Pile burns near Jacob Lake, North Rim closures

This June 2015 photo, included for illustration purposes, shows a North Zone fire effects crew, preparing a pilot weather balloon, or PIBAL, operation, to record balloon elevation, angle, azimuth, wind speed and direction so fire managers can best mitigate smoke impacts on nearby communities. Kaibab National Forest, Arizona, June 22, 2015 | Photo courtesy of U.S. Forest Service, Southwest Region, St. George News
Map courtesy of Kaibab National Forest, St. George News
Map courtesy of Kaibab National Forest, St. George News

FREDONIA, Ariz. — Residents and visitors to Jacob Lake, Arizona, about 45 miles from the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, may notice lingering smoke through the weekend as fire managers for the North Kaibab Ranger District in Kaibab National Forest conduct planned pile burns.

No predicted smoke impacts are expected for Marble Canyon, Fredonia or Kanab, Utah.

These burns are part of the North Zone prescribed fire program.

About prescribed pile burns

Pile burning is typically completed in winter when snow is on the ground in order to mitigate fire intensity, remove excess fuel sources from the forest and improve forest health by fostering a natural burn cycle designed to reduce the amount of vegetation that can physically carry fire from the forest floor into the treetop canopy creating what is known as a crown fire.

A North Zone wildland fire fighter ignites a pile last winter in the Jacob Lake Admin Complex. Credit the U.S. Forest Service, Southwestern Region, Kaibab National Forest, circa Nov. 23, 2015 | Photo courtesy of U.S. Forest Service, St. George News
This photo, included for illustration purposes, shows a North Zone wildland fire fighter igniting a pile last winter in the Jacob Lake Admin Complex. Kaibab National Forest, winter 2014-15 | Photo courtesy of U.S. Forest Service, Southwestern Region, St. George News

This effectively reduces a wildfire’s potential to become a running crown fire; that is, one in which the entire fuel complex becomes active crown fire involved (in the treetops), but the crowning phase remains dependent on heat released from the surface fuels  (on the ground) for continued spread.

Fire crews plan to treat 50 acres of piles near the water tank located just south of the Jacob Lake Admin Complex.

Air quality control

All prescribed burning on the Kaibab National Forest is subject to approval by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and appropriate weather conditions.

This June 2015 photo, included for illustration purposes, shows a North Zone fire effects crew, during a pilot weather balloon, or PIBAL, operation, using a 10-gram pilot balloon, clinometer and compass to record balloon elevation, angle, azimuth, wind speed and direction so fire managers can best mitigate smoke impacts on nearby communities. Kaibab National Forest, Arizona, June 22, 2015 | Photo courtesy of U.S. Forest Service, St. George News
This June 2015 photo, included for illustration purposes, shows a North Zone fire effects crew, during a pilot weather balloon, or PIBAL, operation, using a 10-gram pilot balloon, clinometer and compass to record balloon elevation, angle, azimuth, wind speed and direction so fire managers can best mitigate smoke impacts on nearby communities. Kaibab National Forest, Arizona, June 22, 2015 | Photo courtesy of U.S. Forest Service, St. George News

For additional information on the Smoke Management Division of the ADEQ and to view prescribed burns authorized on any given day, visit the ADEQ website.

Nearby interests

Jacob Lake Inn, a restaurant and gas station in the area, is open year-round.

The Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center at Jacob Lake will be open on weekends from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Dec. 31.

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon remains open for day use through Tuesday, including the Lodge Gift Shop, self-service gas and diesel fuel services in the park.

Arizona Department of Transportation officials announced earlier they intend to keep state Highway 67 open through Tuesday, subject to snow impacts.

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Twitter: @STGnews

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