Prescribed Fire Update Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Contact: Michelle Fidler, 928-638-7821
Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958
Wednesday’s Fire Activity: Firefighters completed ignition of the Picnic Prescribed Fire. Creeping fire activity was observed with some single and group torching. Smoke dispersal was good, with no impacts to park roads. Firefighters will continue to patrol the area until the fire is completely out.
Overview: The Picnic Prescribed Fire is one of three prescribed burns fire mangers at Grand Canyon National Park are planning on conducting this spring. The Picnic Prescribed Burn (approximately 220 acres) was last burned in 2000. The Quarry Prescribed Burn (approximately 320 acres) was last burned in 2000. The Moqui Prescribed Burn (approximately 240 acres) was last burned in 1996.
Location: Near Highway 64 between the South Rim Entrance Station and Grand Canyon Village
Strategy: Firefighters plan to begin ignition of the Quarry Prescribed Fire as soon as conditions are favorable, which could be as soon as Thursday, May 14. Once the Quarry prescribed burn is complete, fire managers will assess the smoke impacts from the Picnic and Quarry burns before making a final decision to ignite the Moqui Prescribed Burn. The Moqui Prescribed Fire will only be ignited if fire mangers determine smoke impacts from the Picnic and Quarry prescribed burns have not exceeded expectations. If the Moqui prescribed burn is initiated, fire managers plan to burn only the northern half of the unit. This would keep fire activity at least one half mile north of the South Entrance Station. All ignition will be conducted by hand using driptorches. Fire behavior, weather, and smoke will be monitored throughout the prescribed burns. Burning will only be conducted if appropriate weather and wind conditions exist.
Vegetation: Ponderosa pine, pinyon/juniper, grass and brush
Objectives: These prescribed burns are being conducted to decrease risks to life, property, and park resources by reducing hazardous fuels accumulations and to maintain the natural role of fire in a fire-dependent ecosystem.
Smoke: During these prescribed fires, temporary smoke impacts may occur on Highway 64 between the South Rim Entrance Station and Grand Canyon Village. If smoke drifts across the road temporary, intermittent delays along Highway 64 are possible. Please slow down, turn your headlights on, and watch out for fire personnel working along the road. Weather conditions should result in favorable smoke dispersal, however some residual smoke may be present for several days following the completion of these projects. Throughout the project, fire managers will work closely with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to manage smoke and reduce local impacts.
Park Status: Grand Canyon National Park remains open during the project. For your safety, please do not stop along the road in the vicinity of the burn.
The Arizona Trail runs through portions of these burn units. During the prescribed fires, these portions of the trail will be closed. Signs will be posted on the trail where it enters the burn units advising trail users of the fire activity and providing alternate routes.
Resources Assigned: Approximately 35 personnel including 2 fire module crews, 4 engines, and various support staff. Additional contingency resources are available locally if needed.
Cooperators: Kaibab National Forest, Saguaro National Park, Flagstaff Fire Department, Highlands Fire Department, Summit Fire Department, and Pinewood Fire Department.
Information: For more on these fires, please, contact Fire Information Officer Michelle Fidler at 928-638-7821 or call 928-638-7819 for a recorded fire information message.