After igniting Pine Hollow wildfire, monsoon storms stall its progress

Lightning strikes ignite three more fires on North Rim, bringing season total to 10

The Pine Hollow Fire on the North Kaibab National Forest was ignited by lightning during monsoon storms July 19. The fire has burned around 500 acres so far.

David Hercher/Kaibab National Forest

The Pine Hollow Fire on the North Kaibab National Forest was ignited by lightning during monsoon storms July 19. The fire has burned around 500 acres so far.

NORTH RIM, Ariz. — After receiving significant moisture from monsoon rainfall over the past few days, the Pine Hollow wildfire has seen no growth in the last 24 hours.

However, as the weekend approaches, a drying trend is forecasted for the Kaibab Plateau, leading fire managers to anticipate increased smoke activity and sightings.

Last week, firefighters observed an increased in backing and flanking fire behavior along ridgelines. Incident commander Paul Lemmon said this kind of activity indicates the fire is more intense on the ground and less so in the canopy, where the fire may burn hotter and spread more easily.

“Backing and flanking typically equates to less intense fire behavior … with less extreme fire behavior there is usually less fire growth, less torching and fire consumption is more focused on ground fuels like the heavies, pine litter and duff,” he said.

Lemmon said the increased ground activity helps fire managers meet some management objectives for the fire, including the thinning of ponderosa pine regeneration and reducing surface fuels.

The Pine Hollow Fire has burned around 1,600 acres so far.

Fire personnel also responded to three new lightning-caused fires, bringing the total of North Zona fires to 10 in the last two weeks.

According to Kaibab National Forest spokesman David Hercher, all natural ignitions are evaluated for opportunities to bring resiliency back to the landscape and restore fire-adapted ecosystems throughout the forest. Hercher said fire managers take into consideration many factors when determining what actions to take on a wildfire. Firefighter and public safety is always number one, but other factors include: location, fuels, terrain, current and expected weather conditions, current and expected fire behavior, potential fire spread and smoke impacts.

“The healthier the landscape is here on the Kaibab, the more likely it is to resist insects, disease and high mortality from drought conditions and increase the forest’s survivability when a high-severity wildfire does occur,” said North Kaibab District Ranger Randall Walker.

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