Prescribed Burns This Fall at Bryce Canyon
Contact: Bruce Fields, 435-834-4912
Contact: Eddie Lopez, 435-834-5322
Prescribed Burning This Fall at Bryce Canyon National Park
The lack of fire in Bryce Canyon, due mainly to past suppression efforts, has contributed to high fuel accumulations and a change in forest structure. Prescribed fire is a way to reverse these changes brought on by fire exclusion. The policy of using fire as a tool will help decrease risks to life, property, and resources. It will also help perpetuate the values for which Bryce Canyon National Park was established.
Between September 26, 2006 and November 30, 2006 Bryce Canyon National Park will conduct five prescribed burns within the Park. These burns will be short in duration each lasting a few days.
The Fairyland 2 unit is 160 acres and is along the northern park boundary, 0.3 miles south of Ruby’s Inn. The Daves Hollow unit is 400 acres and is along the northern park boundary west of the Fairyland unit. The Residential burn is approximately 400 acres and is located around the parks residence area. The UPD unit consists of 7 acres near the historic lodge and 400 acres in East Creek Meadow. The Puma Phase 1 is 234 acres and located at the South end of the park between mile marker 13-18.
The primary objective of these prescribed fires is to reduce the wildland fire hazard to Ruby’s Inn, the Bryce Canyon National Park Visitor Center, and other developments within the park. An additional objective is to enhance habitat for the threatened Utah Prairie Dog, the maintenance of mountain meadows, and the continued restoration of ponderosa pine forest communities within the park.
These burns will occur with the safety and health of area residents, visitors, and wildland fire fighters in mind. Burning will only be allowed under certain conditions of weather and fuel moisture. Adhering to the developed prescription allows the burns to achieve their ecological and fire safety goals along with affecting human activities in the area as little as possible. The park is scheduled to remain open during these prescribed fires although limited areas may be closed for short periods.
At times, visitors to Bryce Canyon and area residents will see or smell smoke from these fires. Smoke on park roadways may be a hazard and scenic visibility may be reduced in certain areas. At night residents in the Bryce Valley region may experience some smoke because of inversions. The future benefits of restoring the health of the ecosystem and reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfires and threats to developed areas is vital to maintaining the integrity of Bryce Canyon National Park. By improving wildlife habitat and forest health these burns will sustain Bryce Canyon’s long-term appeal to the national and international visiting public and the economic benefits they bring to the areas’ tourism industry.
For more information please contact Fuels Specialist Bruce Fields at (435) 834-4912 or Eddie Lopez at e-mail us.