GRAND CANYON, Ariz. – Fire managers will take advantage of favorable weather conditions over the next several weeks and initiate prescribed burns on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
The Bright Angel Prescribed Fire (Bright Angel Rx) is located near the North Rim developed area. The entire burn unit is approximately 387 acres in size and is comprised mostly of ponderosa pine and mixed conifer forest.
Objectives of the Bright Angel Rx include reducing the accumulation of forest fuels in the area to protect life and property from wildfire, to aid in the preservation of historic structures and archaeological sites, and to help restore the North Rim developed area cultural landscape.
Fire managers also anticipate initiating pile burns in the North Rim developed area depending on weather conditions. Piles consist of small diameter trees, branches, and twigs removed during hazardous fuel reduction projects intended to improve defensible space within the wildland urban interface at the North Rim.
Prescribed fires play an important role in decreasing risks to life, resources, and property. Fire managers carefully plan prescribed fires, initiating them only under environmental conditions that are favorable to assuring firefighter and visitor safety and to achieving the desired objectives.
Prescribed fire objectives include:
- Reducing accumulations of hazard fuels.
- Maintaining the natural role of fire in a fire-adapted ecosystem.
- Protection of sensitive cultural and natural resources.
Fire managers are working with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality-Smoke Management Division to reduce and mitigate potential smoke impacts. Smoke from prescribed fires will be most visible during ignition operations and will likely gradually diminish after ignitions are completed.
Smoke will be visible from Highway 67 and 89A as well as various locations on the North Rim and South Rim.
Visitors may see fire personnel, vehicles, and air support in the vicinity when any prescribed fire is being implemented. Drive slowly, turn your lights on, avoid stopping in areas where fire personnel are working, and follow directions of signs or fire personnel.
Plans for each burn unit contain a set of parameters which define the desired weather and fuel conditions under which a prescribed fire can be initiated. Prior to implementing the burns, fire managers will evaluate current conditions and will only begin ignition if the prescribed conditions are within those parameters.