Wildland Fire

Tree covered hills being consumed by two large smoke plumes with with red rock formations in the foreground
Large plumes of smoke rise during the Riggs and Lonely Fires (2018)

NPS Photo


Fire in Bryce Canyon

Summer on the Paunsaugunt Plateau brings bright sunny mornings that are often quickly replaced with dark storm clouds by the afternoon. In the distance, thunder rumbles after a lightning strike, signaling the start of the monsoon rains. The start of monsoon season is also the start of fire season at Bryce Canyon National Park: despite the rains, lightning has been the main source of fire here for millions of years.

What do you think of when you think of fire? While fires have a reputation for being destructive, they can also be creative forces in the right circumstances. Cycles of fire have shaped and maintained the life that calls Bryce Canyon home. Yet, for most of the 20th century a policy of total fire suppression removed this important natural process from forest ecosystems throughout the western United States – and Bryce Canyon is no exception. Without natural fire cycles, western forests have grown thick and crowded, producing major challenges for modern management. While today we are reintroducing fire to these ecosystems, fire management remains a delicate task which tries to balance the benefits of this natural process while also protecting visitors and historic structures.


Explore the story of fire in Bryce Canyon using the links below:

  • A burn scar showing the silhouette of bare trees and snags against a pink and blue sky
    Fire Ecology

    Learn more about forest succession and plant and animal adaptations to fire

  • Bright white lightning bolts strike down from dramatic dark clouds turning the night sky pink
    Fire History

    Learn more about the history of fire suppression and recent major fires in Bryce Canyon

  • A firefighter in a helmet, sunglasses and uniform uses a chainsaw to cut into the trunk of a tree
    Fire Management

    Learn more about the past, present and future of fire management strategies in Bryce Canyon


Last updated: July 2, 2023

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Mailing Address:

P.O Box 640201
Bryce, UT 84764


435 834-5322
Phones are answered and messages returned as soon as possible as staffing allows.

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