A large wildfire caused by a lightning strike on June 29 has been contained enough to allow two major access roads near the Grand Canyon’s North Rim to reopen. Officials with Grand Canyon National Park said that the Point Imperial and Cape Royal roads were reopened to the public at 8 am on Sunday, July 24, allowing motorists to travel to lookout points. Both roads had been closed for several days because of the so-called Fuller Fire, which has burned about 22 square miles during the past month. As of late July, this fire was about 20-percent contained.
Although the access roads were reopened, park officials said that trails in the area would remain closed for the safety of firefighters who continue to battle the blaze. Motorists are advised to drive cautiously and stop only in parking areas.
Firefighters expect the Fuller Fire to smolder for several more weeks, or even months, with most activity in the dry western and northern parts of the area. Park officials noted that the wildfire could be beneficial to the forest, allowing for new growth until cold, snowy conditions set in later in the year.
Although the fire area received more than an inch of rain in thunderstorms on July 22, the rain wasn’t enough to prevent the spread of the fire. And dry conditions over the next several days contributed to the continued spread.
To prepare for the reopening of Point Imperial and Cape Royal roads, fire crews removed safety hazards along the routes, such as downed tree limbs. In addition to these opened roads, most facilities at the North Rim’s village are also open, as is State Route 67.