The lightning-caused Three Lakes Fire south of Jacob Lake, will be managed within a designated area to reduce hazardous fuels and promote healthier landscapes.
The fire was discovered last week and is located approximately 6 miles south of Jacob Lake between Forest Road 217 and AZ-67, just east of Three Lakes on the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest. It is currently approximately 100 acres and burning with a low-to-moderate rate of spread through the mixed ponderosa pine and aspen forest and grassy meadows. Higher humidity levels and green grasses have held fire activity to a slow spread, consuming pine needle duff and dead-and-down woody debris and stumps on the forest floor.
The fire is expected to grow given the warmer, drier weather in the forecast, terrain, and available fuels. Fire managers will manage the Three Lakes Fire within a designated area as long as it continues burning in this manner and conditions allow crews to safely do so. The intended outcome of this fire includes encouraging the growth of native plants, increasing species diversity in the understory, and the restoration of wildlife habitat.
Fire crews from the USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management are patrolling, collecting data on fire behavior and on-the-ground conditions, and preparing roads and other natural control features to confine the fire within a designated area. Portions of this area were already prepared for the Three Lakes prescribed fire project that was planned for this spring.
Many other specialists are involved in managing this incident. Wildlife biologists, botanists, and archaeologists are helping to ensure that natural and cultural resources are protected, a meteorologist is providing current and forecast weather information, and air resource advisors to monitor and model smoke production and dispersal.
Smoke may be visible from various forest roads in and around the vicinity of Jacob Lake, including State Routes 67 and 89A, and Forest Roads 212, 217, 260, and 462. Smoke impacts may be anticipated for the Jacob Lake area, State Routes 67 and 89A, and House Rock Valley.
Fire personnel and vehicles will be visible to the public in the vicinity the fire, including the Jacob Lake area and State Route 67. Motorists and visitors are asked to avoid active hot areas and are reminded to use caution and drive with heightened awareness when passing through any fire vicinity. There are currently no closures in place but are anticipated as the fire grows.
The Kaibab National Forest is one of many fire-adapted ecosystems. It is dependent on fire to play a natural role in maintaining vibrant forest health. Decades of fire suppression have caused an abundance of fuels to build up, which can leave the forest vulnerable and susceptible to more dangerous high-severity wildfires. Managing naturally caused wildfires across the landscape is a very effective tool in restoring the forest to a healthier condition. These efforts align with the Forest Service's 10-year Wildfire Crisis Strategy, which aims to increase the use of fire on the landscape as well as other treatments to improve forest resiliency for generations to come.
Additional information can be found on the on InciWeb, Kaibab NF website, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, or by calling the Fire Information Hotline at 928-635-8311 or local ranger stations.