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Contact: Bruce Fields, 435.834.4912
Prescribed Burning To Begin at Bryce Canyon National Park
Between August 21, 2008 and September 30, 2008 Bryce Canyon National Park will conduct two prescribed burns within the Park. The primary objective of these prescribed fires is to reduce wildland fire hazards to visitors and adjoining private and public lands.
The lack of fire in Bryce Canyon, due mainly to past suppression efforts, has contributed to high fuel accumulations and a change in forest structure. Prescribed fire is a way to reverse these changes brought on by fire exclusion. The policy of using fire as a tool will help decrease risks to life, property and resources. It will also help perpetuate the values for which Bryce Canyon National Park was established.
The first is the Puma Prescribed Fire. This fire will be completed in two phases. Phase 1 covers 234 acres at the south end of the park starting at mile marker 13 and proceeding south to Rainbow Point and between the main road and the rim of Bryce Canyon. Phase 2 incorporates 1,893 acres on the west side on the main road from mile marker 13 to Rainbow Point. If conditions allow, Phase 1 will start on August 21 or 22nd. Phase 2 is scheduled to begin in September. The second prescribed fire is the Dave’s Hollow unit covering 213 acres from the park entrance south to the visitor center on the west side on the main road.
These burns will be conducted safely with the health of area residents, visitors, and wildland fire fighters at the forefront of operations. Burning will only be allowed under certain weather and fuel moisture conditions. Adhering to the developed prescribed fire prescription allows the burns to achieve their ecological and fire safety goals. They will affect human activities in the area as little as possible. The park is scheduled to remain open during these prescribed fires with the exception of some areas of the park being closed for short periods.
At times, visitors to Bryce Canyon and area residents will see or smell smoke from these fires. Smoke on park roadways may be a hazard and scenic visibility may be reduced in certain areas. At night residents in the Bryce Valley region may experience some smoke because of atmospheric inversions.
The future benefits of restoring the health of the ecosystem and reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfires and threats to developed areas is vital to maintaining the integrity of the resources at Bryce Canyon National Park. By improving wildlife habitat and forest health these burns will sustain Bryce Canyon’s long-term appeal to the national and international visiting public and the economic benefits they bring to the tourism industry in the area.
For more information please contact Fuels Specialist Bruce Fields at (435) 834-4912 or Superintendent Eddie Lopez at (435) 834-4100 or email Bryce Canyon Superintendent.