A lightning strike led to a wildfire that spread throughout the North Rim, despite firefighter’s best efforts to control it. As a result, many popular trails and roads throughout the Grand Canyon are currently closed.
The Obi Fire began on July 21, in the Walhalla Plateau in the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. After battling the blaze and keeping it at bay, the fire regained power. Between August 6, and August 8, the blaze doubled in size. Over the course of the three days, the fire swallowed more than 3,550 acres. By Wednesday, the fire had consumed an estimated 7, 420 acres.
In addition to the wildfire, firefighters are also battling the high winds and drought, which has helped intensify the blaze. Unfortunately, the wildfire has had a relentless stream of perfect conditions for destruction.
This has led to much of the North Rim shutting down, including many road and trail closures. These closures include Cape Royal Road, the northern portion of Ken Patrick Trail, and Point Imperial. Bright Angel Trail is also a part of the fire’s path, thanks to the three-day surge. These road closures are in effect indefinitely. The roads and trails will not be reopened until the air quality has returned to safe levels. This will happen after the fire is brought under control and extinguished.
The only remaining portion of the North Rim that is left open is Point Imperial and select trails in that area. However, visitors are advised to check air quality before embarking on adventures in this area. Depending on the time of day and wind factors, the air quality in these areas could be dangerous.
The South Rim is still functioning as normal. Although, the smoke from the fire is clearly visible throughout the Grand Canyon. Visitors are urged not to be alarmed by the haze and the scent of smoke that is in the area.
Unfortunately, this is a byproduct of such an intense wildfire. However, safety is The National Park Service’s number one priority.
At this time, the South Rim in its entirety is safe to visit.