Roads, trails reopen on Grand Canyon North Rim as wildfire dies down

Firemen hose down a snag while fighting the Obi Fire in Arizona, Aug. 7, 2018 | Photo courtesy of InciWeb, St. George News

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK — As firefighting efforts against a wildfire on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park wind down, park officials are reopening several roads and trails previously closed as a result of the blaze.

Firemen fight the Obi Fire in Arizona, Aug. 10, 2018 | Photo courtesy of InciWeb, St. George News

Located in the far southwest corner of the Wahalla Plateau above Obi Point, the lightning-caused Obi Fire started July 21. Fire managers report that the fire has consumed nearly all of the fuels located in the fire’s containment area on the Walhalla Plateau, having burned through 11,532 acres. There have been no injuries to firefighters or the public reported as a result of the fire.

Currently, the fire’s behavior is described as creeping with continued smoke production. Resources currently assigned to the Obi Fire are being dispatched to higher priority incidents throughout the region as Obi Fire operations deescalate. Further downsizing of personnel is expected over the next few days.

Remaining crews will patrol the Walhalla Plateau, assessing and repairing any damage done as a result of operations and completing rehabilitation efforts.

Many of the temporary road and trail closures that were in effect for the Obi Fire at Grand Canyon National Park’s North Rim were lifted at 6 p.m. Saturday. Cape Royal Road from the junction with the Point Imperial Road is reopened all the way to Cape Royal. Additionally, the Cape Final Trail, Cliff Spring Trail, the northern section of the Ken Patrick Trail from Point Imperial to Cape Royal Road, and the southern section of the Ken Patrick Trail from Cape Royal Road to the old Bright Angel Trail reopened.

A wildland fire truck sits along the Cape Royal Road as smoke billows from burnout operations, Arizona, date not specified | Photo by Tom Engberg/National Park Service, St. George News

“We’re happy to have these trails reopened, but we want visitors to be vigilant about fire-weakened or fire-damaged trees when hiking on the reopened trails,” Obi Fire incident commander Paul Lemmon said in a news release.

Due to continued fire activity and firefighter presence in the nearby Kaibab National Forest, some road and trail closures remain in place.

Swamp Ridge Road, the North Bass Trail, the Powell Plateau Trail, Fire Point, Nankoweap Trail, and the Point Imperial Trail will remain closed until further notice. Fire managers are continuously assessing conditions in the area and will work with and advise park managers as conditions change and it becomes safe to reopen roads and trails. Prior to visiting these areas, visitors should check-in at the Backcountry Information Center or the North Rim Visitor Center.

Smoke from large-scale wildfires across the west may have impacts on the canyon over the coming days. Individuals sensitive to smoke should take precautions.

Read more: As Kaibab forest fire burns, officials warn of health issues from smoke

For additional information about wildland fire at Grand Canyon National Park, visit the park’s fire information page.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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