GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — Significant and widespread precipitation south of the Grand Canyon has allowed the Kaibab National Forest to lift all fire restrictions across the Williams and Tusayan Ranger Districts as of July 11, as well as the area closure of the Bill Williams Mountain watershed.
There will be no fire restrictions in effect on the Williams and Tusayan Ranger Districts. The districts have received a substantial amount of rain over the last few days with more in the forecast. The area closure of the Bill Williams Mountain watershed will also be lifted, and visitors can once again camp, hike and drive in the popular recreation area. Coconino National Forest has also lifted all fire restrictions and rescinded forest closures.
“I want to express my appreciation to our local communities and visitors for their outstanding compliance with fire restrictions this year,” said Art Gonzales, fire staff officer for the Kaibab National Forest. “We had an incredibly low number of human-caused wildfire starts on the forest despite being in extreme fire danger and having one of the driest periods on record in many years. When members of the public abide by fire restrictions and closures, they greatly help us in protecting their public lands and adjacent communities from the threats posed by human-caused wildfires.”
Increased monsoonal activity has also significantly lowered the fire danger risk for Grand Canyon National Park, and the park rescinded Stage 2 fire restrictions July 13.
Grand Canyon remains in stage 1 restrictions year-round which requires that a campfire always be in a designated fire ring within maintained campground. Inner canyon users can use gas cook stoves, but campfires and other open fires are never allowed below the rim. River users should continue to follow the conditions of their permit regarding fires along the Colorado River.
Visitors and residents will be allowed to use charcoal grills and have campfires once the restrictions are lifted. Firewood is once again available for purchase at park concessions operations.
Although most fire restrictions have been lifted, officials on the Kaibab National Forest will begin managing three new lightning caused wildfires for the benefit of accomplishing land management objectives that include reducing hazardous fuel accumulations and restoring overall forest health.
The Pine Ridge and the JD fire were discovered July 8 and are located on the southern portion of the Williams Ranger District near Pine Flat. The 1 acre Blue fire also discovered on July 8 is located approximately five miles east of Red Butte on the Tusayan Ranger District. All of these fires will be monitored closely over the next several days with the intent of allowing fire to burn as it would naturally over the landscape as long as it can be safely managed while benefiting forest resources.
Recent moisture from monsoon rains has created ideal conditions to allow for low to moderate fire intensity to occur in these areas that are in a predominant ponderosa pine fuel type. Weather forecasts are predicting more rain in the week ahead so growth potential is expected to be minimal over the next several days.
Smoke may be visible at times from the surrounding areas. Fire managers will monitor smoke closely and take precautions to minimize impacts to adjacent residential areas. Motorists are asked to be aware of fire personnel and vehicles and use caution when driving near the vicinity of these fires.
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