Grand Canyon, Ariz. – Fire Managers at the North Rim are planning to prescribe burn approximately 30 acres on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Ten acres are located within the North Rim developed area near the North Rim helibase and the North Rim emergency services building. An additional 20 acres are located approximately ½ mile south-southeast of the North Rim campground.
The purpose of these prescribed fires is to reduce dead and down fuels in the developed area, including pine needles, pine cones and small-diameter branches and logs. Ignitions may begin as early as next week; and weather permitting, it is anticipated that the burns will be completed before the North Rim opens for the summer season on May 15.
Prescribed fires play an important role in decreasing risks to life, resources, and property by reducing accumulations of forest fuels and maintaining the natural role of fire in a fire-dependent ecosystem. Like all prescribed fires, the plan for the Bright Angel Prescribed Fire contains a set of parameters that define (amongst other things) the wind, humidity, temperature, expected weather and fuel conditions under which the fire can be initiated. Prior to implementing the burn, fire managers will evaluate current conditions and will only ignite the fire if all of the prescribed conditions are within those parameters.
In addition to the Bright Angel Prescribed Fire, fire managers are also making plans to burn piles of woody debris that were constructed during recent manual fuels reduction projects. The debris piles are located along the west side of Highway 67 from the North Rim entrance station to Lindbergh Hill and consist primarily of small tree branches, twigs, and needles removed in preparation for future prescribed burns. The debris piles will be burned over the course of the next month as weather allows.
Smoke from the Bright Angel Prescribed Fire may occasionally be visible from the South Rim of the park. Smoke impacts from the pile burning project are expected to be minimal. Coordination with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is already underway.
Fire activities on the North Rim of the park and the North Kaibab Ranger District of Kaibab National Forest are planned and managed jointly by the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service, working together as the Interagency North Zone Fire Management Program.
For more information on these projects, please contact Dave Robinson, North Zone Fuels Specialist, at 928-643-8138.