Beginning April 17, National Park Service and USDA Forest Service fire managers, working together as the North Zone Interagency Fire Management Program, anticipate initiating prescribed burns on the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Over the next several weeks fire managers will be assessing weather, fuel moistures, and other conditions for opportunities to conduct burns safely and effectively.
Units targeted for spring burning are in areas south of Jacob Lake, Crazy Jug/Big Saddle area, and the North Rim Developed area. The North Rim and National Forest areas south of Jacob Lake remained closed until May 15, making this an opportune time to perform burns for infrastructure protection and hazardous fuel reduction as smoke impacts and disruption to visitor experiences would be minimized.
Smoke: Prescribed fire smoke from will be most visible during ignition operations and will likely gradually diminish after ignitions are completed. Smoke may be visible along Highways 89A and 67 as well as from various locations on the North Rim and South Rim. Smoke is expected in the canyon, one to three days after each ignition. Fire managers are working with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality- Smoke Management Division to reduce and mitigate potential smoke impacts.
Fire managers plan to treat a total of approximately 2100 acres with broadcast burning, targeting light surface fuels and downed woody debris composed of logs, twigs, and stems. These types of prescribed fires are important for removing forest floor fuels which are the primary carriers of fire during wildfire events. Weather conditions and outlooks play a key role in the success of prescribed fire implementation and fire managers are working closely with National Weather Service forecasters prior to prescribed fire implementation.
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 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.
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 fire conditions are within allowable environmental parameters.
For additional information, visit the Kaibab National Forest fire management webpage and Grand Canyon National Park fire management webpage.