Grand Canyon Crews Complete 2.7- Square-Miles of Planned Prescription Fire

Authorities at the Grand Canyon National Park were reported to have stopped the
ignition operations on a prescribed fire.

Controlled burning, otherwise known as “prescription fire,” are commonplace in areas of
heavy vegetation. Every year, crews across the country are tasked with protecting the
natural habitat by burning it. The expression fight fire with fire is a reference to
prescription fire.

Here are the benefits of a prescribed fire:
 It safely reduces excessive amounts of brush, shrubs, and trees.
 It encourages new growth of native vegetation, which is very important to
maintain the sanctity and natural ecosystem of the Grand Canyon.
 It maintains the plethora of plant and animal species whose habitats depend on
periodic fire. (Yes, there are some species whose life cycle depends on fire as a
pure form of natural rebirth; rising from the ashes.)
For a few days following the fire, crews were responsible for securing any remaining
areas along the fire’s perimeter, which could potentially threaten the holding line. Yet,
due to the continually changing conditions of the time, fire managers decided to stop
any further ignitions.

Still, in the time the officials had to work through the conditions, more than 2.7 square
miles (7.1 square kilometers) were treated. This means that while not ideal, the crews
met the objectives for the prescribed fire. The prescribed fire was also successful in
improving the holding lines between the wildland and urban connection within the South
Rim. The developed area of the South Rim was deemed safe for tourists and the heavy
flow of traffic that the area receives.

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Ultimately, prescribed fire is about reducing fuel loads. While the heat and other fire-
threats are not as easy to control, brush and other sources of fuel can be managed
through prescribed burning. The idea is if there is an unsanctioned fire, if the brush is
already burned out, there is less of a chance the fire will burn out of control.
Yet, people still need to know that fire is still fire. Regardless of whether it is controlled,
or accidental, there is still a risk of harm and property damage. That is why it is
important for trained crews to take charge of prescribed fires. The success of controlled

burning relies heavily on the organization and competence of the crews that are
manning the mission.

Thankfully, the people who were carrying out this prescribed fire knew when enough
was enough. They made the call to stop, but they were able to burn enough that the
developed area of the South Rim remained safe for another summer.