This week, National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) fire managers, working together as the North Zone Interagency Fire Management Program, plan to begin conducting pile burns north of the Grand Canyon. Hand piles composed of woody debris are located near the NPS developed zone at the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park as well as around Big Saddle, Demotte, and Jacob Lake on USFS administered lands. Fire managers anticipate conducting prescribed burns through mid-December, as conditions allow, to reduce hazardous fuels and enhance site protection at these high-priority locations.
Prescribed fire smoke will be most visible during ignition operations and will likely gradually diminish after ignitions are completed. Smoke may be noticeable from Jacob Lake, Fredonia, Highways 89A and 67, and from various locations on the North Rim and South Rim. Smoke is expected in the canyon one to three days after each ignition. Fire managers are working with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Smoke Management Division to reduce and mitigate potential smoke impacts.
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. Prescribed fire objectives include reducing accumulations of hazard fuels, maintaining the natural role of fire in a fire-adapted ecosystem, and protection of sensitive cultural and natural resources.
Plans for each burn unit contain a set of parameters which define the desired weather and fuel conditions under which a prescribed fire can be initiated. Prior to implementing the burns, fire managers will evaluate current conditions and will only begin ignition if the prescribed fire conditions are within allowable environmental parameters.
For additional information, visit the Kaibab National Forest fire management webpage and Grand Canyon National Park fire management webpage.