Prescribed fire operations will continue in the week ahead on both the Tusayan and Williams Ranger Districts at three project locations on the south zone of the Kaibab National Forest.
On Monday, November 15, ignitions will occur on the Reed Rx Project: “Skinner North Unit”, 6 miles southeast of Tusayan. This unit is approximately 1400 acres in size. A helicopter may be utilized to conduct aerial ignitions providing conditions are suitable to meet objectives.
On Tuesday November 16, 155 acres on the “Upper Ten X Unit”, 3 miles east of Tusayan will be treated.
Both these burns will produce visible smoke have the potential to impact Highway 64 and the community of Tusayan with early morning smoke caused by overnight inversion. Smoke is expected to lift and ventilate out rapidly by about 9:00 am each morning.
The Grand Canyon National Park may also be conducting prescribed fire operations on the south rim in the same general vicinity which may also have potential smoke impacts on local communities.
On Wednesday November 17, crews will shift operations to the Williams Ranger District and begin ignitions on the Marteen Rx Project: “Backward Unit”, located 5 miles north of Spring Valley, and west of forest road 144. Approximately 1028 acres are scheduled for treatment on this unit. Aerial ignitions from a helicopter may also be used on this project to shorten ignition time and allow more hours in the day for ventilation reducing long term smoke impacts.
Smoke will be visible from Highways 64 and 180 and have potential to drift into the communities of Red Lake and Valle overnight.
Prescribed fire is used fire as a practical means to reduce risks associated with uncharacteristic wildfires that can pose significant threats to public health and safety. On each day, fire managers evaluate local conditions that include weather patterns, temperatures, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, fuel moistures, and smoke ventilation. Daily ignitions will only occur when environmental factors align with the required prescription that will achieve desired results and meet land management objectives.
The Forest Service’s land management strategy is centered on long-term forest health, which includes reducing forest fuels and using prescribed fire on the landscape.
Although impacts to air quality may be unpleasant at times, the objective is to significantly reduce the amount and limit the duration of smoke more effectively using prescribed methods. Fire managers will actively monitor atmospheric conditions daily and use strategies to minimize smoke impacts to rural developed areas.
During operations, fire personnel and vehicles working in these vicinities may be visible to the public. Motorists are reminded to slow down and drive with heightened caution when passing through active project areas.
All prescribed burning on the Kaibab National Forest is subject to approval by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. For additional information about the Smoke Management Division of the ADEQ and to view prescribed burn authorizations, please visit: legacy.azdeq.gov/environ/air/smoke/index.html
For additional information about prescribed fires on the Kaibab National Forest, please visit the following sources: