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Update: North Rim Prescribed Fires, November 5

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avatar Update: North Rim Prescribed Fires, October 30
October 30, 2012 06:54PM
Update: North Rim Prescribed Fires, October 30
Date: October 30, 2012
Contact: Michelle Fidler, 928-638-7819
Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958

Grand Canyon, Ariz. - North Zone Interagency Fire Managers have treated approximately 1,700 acres of the Range prescribed fire (Rx) unit since ignitions began on Saturday, October 27. Fire managers plan to continue ignitions today and tomorrow if environmental conditions remain favorable. Approximately 2,300 total acres may be treated. This prescribed fire is helping to reduce the build-up of dead and down vegetation on the forest floor, reducing the risk of extreme fire behavior along the North Rim's primary egress route, and protecting and enhancing Mexican spotted owl habitat.

Additionally, fire managers may begin ignitions on the Thompson Rx unit as early as Friday, November 2. Approximately 2,000 acres will be treated to help create defensible space along the park boundary and protect endangered and threatened species habitat near the boundary. Ignitions are anticipated to occur over a period of four to five days if environmental factors are favorable.

Closures:

Highway 67 (the North Rim park entrance road) has been closed at the park boundary the past two nights due to heavy smoke. The closure has started at 7 p.m. each evening and ended the next day mid- to late-morning when the smoke has lifted and visibility improves. 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. Continued 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.

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 Road) north to its intersection with Highway 67, are closed and expected to remain closed throughout the Range Rx. During daylight hours, public safety officers are checking the trail closures approximately once per hour and are prepared to shuttle hikers to the next available access point. Additional Arizona Trail closures may be implemented during the Thompson Prescribed Fire.

Smoke:

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.

For updates on the Range prescribed burn and the status of the road, please visit http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3304, follow @GrandCanyonNPS on Twitter, or call 928-638-7819 (recorded message). If you would like to receive Twitter Messages (Tweets) as Text Messages, please visit http://www.inciweb.org/incident/article/3304/18249/ to learn how.
avatar Update: North Rim Prescribed Fires, November 1
November 01, 2012 04:52PM
Grand Canyon, Ariz. - North Zone Interagency Fire Managers have completed ignitions on the Range prescribed fire (Rx) unit. Approximately 2,300 acres have been treated. This prescribed fire has helped reduce the build-up of dead and down vegetation on the forest floor, reducing the risk of extreme fire behavior along Highway 67, the North Rim's primary egress route, and protecting and enhancing Mexican spotted owl habitat.

Fire managers plan to begin hand and aerial ignitions on the Thompson Rx unit on Friday, November 2, if environmental conditions are favorable. Approximately 2,000 acres will be treated to help create defensible space along the park boundary with the Kaibab National Forest and protect endangered and threatened species habitat near the boundary. Ignitions are anticipated to occur over a period of four to five days if fire effects and behavior are favorable.

Closures:

Moderate to heavy smoke impacts to Highway 67 are anticipated throughout the Thompson 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.

Additional closures of the Arizona Trail are being implemented in association with the Thompson Rx. (The previous closure associated with the Range Rx remains in effect.) Beginning Friday, November 2, at 8:30 a.m., the Arizona Trail will be closed from Forest Road 610 to the Point Sublime (w1) Road. During daylight hours, public safety officers will continue to check the trail closures approximately once per hour and shuttle hikers to the next available access point as necessary.

The Range Road (also known as the w1a road) remainsclosed at this time.

Smoke:

Smoke from the Thompson Rx will be 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.

For updates on the Thompson prescribed burn and the status of the road, please visit http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3305/, follow @GrandCanyonNPS on Twitter, or call 928-638-7819 (recorded message). If you would like to receive Twitter Messages (Tweets) as Text Messages, please visit http://www.inciweb.org/incident/article/3304/18249/ to learn how.
avatar Update: North Rim Prescribed Fires, November 5
November 05, 2012 02:18PM
Update: North Rim Prescribed Fires, November 5
Date: November 5, 2012
Contact: Michelle Fidler, 928-638-7819
Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958

Grand Canyon, Ariz. - North Zone Interagency Fire Managers estimate approximately 2,000 acres have been treated since Friday, November 2 on the Thompson prescribed fire (Rx). Fire managers decided to take advantage of favorable conditions and deepen the unit to the south, expanding defensible space between the park and the Kaibab National Forest to aid in protecting threatened and endangered species habitat adjacent to the boundary, including Apache trout and Mexican spotted owl habitat.

As a result, fire managers plan to continue hand and aerial ignitions another one to two days and may treat about 4,000 acres total if favorable conditions persist. Shorter, late fall days with cool temperatures and increased humidity are creating favorable conditions for meeting objectives. Objectives include reducing accumulations of forest fuels, maintaining the natural role of fire in a fire-adapted ecosystem, and protection of sensitive cultural resources.

