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Prescribed Burns Planned at Grand Canyon National Park

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Date: September 13, 2010
Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958

Grand Canyon, AZ – Grand Canyon National Park fire managers plan to conduct two prescribed fires on the South Rim this week.

The two prescribed burns will include a total of four burn units; the Buggeln, Hance, Watson 1,  and Hearst  prescribed fire units, all located south of Highway 64 near Grandview Point about ten miles southeast of Grand Canyon Village.A total of approximately 1,100 acres will be treated.Ignitions are anticipated to last three to four days, with several days of residual smoke to follow.

Portions of several of these burn units, and the surrounding areas burned last year during the Ruby Fire on the Kaibab National Forest (to the west and south) and the Game Reserve Fire within Grand Canyon National Park (to the north and east).All four burn units contain ponderosa pine and pinyon/juniper stands as well as grass and brush.

The Buggeln Prescribed Fire will be initiated on Wednesday and Thursday, September 15 and 16.This will be the first time the 325 acre Buggeln unit will be treated with prescribed fire.

The Hance/Watson 1/Hearst Tank Prescribed Fire will be initiated on Friday, September 17.The Watson 1 burn unit includes 235 unburned acres within the 365 acre unit.The Hance burn unit includes 272 unburned acres within the 342 acre unit.The Hearst Tank burn unit includes 100 unburned acres within the 933 acre unit.The Watson1 and Hance burn units last burned in 2002.

Prescribed fires play an important role in decreasing risks to life, resources, and property by reducing accumulations of forest fuels and maintaining the natural role of fire in a fire-dependent ecosystem.Like all prescribed fires, the plans for the Buggeln/Hance/Watson 1/Hearst Tank Fires contain a set of parameters that define (amongst other things) the wind, humidity, temperature, expected weather and fuel conditions under which the fire can be initiated.Prior to implementing the burn, fire managers will evaluate current conditions and will only ignite the fire if all of the prescribed conditions are within those parameters.

Smoke impacts on Desert View Drive (also known as the East Rim Drive) are expected.   In addition, smoke is likely to settle into the canyon at night, beginning to lift out with daytime heating by late morning.Coordination with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is already underway.

Minor traffic delays are possible in the vicinity of the fire.When necessary, pilot cars will be used and public safety personnel will direct traffic in these areas.

For more information on plans for South Rim prescribed fires, please call Public Affairs Specialist Shannan Marcak at 928-638-7958. To learn more about fire management in Grand Canyon National Park, visit the park's website here.

(www.nps.gov/grca/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm)

-NPS-

Did You Know?

COLORADO RIVER AT THE BOTTOM OF GRAND CANYON

From Yavapai Point on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, the drop to the Colorado River below is 4,600 feet (1,400 m). The elevation at river level is 2,450 feet (750 m) above sea level. Without the Colorado River, a perennial river in a desert environment, the Grand Canyon would not exist.