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Contact: David Eaker, 435-772-7811
Zion National Park will be implementing a series of three small prescribed fires totaling 10 acres this spring in Zion Canyon. The locations of the burns are in the vicinity of Zion Lodge. These burns are planned to be ignited during the week of . Exact dates of the burns will depend on predicted weather conditions, current fuel conditions and availability of resources. The primary objective of these burns is the reduction of fine, flashy fuels and their associated fire hazard, to help protect park visitors, staff and park infrastructure. This project is a combined effort between fire and resource management and will assist park managers in the protection and preservation of critical cultural and natural resources.
In recent years, Zion Canyon has seen a number of exotic annual grasses (mainly cheatgrass and smooth brome) take over and out compete the native perennial grasses that once covered the area. This spring the park received above average precipitation which caused an abundant crop of these exotics. Because these fine exotic grasses cure late in the spring, they represent a considerable fire danger throughout the summer. The reduction of these exotic grasses by prescribed fire will help reduce the fire danger in Zion Canyon and also provide the native grasses an opportunity to re-establish themselves. Once the area has been burned, the park’s resource management staff will follow up with an herbicide application to further reduce non-native vegetation.
These fires will only be ignited if favorable weather conditions exist and required fire personnel are available. Short-term impacts from these prescribed burns may include smoky conditions and temporary traffic and trail control measures in the vicinity of the burns.
The goal of the prescribed fire program in Zion is to use management-ignited prescribed fire, where appropriate, for the restoration of fire-dependent ecosystems and species-specific resource management goals. The policy of using fire as a tool will help decrease risks to life, property, and resources and will help perpetuate the natural resource values for which Zion National Park was established.
For more information about this or other prescribed fire projects in Zion, call 435-772-7811 or visit our website at https://www.nps.gov/zion/