Updated Oct. 30 to reflect revised burn schedule.
Updated Nov. 1 to reflect further revisions.
GRAND CANYON, Ariz. – Fire managers from the National Park Service and United States Forest Service are making plans to ignite two prescribed burns over the next four months on the north rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
The Range Prescribed Fire will cover an area approximately 2,300 acres in size. The southernmost portion is located 1.5 miles north of the North Rim Campground and extends north between Highway 67 and the Range Road. It is expected to be ignited Saturday; due to moderate smoke impact, drivers should travel with extreme caution and expect delays and possible road closures over the next five days.
UPDATE: As of Oct. 30, fire managers have treated approximately 1,700 acres of the Range Prescribed Fire since ignitions began on Oct. 27. Fire managers plan to continue ignitions today and tomorrow if conditions remain favorable. Additionally, fire managers may begin ignitions on the Thompson Prescribed Fire as early as Nov. 2.
UPDATE: Fire managers completed ignitions on the Range Prescribed Fire Nov. 1. Approximately 2,300 acres have been treated. If environmental conditions remain favorable, fire managers plan to begin ignitions on the Thompson Prescribed Fire tomorrow.
Composed mainly of mixed conifer forest with spruce, fir, aspen and ponderosa pine, most of this area has not burned in recent years, resulting in build-up of dead fuel. Objectives specific to the ignition of this fire include protecting and enhancing Mexican spotted owl habitat and reducing the risk of fire along Highway 67.
The Thompson Prescribed Fire covers a narrow area approximately 2,000 acres in size on the northern boundary of the park, between Highway 67 and the Arizona Trail. The fire will extend out of the park boundary to Forest Service road 610, hence the joint management between NPS and USFS.
This area is composed primarily of ponderosa pine with some spruce, fir and aspen. Like the Range fire area, this land has not experienced recent fire. Objectives specific to the ignition of this fire include creating a space along the park boundary to aid in protecting threatened and endangered species habitat, for the Apache trout and Mexican spotted owl, among others.
Smoke from both fires will be visible along Highway 67 and Highway 89A and will likely settle into the canyon in the evenings, specifically the House Rock Valley, Marble Canyon and Page areas. Smoke will be most visible during ignition and is expected to diminish gradually as the process goes on. Fire management staff are working closely with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Smoke Management Division to reduce and mitigate potential smoke impacts.
Like all prescribed burns, the plans for the Range and Thompson Prescribed Fires contain a set of parameters which define the expected weather and fuel conditions under which the fires can be initiated. Prior to implementing the burns, fire managers will evaluate current conditions and will only ignite the fires if the prescribed conditions are within those parameters.
To learn more about these fires, you may follow them on InciWeb.
Submitted by: Shannan D. Marcak, Public Affairs Specialist, Grand Canyon National Park