Sitgreaves Complex

The Sitgreaves Complex on the Williams Ranger District near Parks, Ariz., reached its final size of 11,080 acres earlier this month, improving overall forest health, wildlife habitat and community safety in an area that hadn’t seen significant fire in close to a century.

The lightning-caused Duck Fire was discovered July 7 about 3 miles northwest of Parks, and fire managers decided to allow it to continue burning as it would naturally as long as it could be safely managed while benefiting forest resources.

Yesterday crews reported active fire behavior in the south and southwest areas near Bald Mountain. This fire behavior was the result of growth from the heat and embers that remained during periods of higher moisture. Due to this resumed activity, crews conducted approximately 90 acres of managed ignitions along FSR 74 to help protect cultural sites within the planning area.

The Sitgreaves Complex is continuing to cycle through a natural ‘rev and idle’ growth pattern as conditions shift from dry to wet and back again. While recent rains have slowed new fire growth, heat remains throughout the fire interior due to the large amount of hazardous fuel and forest litter that has accumulated in the past 98 years across much of the area. Additionally, large fuels like a fallen tree, can hold heat and embers for many weeks.

The two resource-benefit fires southeast of Tusayan have treated a total of 6,711 acres since they were started by lightning last month, improving overall forest health and helping restore the historic fire regime in the ponderosa pine and pinyon-juniper ecosystems in which they are burning.

Yesterday, crews completed what were expected to be the final managed ignitions associated with the now 5,505-acre McRae Fire. Over the next few days, the fire will spread slowly within the predetermined boundaries established for it.

The two fires being managed to achieve resource objectives southeast of Tusayan, Ariz., received rain yesterday slowing their growth temporarily.

The 5,071-acre McRae Fire didn’t expand yesterday but continued creeping and smoldering within the fire area. Fire managers are hopeful that drier conditions this week will allow the McRae Fire to continue to grow and benefit the forest by reducing hazardous fuels and improving wildlife habitat.

The two fires being managed to achieve resource objectives near Tusayan, Ariz., remain active while the other managed fires on the Kaibab National Forest and the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park have slowed substantially or petered out due to rain. Much of northern Arizona has received substantial precipitation over the last few days, putting a damper on the naturally-ignited fires that were being managed to improve forest health and reduce the likelihood of future high-severity fires.

The fires being managed for resource benefit on the Kaibab National Forest and the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park are growing slowly but steadily as weather conditions vary on a daily basis. Yesterday, the fires received varying amounts of precipitation, from a heavy downpour on the Sitgreaves Complex to more light and scattered rainfall on the fires further north.

The fires being managed for resource benefit on the Kaibab National Forest and the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park increased in activity yesterday due to drier conditions. Fire managers are hopeful that the drier weather pattern will allow the fires to continue growing and achieving resource objectives such as improving forest health and reducing the likelihood of future high-severity fires.

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