The Thompson Burn Unit is located along the northern boundary of the park between Highway 67 and the Arizona Trail on the west and the 2000 Outlet Fire area on the east. This burn unit actually extends north of the park boundary to Forest Road 610. As a result, the Thompson Rx is managed jointly by the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service.

North Zone Interagency Fire Managers completed ignitions on the Range prescribed fire (Rx) unit November 1. Approximately 2,300 acres were treated. This prescribed fire has helped reduce the build-up of dead and down vegetation on the forest floor, reducing the risk of extreme fire behavior along Highway 67, the North Rim's primary egress route, and protecting and enhancing Mexican spotted owl habitat.

Closures:

Moderate to heavy smoke impacts to Highway 67 are anticipated throughout the Thompson 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 have occurred the last two nights, with road closures lifted at approximately 9 a.m. the following morning. 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.

Additional closures of the Arizona Trail have been implemented in association with the Thompson Rx. (The previous closure associated with the Range Rx remains in effect.) The Arizona Trail is closed from Forest Road 610 to the Point Sublime (w1) Road. During daylight hours, public safety officers will continue to check the trail closures approximately once per hour and shuttle hikers to the next available access point as necessary.

The Range Road (also known as the w1a road) remainsclosed at this time.

Smoke:

Smoke from the Range and Thompson Rx units 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.

For updates on the Thompson prescribed burn and the status of the road, please visit http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3305/, follow @GrandCanyonNPS on Twitter, or call

928-638-7819 (recorded message). If you would like to receive Twitter Messages (Tweets) as Text Messages, please visit http://www.inciweb.org/incident/article/3304/18249/ to learn how.
avatar Final Update: North Rim Prescribed Fires, November 7
November 07, 2012 08:19PM
Final Update: North Rim Prescribed Fires, November 7
Date: November 7, 2012
Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958

Grand Canyon, Ariz. - North Zone Interagency Fire Managers have completed ignitions on both the Range and Thompson Prescribed Fires (Rx). Approximately 2,300 acres were treated in the Range burn unit and approximately 3,800 acres were treated in the Thompson unit. Fire managers employed both hand and aerial ignitions in both units.

Goals and objectives were met:

Initial post-treatment observations indicate that goals and objectives for both fires were met. In addition to maintaining the natural role of fire in a fire-adapted ecosystem, these fires:
  • reduced the heavy build-up of dead and down vegetation in both burn units, decreasing the risk of extreme fire behavior in the future especially along Hwy 67, the North Rim's primary egress route;
  • created defensible space around sensitive cultural resources and along the park-forest boundary. (In the event of future wildfires in the area, this will aid in the protection of sensitive cultural resources within the burn units and threatened and endangered species habitat adjacent to the boundary, including Apache trout and Mexican spotted owl habitat.);
  • protected and enhanced Mexican spotted owl habitat within the park by reducing the risk of a stand replacement fire destroying habitat and creating new snags and course debris that enhance MSO habitat.
The Range and Thompson Rx were jointly managed by the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service. Approximately 80 personnel from both agencies worked on the fires; and as a result of strong and effective collaboration, the two agencies were able to seamlessly treat acres across jurisdictional boundaries.

Some closures lifting:

Moderate smoke impacts to Highway 67 remain a possibility. Daytime visitors may see light smoke along the roadway. Overnight closures of the entrance road are possible as smoke settles in the evening. Drivers should use their headlights, watch for and obey traffic signs and personnel, and remain alert to the possibility of fallen trees especially during and after wind events.

The Arizona Trail has re-opened from Forest Road 610 to the Point Sublime (w1) Road. The length of the Arizona Trail through Grand Canyon National Park is once again open. Hikers may continue to see smoke and smoldering logs and should remain vigilant to the dangers of falling trees particularly during wind events.

The Range Road (also known as the w1a road) remainsclosed at this time. If conditions allow, safety personnel expect to re-open the Range Road sometime next week.

Smoke will decrease:

Smoke from the Range and Thompson Rx is expected to gradually decrease now that ignitions are complete, but will remain visible to some extent until a major rain or snow event occurs. Smoke may be seen along Hwy 67 as well as from Hwy 89A and various locations on both the North and South Rims. Smoke is expected to continue to rise as temperatures warm during the day and to settle again at night as temperatures cool, including into the canyon and North Rim development.

The National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service would like to thank park visitors and community members for their patience and understanding during management of these two fires. Temporary road closures significantly enhanced both firefighter and visitor safety; and smoke impacts during prescribed fires can be managed and mitigated to a far greater extent than those created by a wildfire. The two agencies would also like to thank the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality for their extended commitment to collaboratively planning these fires.

For updates on the Thompson prescribed burn and the status of the road, please visit http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3305/, follow @GrandCanyonNPS on Twitter, or call 928-638-7819 (recorded message). If you would like to receive Twitter Messages (Tweets) as Text Messages, please visit http://www.inciweb.org/incident/article/3304/18249/ to learn how.
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