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Contact: David Eaker, 435 772-7811
According to Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh, Zion National Park plans to begin ignition of the 500-acre East Mesa (South Unit) Prescribed Fire in mid-April, 2017. This prescribed fire project is located on the east side of the park, west of the Zion Ponderosa Ranch. The project may be postponed because of unfavorable weather conditions or lack of firefighting resources.
The project will begin with a blacklining operation along the park boundary, followed by ignition of the interior of the unit. Once the area is ignited, it will actively burn for 1-2 days and then smolder for another 3-5 days. The fire will be closely monitored by park personnel until declared out. The objectives of the East Mesa Prescribed Fire are to reduce the wildland fire hazard along the park boundary, provide protection for surrounding property and structures, and restore fire to its natural role in the ecosystem.
Short-term impacts include possible smoky conditions and the short-term closure of trails in the vicinity of the burn area. Forecasted weather conditions should provide good smoke dispersal, but there is potential for it to settle into the canyons during the night.
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. Prescribed fire projects are to be conducted in a manner consistent with approved land and resource management plans and public health considerations. The park works very closely with other state and federal land management agencies in the planning and management of these fires. The policy of using fire as a tool will help decrease risks to life, property, and resources; prescribed fires 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 David Eaker at 435-772-7811 or visit our website at https://www.nps.gov/zion/learn/nature/fire-management-homepage.htm