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Contact: David Eaker, 435-772-7811
Contact: Brent Woffinden, 435-772-0188
The Three Finger Mesa Prescribed Fire (Rx) project in Zion National Park is now underway. The 2,100 acre burn began last week and will be continuing this week. Smoke from the burn has been noticeable in Zion Canyon, especially in the morning hours, and is expected to continue for the next few days. This prescribed fire project is located along the northern portion of the park boundary, in the Goose Creek Drainage, southeast of Lava Point.
The first phase of the project, which is now complete, was a 500 acre blacklining operation along the northern boundary of the burn unit to help to ensure that the fire stays within its predetermined boundaries. The second phase of the operation, which is expected to occur on Wednesday, October 29, will be the ignition of the remaining portion of the interior of the burn unit. Once this phase of the project burn unit is ignited, it will actively burn for 1-3 days and then smolder for an extended period. The fire will be closely monitored by park personnel until declared out. Management goals of this burn are to maintain boundary protection by reducing excess hazardous fuels and to apply fire to the landscape to maintain the natural role it plays in this ecosystem.
Smoke from the burn will continue to settle into the Zion Canyon area over the next few days. Natural ventilation has normally been clearing the smoke out by around noon each day. Mitigation measures are being used to reduce the amount of smoke that reaches the canyon such as stopping ignition early in the afternoon to let the smoke rise out of the area and only burning on days when the weather conditions allow the majority of the smoke to vent higher into the atmosphere and not settle into the canyons. Smoke conditions are being monitored daily. Persons that have respiratory issues or are concerned about the impacts of smoke on their health should stay indoors with the windows closed during periods that the smoke is at its highest levels, mainly the morning hours.
For more information about this or other prescribed fire projects in Zion, call 435-772-3256 or visit our website at www.nps.gov/zion.