The Upper Ten X units on the Reed Prescribed Fire Project located 3 miles east of the Town of Tusayan will be active over the next few weeks as weather permits. Kaibab National Forest fire crews will continue low intensity surface burning to reduce fuel loads in forested areas around the community of Tusayan increasing protection from potential negative effects of uncontrolled wildfire.
Beginning Friday December 3, crews will use hand ignitions to burn a 64-acre unit, and then continue with a series of units the following week. The intent is to burn smaller blocks early in the day to allow time for smoke to lift and ventilate away reducing smoke impacts to rural areas nearby. Managers try to schedule units for treatment every few days leaving openings between burns to assist with managing air quality and allow for good smoke dispersion.
Smoke is forecasted to ventilate away from Tusayan during the day, but residual smoke may settle into drainages and low-lying areas overnight due to atmospheric inversion. Some smoke will likely be visible in Tusayan and along Highway 64 in the early morning hours after a burn, however, will generally clear rapidly as surface temperatures increase with sunrise.
The Arizona Trail adjacent to the area being treated will remain open. Hikers and trail users are asked to follow directions posted and comply with any temporary detours that may be in place during operations. Visitors should always use extra caution when passing through any area where prescribed burns are occurring.
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.
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
Additional fire information for Kaibab National Forest can be obtained through the following sources: