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Saffron Fire Update July 10

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Date: July 10, 2010
Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958

Grand Canyon, Ariz. – Burn out operations continue in preparation for northern containment of the Saffron Fire on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The fire continues to be managed for both protection objectives--preserving multiple cultural sites in the area, and resource objectives--recycling forest nutrients and maintaining the role of fire in a fire-dependent ecosystem.

The Saffron Fire is 2,747 acres in size and fire managers are very happy with the progress being made toward meeting the fire’s objectives. According to Dave Robinson, Incident Commander Trainee, “This has been an outstanding opportunity to witness fire play its natural role in the ecosystem. The fire is burning in an area that has experienced multiple fires in the past and the accumulation of fuels from these past fires is continuing to be reduced and ecological objectives are being met.”

The Saffron Fire started at the northern end of Rainbow Plateau, approximately 2 miles south of the park/forest boundary and 15 miles northwest of the North Rim developed area and is burning in both Grand Canyon National Park and Kaibab National Forest. It is burning in ponderosa pine forest with white fir understory along-side locust and Gambel oak, in an area that has experienced fire several times in the last 15 years. 

Fire managers have successfully burned 311 acres in burnout operations south of Forest Road (FR) 268 to aid in the fire’s containment to the north. These burnout operations create an area void of fuels to act as a barrier to the fire’s progress.  Access to FR 268 and FR 223 to Fire Point is being restricted due to fire activity. Swamp Point and the Swamp Ridge Road (W4 Road) remain closed until further notice. 

Currently, there are approximately 129 personnel from five agencies monitoring and managing the fire including four crews, five engines, one type three helicopter, one dozer and one water tender.

Some smoke impacts to the visibility of the canyon are possible during the day.  An inversion layer of smoke may occur during the nighttime and early morning hours. Smoke impacts are being monitored and fire managers continue to coordinate with Arizona Department of Environmental Equality.

North Rim (National Park Service) and North Kaibab Ranger District (US Forest Service) fire managers work together as the North Zone Fire Management Unit. This allows fire managers to share resources and to coordinate fire management activities across the landscape. Cooperating agencies on the Saffron Fire include Bureau of Indian Affairs, State of Arizona, and Bureau of Land Management.

Additional news releases about the Saffron Fire will continue to be posted as significant changes in fire size, behavior or management objectives occur.

If you have questions about the Saffron Fire, please call Jan Bardwell, Public Information Office at 938-638-7066, Eric Neitzel, Public Information Officer, 928-251-0006, or Grand Canyon National Park Public Affairs Specialist Shannan Marcak at 928-638-7958.  To learn more about fire management in Grand Canyon National Park, please visit the park’s web site at http://www.nps.gov/grca/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm.

-NPS-

Did You Know?

SWITCHBACKS ON BRIGHT ANGEL TRAIL

Each year, thousands of hikers enter the Grand Canyon on the Bright Angel Trail. They follow a route established by prehistoric people for two key reasons: water and access. Water emerges from springs at Indian Garden, and a fault creates a break in the cliffs, providing access to the springs.