Zion Closes Backcountry Due to Wildland Fires
Contact: David Eaker, 435-772-7811
Due to wildland fire activity in and outside of the park, Zion National Park Superintendent Jock Whitworth is closing the entire backcountry to visitors until further notice. Starting Thursday morning, July 19, no backcountry or canyoneering permits will be issued. The three fires in the Dakota Hill Fire Complex in Zion National Park are all posing threats to most of Zion’s backcountry areas and the safety of visitors. Most frontcountry hiking trails in Zion Canyon will remain open. Lava Point Campground is also closed. Visitors should check at the park visitor center or our website (www.nps.gov/zion) for more information on trail status.
The Dakota Hill Fire Complex showed extreme fire activity today due to high winds, low humidities and low fuel moistures. A Red Flag Warning had been posted by the National Weather Service to alert fire managers to the possibility of extreme fire conditions. All of the fires in the Dakota Hill Complex (Zion 1, 2 and 3) experienced growth today, but an accurate estimation of size is not available at this time due to smoky conditions in the fire area. Crews worked on containment lines on all the fires today until fire activity reached a point that compromised their safety. Little progress was made on containment of the fires today.
The largest fire, Zion 3, is burning north of Orderville Canyon and east of the Narrows. It was estimated at over 1,200 acres this morning and burning in Ponderosa pine and mixed brush fuels.
The other two fires are the Zion 1 (82 acres) and 2 (59 acres). Both acreage estimates are also from this morning. These two fires are located on Horse Pasture Plateau, southeast of Lava Point, near the West Rim Trail.
A local Type 3 Color Country Team is now managing the fire. A Type 2 Incident Management Team from Arizona will start arriving tomorrow and will take over management of the fire.
Smoke will continue to be an issue in the park, especially in the evening and early morning hours as it settles into the canyons.