Forest service initiates two small burns near Tusayan, Jacob Lake

Fire personnel work on hand ignitions during the Tipover East prescribed burn in October. The Tipover burn unit was one of several managed by the North Zone this season.

Photo/Kaibab National Forest

Fire personnel work on hand ignitions during the Tipover East prescribed burn in October. The Tipover burn unit was one of several managed by the North Zone this season.

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — North Zone Fire managers plan to initiate prescribed fire operations on a small 50-acre strip of land adjacent to the campground at Jacob Lake. Weather conditions are forecasted to be within prescriptive parameters.

The burn is expected to be completed within one day and is being conducted to “lessen the threat of a human-caused wildfire in and around the Jacob Lake area,” said Acting North Zone Fire Management Officer Dave Robinson.

Meanwhile, crews will continue to monitor weather and fuels conditions throughout the winter and will transition to pile-burn operations when conditions are determined safe and suitable to do so.

Crews plan to continue working on the Reed Prescribed Fire project east of Tusayan this week. Ignitions are set to continue on a 289 acre block approximately 4 miles east of Tusayan and just south of the East Rim Drive in the Grand Canyon National Park.

“The majority of smoke produced during daytime operations is expected to disperse away from sensitive areas, however we do expect some residual smoke to settle into drainages and low lying areas overnight.” said Quentin Johnson, Fire Management Officer on the Tusayan Ranger District. “Due to the proximity of these particular burn units located relatively close to town, our biggest challenge is trying to treat these acres with the least amount of smoke impact to the surrounding communities.”

Managers recognize the inconvenience smoke can cause and adjust tactics to limit the number of days smoke is in the air by burning smaller portions and only igniting every few days allowing ventilation to occur earlier and more rapidly. Among the many benefits of re-introducing fire to landscapes in these forested areas, broadcast burning is utilized to remove dead and down debris from ground surfaces over wide areas lessening the potential for a catastrophic wildfire.

Smoke may be visible from Highway 64 and from the communities of Grand Canyon, Valle and Tusayan. Overnight smoke impacts are expected to lift and ventilate rapidly each morning as ground surface temperatures warm in the morning hours.

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