Manmade Fire Closes Road between Flagstaff and Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon weather may often inconvenience those seeking a day of sunny exploration, but a relatively uncommon and lesser known force of nature is currently deterring those on their way to see the monument.

Visitors to the Grand Canyon National Park frequently arrive from Flagstaff, a nearby town that serves as a tourism gateway to the Grand Canyon area, but the most highly-trafficked highway between Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon is currently shut down, not due to overwhelming traffic or an accident, but due to a reportedly man-made wildfire that has already consumed over 200 acres of wilderness.

Traffic in both directions has been halted along a five-mile stretch of highway US 180 as emergency responders work to extinguish the fire. The fire began north of Flagstaff near Kendrick Mountain, and currently doesn’t endanger any man-made structures as it continues to spread throughout the area.

The highway’s closure may be an inconvenience to many, and how long the road will remain closed is yet to be seen. Fortunately for those planning to visit the park during the closure, there are routes that you can follow to completely avoid the fire and all associated closures as outlined by the Arizona Department of Transportation.

To bypass the closure of highway US 180, drivers can take an alternative route by taking State Route 64 to Interstate 40 and heading east.

This fire, the second of two man-made fires to scorch Arizona in the past week, continues to grow and is estimated to consume a full 500 acres before being completely contained, but according to a USDA Forest Service release, the fire was at least 25% contained on Sunday.

The conditions at the site of the fire are contributing to how quickly it’s spreading, including high winds, dead logs, and an abundance of dead fuels in the area where the 1996 Horseshoe Fire once burned. Full containment of the fire is within reach, however, as firefighters continue to isolate and contain the blaze through the night.

Have you even seen a forest fire firsthand, or felt their impact on the landscape or community? How do you feel about having to take a detour around the main highway between Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon? Let us know in the comments section below to help other readers understand the impact of these disasters.