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Update: North Rim Fires, August 25, 2011

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Date: August 25, 2011
Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958

Grand Canyon Ariz. --Burnout operations along the W-4 and W-6 roads have been conducted in the late afternoon and evening hours for the past several days in order to contain the Point Fire within these boundaries.  Late afternoon and evening burns help to decrease overall burn intensity.  Due to the hours of operations and the lack of strong transport winds, moderate smoke  has been settling into the Grand Canyon in the evening and early morning. The smoke in the Canyon then lifts and dissipates as temperatures rise during the day. These burnout operations are expected to be completed within the next several days, reducing smoke impacts in the Canyon. Light smoke will remain visible in and around the Canyon over the next several weeks as the Point Fire continues to burn. The current size of the ire is estimated to be 3,074 acres.

Warmer dryer weather with scattered isolated thunderstorms is predicted over the fire area. With these weather conditions, more active fire is anticipated. Crews continue to monitor and manage fire to insure low intensity burning for resource benefits. Crews are also burning piles along Highway 67 south of the Park boundary in order to safely remove accumulations of hazardous fuels gathered from previous mechanical thinning treatments.

Point Fire Facts:

Start Date:  July 4, 2011

Location:  Approximately 10 miles west of the North Rim developed area in the vicinity of Walla Valley and Point Sublime.

Fuels: Ponderosa Pine with occasional patches of mixed conifer and areas of grass and sage.

Management Objectives:  The Point Fire is being managed to achieve multiple objectives:

  Resource objectives for the Point Fire include maintaining fire in a fire dependant ecosystem, reducing hazardous accumulations of forest fuels and recycling of forest nutrients.

  Objectives for the Point Fire include protection of sensitive cultural resources and critical wildlife habitat.

Closures:  In order to assure visitor and firefighter safety, the W-4 Road, also known as the Point Sublime Road, is closed until further notice from its junction with the W-1 Road, out to and including Point Sublime. The W-1 Road is closed west of the Basin and south of the junction with the Swamp Ridge Road.

Smoke Impacts:  During periods of increased fire activity, smoke from the Point Fire is visible from Highway 64 as far south as Valle, South Rim viewpoints, the Rim Trail, highway 67, the North rim entrance station and some North Rim viewpoints.  Moderately heavy smoke has impacted the Canyon the past couple of mornings, but has lifted and dissipated as temperatures rise.  Coordination with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is ongoing.

To follow the Point Fire's progress or to see photos and maps of the fire, please visit the fire's web site at http://inciweb.org/incident/2408/. To learn more about fire management in Grand Canyon National Park, please go to http://www.nps.gov/grca/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm 

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Did You Know?

GRAND CANYON'S DESERT VIEW WATCHTOWER

Building a structure that provides the widest possible view of the Grand Canyon yet harmonizes with its setting was architect Mary Colter's goal when the Santa Fe Railroad hired her in 1930 to design a gift shop and rest area at Desert View Point. The Watchtower opened in May of 1933. More...