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Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958
Grand Canyon, Ariz. – As weather conditions allow, South Rim fire crews will begin burning piles of woody debris in the vicinity Market Plaza and the Grand Canyon School.
The piles were constructed over the winter and early spring as part of a manual thinning, hazardous fuels reduction project intended to create defensible space in the park’s wildland urban interface. The project created a raised and more open tree canopy around the developed areas, as well as reducing dead and down fuels. In the event of a wildfire, these changes in the vegetation structure will inhibit the spread of fire and the likelihood of high-intensity fire behavior.
The burn piles consist of small diameter tree trunks, small branches, twigs and needles removed during thinning and limbing operations. They will be ignited during, or immediately following, periods of precipitation and will be monitored by firefighters until they are completely out.
Park visitors may see fire vehicles and personnel in the vicinity when piles are being burned, and may see open flames or smell smoke. Fire managers will strategically ignite the piles in an effort to keep smoke impacts to a minimum. Coordination with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is currently underway.
To learn more about this pile burning project, please contact the South Rim Fire Management Officer Arthur Gonzales at 928-638-7947. To learn more about the Market Plaza and School Hazardous Fuels Reduction Projects, please see the parks December 9, 2010 news release at http://www.nps.gov/grca/parknews/2010-12-09_thinning.htm; and to learn more about the park’s fire management program, please visit our web site at http://www.nps.gov/grca/parkmgmt/fire_info.htm.