‘Distractions from people ignoring fire closures is counterproductive’; Grand Canyon, Kaibab fires continue to grow

View of the Cat Fire from Forest Road 611 in Arizona, date not specified | Photo courtesy of InciWeb, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Cat Fire burning in Wildcat Canyon has jumped from 7 acres to approximately 2,000 acres, prompting the incident commander to emphasize public and firefighter safety.

The Cat Fire was first reported on Monday. With the continuation of hot and dry conditions on the North Kaibab Ranger District, fire behavior increased Wednesday afternoon.

“We have many wheels turning right now as is often the case within the first 24-72 hours of an incident,” said Mike Uebel, Cat Fire-Stina Fire Incident Commander. “I can’t stress enough the importance to our forest visitors to be aware of your surroundings and adhere to fire closures. These closures are in place not only to protect the public, but also to allow firefighters to do their jobs. Fighting fires in this terrain requires an intimate knowledge of the landscape – distractions from people ignoring fire closures is counterproductive to accomplishing that mission.”

Fire managers are planning to close all roads within the planning area boundary of the Cat Fire, which is Forest Roads 213 and 220 on the north, FR 610 on the east and south and House Rock Valley Road 8910 on the east.

The following trails are closed: Arizona Trail from FR213 to FR610, North Canyon Trail, South Canyon Trail and Point Imperial and Nankoweap Trails, which are both located on Kaibab National Forest and Grand Canyon National Park land. Patrols are currently placing closure signage and roving these areas to alert campers and hikers of this closure.

Aerial reconnaissance photo of the Stina Fire | Photo courtesy of InciWeb, St. George News

Stina Fire

The Stina Fire, which was reported at 250 acres Wednesday, is now at approximately 600 acres. Hot and dry conditions are expected to continue across northern Arizona Thursday.

As a result, a closure order is going into effect for Forest Roads 223 (leading to Fire Point), 206, 271, 609, 250 south of the 250/294 junction and all Rainbow Rim trails and scenic viewpoints south of Locust Point. The trail between Locust Point and Parissawampitts Point will remain open for forest visitors. The closure order will remain in effect until lifted.

Obi Fire

The Obi Fire, which ignited from lightning July 21 on the Walhalla Plateu in Grand Canyon National Park, has also increased in acreage from 5,500 Wednesday to 7,148 Thursday.

Map displays the perimeter of the Obi Fire, indicated in red, on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park | Image courtesy of the InciWeb, St. George News | Click to enlarge

Thursday’s growth today was primarily in the northern and eastern portions of the fire perimeter. Light southwesterly winds combined with dry, unstable air contributed to the fires growth.

Cape Royal Road remains closed at this time, which include 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, according to InciWeb.

Additional information about wildland fires can be found at the Grand Canyon National Park website or on the Kaibab National Forest website. You can also call 928-638-7819 for recorded fire information.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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