National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) fire managers, are working together as the North Zone Interagency Fire Management Program, to implement the Range and Thompson Prescribed Fires on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park between mid-October and the end of November as weather and fuel moisture conditions allow.
Prescribed fires play an important role in decreasing risks to life, resources, and property. Fire managers carefully plan prescribed fires, initiating them only under environmental conditions that are favorable to assuring firefighter and visitor safety and to achieving the desired objectives. Objectives common to both prescribed fires include reducing accumulations of forest fuels, maintaining the natural role of fire in a fire-adapted ecosystem, and protection of sensitive cultural resources.
Objectives specific to the Range Rx include protecting and enhancing Mexican spotted owl habitat and reducing the potential for extreme fire behavior along Highway 67, the North Rim's primary egress route.
The southern-most portion of the Range Burn Unit is located approximately 1.5 miles north of the North Rim Campground. From there, the burn unit extends northward between Highway 67 on the north and east and the Range Road (also known as the w1a road) on the west and southwest.
|Incident Type||Prescribed Fire|
|Location||approximately 1.5 miles north of the North Rim Campground|
The Range Burn Unit is approximately 2,300 acres in size and is composed primarily of mixed conifer forest with spruce, fir, aspen, and ponderosa pine. The majority of the burn unit has not burned in recent years, resulting in a heavy build-up of dead and down fuels.
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) north to its intersection with Hwy 67, will close at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 27 and will remain closed throughout the Range Rx. During daylight hours, public safety officers will check the closures about once per hour and will be prepared to shuttle hikers to the next available access point. Additional Arizona Trail closures may be implemented during the Thompson Prescribed Fire.
North Zone Interagency Fire Managers have completed ignitions on the approximately 2,300 acre Range prescribed fire (Rx) unit. Ignitions began on Saturday, October 27. Fire managers may begin ignitions on the Thompson Prescribed Fire unit as early as Friday, November 2.
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. 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. 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. Smoke will be most visible during ignition operations and will likely gradually diminish after ignitions are completed. It is expected that smoke will continue to be visible until a major rain or snow event occurs.