Rock Fire grows, smoke blows northeast toward Cameron, Tuba City

Firefighter in smoke. Rock Fire, Kaibab National Forest Tusayan Ranger District, Arizona, Aug. 4, 2015 | Photo by Brandon Oberhardt. courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service, Southwestern Region, Kaibab National Forest; St. George News

TUSAYAN, Ariz. — A lightning-caused wildfire on the Tusayan Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest has grown to 650 acres in size. The Rock Fire is located near Rock Lake Pothole just south of the Coconino Rim, about 15 miles southeast of the Town of Tusayan.

Rock Fire, Kaibab National Forest  Tusayan Ranger District, Arizona, Aug. 4, 2015 | Photo by Brandon Oberhardt. courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service, Southwestern Region, Kaibab National Forest; St. George News
Rock Fire, Kaibab National Forest Tusayan Ranger District, Arizona, Aug. 4, 2015 | Photo by Brandon Oberhardt. courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service, Southwestern Region, Kaibab National Forest; St. George News

The fire, which was started by lightning July 31 and discovered by fire managers Aug. 1, is burning at a low-to-moderate level of intensity through an area dominated by ponderosa pine trees. Fire managers plan to allow the wildfire to take its natural course within predefined boundaries in order to help restore ecological balance across the landscape so the area is more resilient to threats, such as future high-intensity wildfires.

Firefighters monitored the fire Wednesday as it steadily grows toward the northeast. They are continuing to identify and prepare fire-sensitive resources such as archaeological sites and range fences located within the management area in anticipation of the wildfire’s future growth.

This important work ensures that as the Rock Fire grows, fire managers will be able to allow it to take its natural course without the risk of negatively impacting other values in the area.

In the early morning hours, smoke stayed within the general vicinity of the fire. However, as air temperatures heat up, prevailing winds will likely blow the smoke northeast toward the Cameron and Tuba City area.

Though the weather forecast called for a chance of showers Thursday afternoon, the Rock Fire is expected to burn actively over the next two days and produce smoke that will be visible from Cameron, Tuba City, Valle and Highway 64. Smoke may sink overnight into Tappan Wash and potentially move toward Cameron.

There are no closures associated with the Rock Fire.

Map shows Rock Fire perimeter outlined in red, with management area outlined in black. Tusayan Ranger District of Kaibab National Forest , Arizona, Aug. 5, 2015 | Map courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service, Southwestern Region, Kaibab National Forest; St. George News
Map shows Rock Fire perimeter outlined in red, with management area outlined in black. Tusayan Ranger District of Kaibab National Forest , Arizona, Aug. 5, 2015 | Map courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service, Southwestern Region, Kaibab National Forest; St. George News

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