National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) fire managers, working together as the North Zone Interagency Fire Management Program, anticipate initiating more prescribed fire (Rx) treatments as early as Wednesday as weather and fuel moisture conditions allow on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park and the North Kaibab 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.
This week’s planned treatment areas are as follows:
North Rim Slopes Rx: Fire managers treated approximately 1200 acres within the North Rim Slopes Rx unit last week and plan to use hand ignitions to treat up to 250 acres per day through Saturday if conditions are conducive to safely do so. Specific objectives include reducing accumulations of hazardous fuels by 25 percent and returning fire to a fire-adapted ecosystem.
High Severity Edge Rx: The High Severity Edge Rx is in primarily ponderosa pine forest on the Walhalla Plateau, west of Cape Royal Road. Fire managers plan to treat up to 250 acres per day through Saturday. This protection project is a third-entry treatment for an area that recently had wildfires - the 2009 Aspen Fire and the 2001 Vista Fire. A specific objective of this Rx is to limit new high severity fires on the Walhalla Plateau.
Wildhorse Rx: The Wildhorse prescribed burn unit (Wildhorse Rx) consists of vegetation that is predominantly ponderosa pine, pinyon pine, juniper and a few scattered clumps of aspen. The unit is approximately 2,800 acres and is located near Jacob Lake. Objectives include reducing accumulations of hazardous fuels down to 5 tons-per-acre and protecting sensitive cultural and natural resources.
Smoke impacts may include Forest Service roads north of Jacob Lake, Highway 89A, Jacob Lake developed area and the LeFevre overlook.
Tipover East Rx: Fire managers have completed ignitions on the Tipover East Rx. The unit is located on a strip of forested land along the boundary of Grand Canyon National Park and the Kaibab National Forest west of Highway 67. Firefighters continue to monitor and patrol the unit. Specific objectives for this unit include reducing accumulations of hazardous fuels and protecting sensitive cultural and natural resources.
Smoke Impacts: Smoke will be visible from various locations on the North and South rims, including Grand Canyon Village and Desert View, and Arizona Highways 64, 67 and 89A and US Highway 89. Additional smoke impacts may occur in the Marble Canyon area and as far away as Page.
Smoke may impact traffic and may also be present in the inner canyon. Motorists should use caution, drive slowly, turn on headlights, follow directions of signs and personnel and avoid stopping in areas where fire personnel are working.
Fire managers are working with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Smoke Management Division to reduce and mitigate potential smoke impacts. For additional information and to view prescribed burns authorized on any given day, please visit http://www.azdeq.gov/environ/air/smoke/index.html.
Fire Information: Additional fire information about the North Zone Interagency Fire Management Program’s fall prescribed fires can be found at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5632/; Kaibab National Forest Fire Information Phone Line 928-635-8311; or https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/management/fire_info.htm.