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Contact: Bruce Fields, 435.834.4912
Prescribed Fire in Bryce Canyon National Park
According to Superintendent Eddie Lopez three prescribed fires will be ignited in Bryce Canyon National Park this spring or fall as conditions permit. The first burn unit, a 323 acre project (Dave’s Hollow), is located on the west side of highway 63 in the northern portion of the park. The second burn unit, a 400 acre project (Residential) is located around the visitor center and park residential area. The third burn unit, a 2,073 acre project (Puma) is located at mile 13 on Highway 63, South to Rainbow Point. These burns will only occur if specific, predetermined weather conditions are met and adequate personnel are available for their management.
The goal of the prescribed fire program in Bryce is to use prescribed fire, where appropriate, for the restoration of fire-dependent ecosystems and species-specific resource management goals. The primary objectives of the Dave’s Hollow and Residential prescribed fires are to reduce the wildland fire hazard to Ruby’s Inn, the Bryce Canyon National Park Visitor Center, and other developments located in or near the northern portion of Bryce Canyon National Park. The primary objective of the Puma project is to reduce the wildland fire hazard to visitors enjoying the southern portions of the Park. Prescribed fire projects are to be conducted in a manner consistent with land and resource management plans, public health considerations, and approved prescribed fire plans. The policy of using fire as a tool will help decrease risks to life, property, and resources; prescribed fires will help perpetuate the natural resource values for which Bryce Canyon National Park was established.
Since the park was established in 1928, wildland fires have been routinely suppressed. Over the years, this practice has contributed to high fuel loadings, reduction in extent of grasslands and old growth ponderosa pine forests being replaced by more shade tolerant species. Prescribed fire is a treatment to reverse changes brought on by fire exclusion. It will reduce fuel loadings, increase success of remaining ponderosa pine forests to withstand natural fires, reduce extent of brush lands, rejuvenate aspen stands, thin dense mixed conifer stands, and improve wildlife habitat. The reintroduction of fires to the park is an effort to restore it to its pre-settlement state.
These prescribed fires are being conducted under the guidance of Bryce Canyon’s Fire Management Plan, and are three of several prescribed fires anticipated in the next few years. The park works very closely with other state and federal land management agencies in the planning and management of these fires.
For more information about these or other prescribed fire projects planned in Bryce Canyon National Park, contact Fire Management Officer Bruce Fields at 435-834-4912.