While the Jar Complex fires (lightning-caused) on the Tusayan Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest grew only slightly yesterday due to rain, firefighters continued work in preparation of the fires’ eventual spread.
Prep work included lining archaeological sites, trick tanks, range fences and other potentially fire-sensitive resources within the planning areas established for the fires. This important work ensures that when the four fires that are part of the Jar Complex become active again, managers will be able to allow them to grow and treat acres without the risk of negatively impacting these other values in the area.
“The fires received some precipitation over the last few days, so they are mostly smoldering right now,” said Josh Miller, assistant fire management officer for the Tusayan Ranger District. “That gives us plenty of opportunity to stay ahead of the prep work that needs to be done within the two planning areas for the fires. That work will be valuable when conditions dry out and these fires start moving around again.”
Besides providing protection for potentially fire-sensitive resources within an area, prep work can also be important to ensuring a fire stays within the predetermined boundaries established for it. As an example, firefighters may reinforce boundaries by using drip torches to burn fuels along perimeter roads, also known as black lining operations. Miller added that black lining operations will likely be planned for the Jar Complex area once conditions dry out a bit.
Besides continuing with prep work, crews will also be improving Forest Road 301 today between Camp 36 Tank and Bucklar Ranch. The road serves as the northern boundary for the Mason Fire planning area and also as access for firefighters working the fires. Motorists using forest roads 301, 301A, 302 and 320 are asked to use caution over the coming days and weeks due to the presence of heavy equipment for the road improvement work and firefighting trucks and personnel.
The 82-acre Mason Fire is the largest of the four lightning-caused fires that are part of the Jar Complex, which is being managed to achieve resource objectives such as improved forest health and reduced potential for future high-intensity wildfires. The Lost, Shale and Old fires all remain at under an acre in size each. Smoke is not likely to be very visible today, as cloud cover and rain showers are expected.
Additional Jar Complex information, photos and maps are available through the following sources: InciWeb http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4344/; Kaibab National Forest Fire Information Phone Line (928) 635-8311; Text Message - text ‘follow kaibabnf’ to 40404.
Additional Jar Complex information, photos and maps are available through the following sources: