and visitor safety and to 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 cultural and natural resources.
North Zone Tipover East Prescribed Fire (Tipover East Rx): The Tipover East prescribed fire project is located along the boundary of Grand Canyon National Park and the Kaibab National Forest west of Highway 67, south of FS 223 (Fire Point road), and east of FS 268, FS268B, and the W4a road.
This entire burn unit is approximately 10,300 acres in size and will be treated in a multi-year implementation approach. The number of acres treated will vary from year to year. The Tipover East Rx includes previously untreated areas (first-entry) and areas that have experienced fire in the recent past. The area is comprised of mixed conifer forest and ponderosa pine.
Objectives of the Tipover East Rx include reducing hazardous fuels, returning fire to a fire-adapted ecosystem, and aid in protecting and enhancing Mexican spotted owl habitat.
Long Jim III Prescribed Fire (Long Jim Rx): The Long Jim Rx burn unit is adjacent to the developed area on the South Rim and is 1,944 acres in size.
This burn unit is comprised of pinon, juniper, and ponderosa pine. Objectives specific to the Long Jim Rx include improving the defensible space in the Wildland/Urban Interface (WUI) within the South Rim developed area and returning fire into a fire-adapted ecosystem.
Pile Burns: Fire managers are also preparing to burn piles of woody debris as weather conditions allow. On the South Rim, approximately 20 acres of piles are located on the south side of Center Road.
Smoke: Smoke from prescribed fires will be most visible during ignition operations and will likely gradually diminish after ignitions are completed. Smoke may be visible along Highway 67 and 89A as well as from various locations on the North Rim and South Rim. Highway 64 East, also known as Desert View Drive, will most likely have heavy smoke impacts during ignitions and may require pilot car operations. Smoke is expected to settle in the canyon one to three days after each ignition related to the Tipover Rx and Long Jim Rx.
Fire managers are working with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality- Smoke Management Division to reduce and mitigate potential smoke impacts.
Visitors may see fire personnel, vehicles, and air support in the vicinity when any prescribed fire is being implemented. Please drive slowly, turn your lights on, and avoid stopping in areas where fire personnel are working.
Plans for each burn unit contain a set of parameters which define the desired weather and fuel conditions under which a prescribed fire can be initiated. Prior to implementing the burns, fire managers will evaluate current conditions and will only begin ignition if the prescribed conditions are within those parameters.
Ignition of any of these prescribed fires will be announced via Twitter @GrandCanyonNPS and on the park’s website http://www.nps.gov/grca/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm
. Status of any initiated prescribed fire can be tracked on InciWeb at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/