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Contact: Michelle Fidler, 928-638-7819
Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958
Grand Canyon, Ariz. - North Zone Interagency Fire Managers have treated approximately 1,700 acres of the Range prescribed fire (Rx) unit since ignitions began on Saturday, October 27. Fire managers plan to continue ignitions today and tomorrow if environmental conditions remain favorable. Approximately 2,300 total acres may be treated. This prescribed fire is helping to reduce the build-up of dead and down vegetation on the forest floor, reducing the risk of extreme fire behavior along the North Rim's primary egress route, and protecting and enhancing Mexican spotted owl habitat.
Additionally, fire managers may begin ignitions on the Thompson Rx unit as early as Friday, November 2. Approximately 2,000 acres will be treated to help create defensible space along the park boundary and protect endangered and threatened species habitat near the boundary. Ignitions are anticipated to occur over a period of four to five days if environmental factors are favorable.
Highway 67 (the North Rim park entrance road) has been closed at the park boundary the past two nights due to heavy smoke. The closure has started at 7 p.m. each evening and ended the next day mid- to late-morning when the smoke has lifted and visibility improves. Moderate to heavy smoke impacts to Highway 67 are anticipated to continue throughout the Range Rx. Daytime visitors should be prepared for poor visibility as well as possible delays and intermittent closures of the entrance road. Continued overnight closures of the entrance road are also possible. Drivers are advised to use their headlights, to watch for and obey traffic signs and personnel, and to remain alert to the possibility of fallen trees that have been weakened by fire.
The Range Road (also known as the w1a road) and the Arizona Trail, from its junction with the w1 road (also known as the Point Sublime Road) north to its intersection with Highway 67, are closed and expected to remain closed throughout the Range Rx. During daylight hours, public safety officers are checking the trail closures approximately once per hour and are prepared to shuttle hikers to the next available access point. Additional Arizona Trail closures may be implemented during the Thompson Prescribed Fire.
Smoke from the Range Rx is visible along Hwy 67 and Hwy 89A as well as from various locations on both the North and South Rims. During the day, smoke is expected to rise as temperatures warm and settle as temperatures cool in the evening. Smoke is also expected to settle into the canyon at night and may also settle in the North Rim development, House Rock Valley, Marble Canyon and Page areas. Smoke impacts have the potential to be heavy in the inner canyon.
For updates on the Range prescribed burn and the status of the road, please visit http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3304, follow @GrandCanyonNPS on Twitter, or call 928-638-7819 (recorded message). If you would like to receive Twitter Messages (Tweets) as Text Messages, please visit http://www.inciweb.org/incident/article/3304/18249/ to learn how.