Prescribed Fire Planned at Lava Point
Contact: David Eaker, 435-772-7811
According to Superintendent Jock Whitworth, Zion National Park plans to start ignition of a 150 acre prescribed fire at Lava Point during the week of September 27th, 2009. The exact date of ignition will depend upon weather conditions and the availability of firefighting resources. The burn may be postponed or canceled if conditions are unfavorable. Lava Point is located off the Kolob Terrace Road near Blue Springs Reservoir, approximately 20 miles north of Virgin, Utah. All of the Lava Point area including the campground, picnic area, viewpoint and the West Rim Trailhead Road, will be closed the day ignition begins and remain sofor the duration of the project. These areas will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.
This hand ignited prescribed fire is expected to last for 2-5 days. Some interior, residual smoke may be visible for a few days after ignition has occurred. The fire will be managed and monitored daily by firefighters until it is declared out. This prescribed fire is part of a multi-phase project which began in 2004 to reduce the hazardous fuel buildup and to encourage aspen regeneration. This project will also reduce the risk to adjacent private property and structures from wildfire. Previous mechanical thinning and pile burning will now be followed up with the final phase of the project, prescribed fire.
The area in and around Lava Point is one of the six original critical wildland urban interface focus areas identified in the Color Country Interagency Fire Management Zone. This area, also known as the “Kolob Focus Area”, has received priority status to protect several seasonal communities in the area.
During the past century, land management practices at Lava Point such as grazing, logging and especially the suppression of all wildland fires have changed the forest character. What was once a patchwork of open meadows and mixed conifer/aspen woodlands shaped by periodic, naturally occurring wildland fire, became a forest dominated by white fir, a shade-tolerant, but highly flammable species. Many of these white fir trees have already been removed by mechanical thinning. This project combines both the fire management and ecological restoration goals of the park.
For more information on this or other fire management projects in Zion call 435-772-7811 or visit our website at www.nps.gov/zion.