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Saffron Fire Being Managed for Multiple Objectives on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park

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Date: July 1, 2010
Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958

Grand Canyon, Ariz. -- On Saturday, June 26, North Zone fire managers confirmed four new lightning-start fires on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park and the North Kaibab Ranger District of Kaibab National Forest. 

Three of these fires were immediately contained or suppressed. One, the Saffron Fire within Grand Canyon National Park, was placed in monitor status. This allowed fire managers to observe the fire’s behavior and evaluate current and predicted weather and fuel conditions, resource and personnel availability and other factors in determining if the Saffron Fire could be managed for multiple objectives. 

Park and forest managers made the decision to manage the fire for both resource and protection objectives. Protection objectives include preserving multiple cultural sites in the vicinity of the fire, and resource objectives include reducing forest fuels, recycling nutrients and maintaining the role of fire in a fire-dependent ecosystem. 

The Saffron Fire is approximately 12 acres in size and is located in the Saffron Valley on the Rainbow Plateau, approximately 2 miles south of the park/forest boundary and 15 miles northwest of the North Rim developed area. It is burning in ponderosa pine forest with white fir understory along-side locust and gamble oak, in an area that has experienced fire several times in the last 15 years. 

The fire is currently exhibiting creeping and smoldering behavior, increasing to slow-moving ground fire during afternoon heating. It is slowly moving to the northeast and is burning approximately one-half to one acre per day. 

To facilitate their protection objectives, North Zone fire managers brought in two hot shot crews and three engines to assist in the preparation of forest roads 223, 268 and 268B as well as the park’s W4 road for use as containment lines if needed. If the fire continues its progression to the northeast, managers intend to contain it at forest roads 223 and 268 to the north and 268B and the W4 road to the east.  In addition, if the fire should progress to the northwest and reach forest road 223, it may be necessary to temporarily restrict access to Swamp and Fire Points.

Communication with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has already begun; and smoke impacts are expected to be minimal.

North Kaibab Ranger District (US National Forest Service) and North Rim (National Park 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.

Additional news releases about the Saffron Fire will only be posted if significant changes in fire size, behavior or management objectives should occur.

If you have questions about the Saffron Fire, please call Grand Canyon Public Affairs Specialist Shannan Marcak at 928-638-7958 or North Kaibab Public Affairs Specialist Patrick Lair at 928-643-8172.  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?

THE INNER GORGE OF THE GRAND CANYON, 1200 feet (366m)

Within the Grand Canyon, the rugged, V-shaped Inner Gorge rises darkly from the Colorado River. The broad shelf above it is the Tonto Platform, which spreads like a green blanket across both sides of the canyon. The Inner Gorge achieves a depth of over 1200 feet (366m)