Kaibab National Forest fire managers will be continuing treatments on the Russell Prescribed Fire Project located on the Tusayan Ranger District approximately 18 miles southeast of the town of Tusayan beginning Tuesday. A 700 acre unit will be the first of several blocks to be ignited within the 2130 acre project area in the days ahead providing forest and weather conditions remain favorable to meet land management objectives.
Crews will begin ignitions near the junction of forest roads 310 and 311 south and west of the Arizona Trail. The trail will remain open during operations, however hikers, fuelwood gatherers, and forest users are encouraged to avoid the burn area and seek alternative locations while operations are occurring. Signs and directions will be posted in the vicinity and along the trail. This prescribed fire may be visible from Highways 64 and 180, and from the communities of Grand Canyon, Valle, and Tusayan but is not expected to impact residential areas.
The Kaibab National Forest is a fire adapted ecosystem. It is dependent on fire to play a natural role in maintaining vibrant forest health. Lack of fire in the forest has caused an abundance of fuels to build up, which can make the forest vulnerable and susceptible to more dangerous uncontrollable fire incidents. Reintroducing fire back into the ecosystem is a very effective tool to reduce fuel loads and restore the landscape back to a healthier state that is more aligned with historical conditions.
Fire managers strive to minimize smoke impacts and will only conduct ignitions when conditions exist that will allow smoke to ventilate away from sensitive areas. Smoke is expected to disperse to the northeast during the day however residual smoke may settle into drainages and low lying areas overnight but will dissipate rapidly throughout the morning hours.
During operations, fire personnel and vehicles working in these vicinities will be visible to the public. Motorists are reminded to use caution and drive with heightened awareness 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 www.azdeq.gov/environ/air/smoke/index.html.
Additional fire information for Kaibab National Forest can be obtained through the following sources: