Crews plan to continue working on the Reed Prescribed Fire project east of Tusayan over the next few days and will likely begin on Friday of this week. Burning may continue into the week ahead providing weather conditions remain favorable for meeting forest health objectives and desired smoke dispersion.
Ignitions are set to continue on a 289 acre block approximately 4 miles east of Tusayan and just south of the East Rim Drive in the Grand Canyon National Park.
“The majority of smoke produced during daytime operations is expected to disperse away from sensitive areas, however we do expect some residual smoke to settle into drainages and low lying areas overnight.” said Quentin Johnson, Fire Management Officer on the Tusayan Ranger District. “Due to the proximity of these particular burn units located relatively close to town, our biggest challenge is trying to treat these acres with the least amount of smoke impact to the surrounding communities.”
Managers recognize the inconvenience smoke can cause and adjust tactics to limit the number of days smoke is in the air by burning smaller portions and only igniting every few days allowing ventilation to occur earlier and more rapidly. Among the many benefits of re-introducing fire to landscapes in these forested areas, broadcast burning is utilized to remove dead and down debris from ground surfaces over wide areas lessening the potential for a catastrophic wildfire.
Smoke may be visible from Highway 64 and from the communities of Grand Canyon, Valle and Tusayan. Overnight smoke impacts are expected to lift and ventilate rapidly each morning as ground surface temperatures warm in the morning hours.
Officials remind motorists to always use caution when driving on roadways where visibility may potentially be impacted by smoke. Fire managers work closely with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, partners in the Grand Canyon National Park, as well as surrounding Native American tribes to monitor air quality.
For more information and the most current updates about prescribed fire on the Kaibab National Forest the following resources are available:
• Inciweb: inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5160/
• Fire Information Recorded Hotline: 928-635-8311
• Facebook: www.facebook.com/KaibabNF/
• Twitter: twitter.com/kaibabnf (Text ‘follow kaibabnf’ to 40404 to receive text messages.)
• Kaibab website “News & Events”: www.fs.usda.gov/kaibab