South Rim fire managers complete final prescribed burn of the spring/summer season

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - Firefighters completed ignition of the 243 acre Moqui Prescribed Fire June 23.

Operations began with a test fire at approximately 9:45 a.m. Based on the observed behavior of the test fire, managers decided to go ahead with the Moqui burn and began ignition operations at about 10 a.m. Ignition operations concluded at approximately 2 p.m.

Although the Moqui burn unit received precipitation June 24, some smoke and smoldering fire activity may be visible within the interior of the burn unit for several more weeks, as logs and other heavy fuels continue to smolder. Firefighters will continue to patrol the area until the fire is completely out.

Fire history research indicate that for thousands of years, ponderosa pine forest ecosystems in the southwest frequently experienced lightning-caused fires which regularly removed duff and litter from the forest floor. The suppression of fires for nearly a century has caused unhealthy forest conditions to develop, setting the stage for larger and more severe wildland fires. The Moqui Prescribed Fire allowed park managers to maintain fire in this fire-dependent ecosystem, successfully reducing tree stand density and accumulations of fuels such as pine needles, fallen branches, and shrubs while releasing soil nutrients, increasing habitat diversity, and creating a more sustainable ecosystem.

The Moqui Prescribed Fire was the third and final management fire planned for the South Rim this spring. Two previous prescribed fires, the Picnic and the Quarry were completed in mid-May.

Organizations partnering with the National Park Service on the Moqui Prescribed Fire included Kaibab National Forest and the Summit, Highlands and Flagstaff Fire Departments.

For more information on Grand Canyon National Park's Fire Management program, please visit the park's web site at http://www.nps.gov/grca/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm.

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