Continuing monsoonal moisture has allowed fire officials on the Kaibab National Forest to consider two new lightning caused wildfires on the Tusayan Ranger District for the potential of benefiting forest health objectives and community protection.
The Rain Fire located approximately 1 mile east of the Grand Canyon Airport is currently 2.5 acres in size and is burning slowly in pine needles on the ground. The Gallo Fire, approximately 4 miles northeast of Red Butte is one tenth of an acre in size and is burning in a single dead pine snag which is also nestled in a ponderosa pine type. Both areas have been receiving moisture but are receptive to low intensity ground fire at this time.
As with other naturally started wildfires, the intent is to allow them to burn as they would naturally over the landscape providing benefits to forest health. This also helps to reduce accumulations of dead debris thus creating better protection for forest resources and adjacent communities. However, rains can be heavy enough at times to dampen the forest causing these fires to eventually go out, as was the case with three other fires on the forest earlier this month that were being monitored for similar objectives.
Opportunities to allow fire to clean landscapes near developed communities are often complex in nature due to smoke impacts that have the potential to affect residents and businesses. Fire Managers always consider an array of strategies at different times of year in their decision process. The objective is to minimize the duration of these types of fires to reduce the number of days smoke is in the air.
Smoke may be visible at times from the town of Tusayan, Grand Canyon Airport, and highway 64. Motorists are asked to be aware of fire personnel and vehicles and use caution when driving near the vicinity of these fires.
For additional information the following sources are available:
Kaibab National Forest Fire Information Phone Line (928) 635-8311.