Fire update: 11K acres closed in Kaibab National Forest

USFS Firefighter | STGnews.com
A USFS firefighter conducts managed ignitions on the McRae Fire near Tusayan, Arizona, July 17, 2014 | Photo courtesy of US Agriculture Department Forest Service, St. George News

COCONINO COUNTY, Ariz. – Fires ignited in the Kaibab National Forest since last week have been allowed to grow and burn on managed levels in what are called “beneficial resource fires.”

The fires are being allowed to burn in North Kaibab, Tusayan and Williams ranger districts of the Kaibab National Forest. Forest Service officials have said these managed fires help accomplish multiple objectives considered beneficial for the area. These objectives include reducing accumulated forest litter and fuels, maintaining fire in a fire-adapted ecosystem, increasing firefighter and public safety, and protecting cultural resources and wildlife habitat.

Current fires in the Kaibab National Forest

Williams Ranger District: Currently 40 acres in size, the Sitgreaves Fire is located approximately 5 miles northwest of Parks, Arizona. Fire crews will continue to back down the western  and southern slopes as it burns through forest pine litter. To plan for fire growth, officials have identified a specific planning area of approximately 14,800 acres in which the fire could spread. Smoke may be highly visible from Interstate 40.

Currently 188 acres in size, the Duck Fire is located approximately 3 miles northwest of Parks, Arizona. Fire growth has become more active due to drier conditions. Smoke is highly visible from I-40.

North Kaibab Ranger District: Currently 6 acres in size, the Quaking Fire is located approximately 76 miles southeast of Fredonia, Arizona. To plan for fire growth, officials have identified a specific planning area of approximately 1,100 acres in which the fire could spread. No smoke impacts are anticipated at this time.

Tusayan Ranger District: Currently 625 acres in size, the McRae Fire is located approximately 5 miles southeast of Tusayan, Arizona. To plan for fire growth, officials have identified a specific planning area of approximately 11,000 acres in which the fire could spread. Friday, crews are planning 400 acres of managed ignitions as needed within the planning area. Smoke may become highly visible from Highway 64.

For firefighter and public safety, the Kaibab National Forest has closed the 11,ooo-acre McRae Fire planning area to all public access. The closure went into effect at 8 a.m. Friday. It will remain in effect until rescinded or until Aug. 15, whichever comes first.

McRae Fire Planning Area closure area description

National Forest system lands bounded to the east by Forest Service Road 2725, to the south by FSR 305, to the west by U.S. Highway 64 and to the north by FSR 688. Roads within the Closure Area include:

Forest Road 305AH Forest Road 2703
Forest Road 305A Forest Road 2703A
Forest Road 305AC Forest Road 305AD
Forest Road 305AB
Image courtesy of the Tusayan Ranger District, St. George News
Image courtesy of the Tusayan Ranger District, St. George News

Although the McRae Fire is being managed for resource benefits, numerous hazards still exist in the planning area at this time. Please use extreme caution and note that:

  • Previously burned areas may continue to smolder and hold heat for many days.
  • Burned branches may fall from standing trees.
  • Burned stump holes may not be visible because of ash and dirt.
  • Firefighters may be actively burning through managed ignitions within the planning area.

Fire activity updates and maps available 24 hours at:

  • Fire Information Line: 928-635-8311
  • Inciweb: inciweb.nwcg.gov
  • Text Message: text “follow kaibabnf” to 40404

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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