Prescribed fire at Grand Canyon to cause temporary road closures, trail detours

File photo of prescribed fire at Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz., Aug. 1, 2011 | Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park via Flickr, St. George News

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — Grand Canyon National Park fire managers will initiate a prescribed fire treatment Tuesday, as weather and fuel moisture conditions allow. The Long Jim Prescribed Fire is adjacent to the developed area on the South Rim, east of South Entrance Road and south of Highway 64 (Desert View Drive) East.

Map of Long Jim Prescribed Fire courtesy of the National Park Service, St. George News | Click to enlarge

Comprising pinyon, juniper and ponderosa pine, the treatment unit is 2,849 acres in size. According to a press release from the National Park Service, objectives specific to the Long Jim Prescribed Fire include improving the defensible space in the wildland/urban interface within the South Rim developed area, returning fire to a fire-adapted ecosystem and reducing fuel loads.

Crews expect to begin firing near Highway 64 East on Tuesday, and heavy smoke along the highway may impact traffic, which may require a pilot car leading alternating traffic. Visitors can expect to experience delays and temporary road closures. Park officials are asking visitors to please drive slowly, turn lights on, avoid stopping in areas where fire personnel are working and follow directions of signs and personnel.

Smoke will be visible from various locations on the North and South rims, including Grand Canyon Village, Tusayan, Desert View, and most overlooks. Fire managers are working with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality-Smoke Management Division to reduce and mitigate potential smoke impacts.

According to the Grand Canyon National Park website, heavy smoke is expected over the next several days, and closures and delays will depend on smoke impacts.

During the Long Jim Prescribed Fire, Arizona Trail hikers must detour around the fire on the Greenway west of Highway 64 to a power line corridor southeast of the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. At the power line corridor, the detour will continue east along the corridor until it reconnects with the Arizona Trail.

Duck on a Rock overlook will also be temporarily closed while crews are working in the area.

Grand Canyon National Park fire managers are working with resources from Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Rocky Mountain National Park, Zion National Park, Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, Bryce Canyon National Park, Saguaro National Park and Kaibab National Forest.

According to the press release, 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, and protection of sensitive natural and cultural resources.

For more information about the Long Jim Prescribed Fire, go to the Grand Canyon park fire management website  or call 928-638-7819 for recorded fire information. For additional daily updates and photos, visit Inciweb.

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Twitter: @STGnews


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