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Grand Canyon Fire Managers to Continue Thinning Projects to Reduce Hazardous Fuels

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Date: July 5, 2011
Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958

Grand Canyon, Ariz. – Within the next week, fire crews expect to complete the second of two thinning projects which began this winter. Fire managers are now making plans to implement their spring thinning projects within the next few weeks, weather permitting.

The Hopi Tower and Supai Camp Thinning Projects will use non-fire treatments to create defensible space by reducing hazardous fuels in the park’s wildland-urban interface. In both units, chainsaws will be used to remove limbs, small diameter trees and dead and down fuels; and mechanical “chippers” will be used to chop woody debris into mulch and ground cover. Additional mechanized equipment will be used in the Supai Camp Thinning Unit to remove the debris created by thinning operations.

The Hopi Tower Thinning Unit is 13 acres in size and surrounds the Hopi Point communications towers. The unit is located just south of Hopi Point overlook, approximately one and three-quarter miles northwest of Grand Canyon Village. Work on this project is expected to last for up to three weeks depending on weather conditions.

The Supai Camp Thinning Project will be initiated after the Hopi Tower project has been completed. This thinning unit is approximately 48 acres in size and is located just southwest of Grand Canyon Village. Work on this project is expected to last four to five weeks, depending on weather.

Slash, the debris created during thinning operations, will be handled in several ways. Some will be chipped and scattered near trails and roadways where it will aid in preventing the spread of invasive species. Most will be piled, dried and burned under the existing South Rim Piles Prescribed Fire Plan. The remainder will be removed.

The purpose of these thinning projects is to safely create areas of defensible space that will aide in the protection of human life, structures and infrastructure in the event of a wildfire. Reducing hazardous fuels by thinning and limbing trees to open the canopy and removing accumulations of dead and down fuels, helps create and maintain defensible space.

For additional information about this thinning project, please call Grand Canyon’s South District Assistant Fire Management Officer Daniel Pearson at 928-638-7934. For more on Grand Canyon National Park’s Fire Management Program, please visit the park’s web site at http://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.