Fire managers in the North Zone of the Grand Canyon are moving forward with the prescribed burnings of piles in the North Rim Developed Area. Pending good weather conditions, the burnings of two 16-acre units of hand piles could take place as early as February 25, 2018. This shouldn’t affect most tourism as the North Rim and Arizona Highway 67 are closed for the season and will reopen later in the spring.
However, a number of factors go into whether or not officials will move forward on a prescribed burn. It all depends on the availability of staff, equipment, and fuel. Weather also plays a factor as temperature, humidity, vegetation moisture, winds, and ventilation conditions for smoke dispersal are all taken into consideration before a burn can begin. Even if the proper conditions are met, prescribed burns still have to approved by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality before they take place. You can read more detailed information about prescribed burn authorizations and the Smoke Management Division here: http://www.azdeq.gov/programs/air-quality-programs/smoke-management.
Visitors should be wary of areas where prescribed burnings are taking place. Firefighters and fire-related traffic can potentially cause delays in travel. Smoke may also be present. Drivers should be aware that while there shouldn’t be any significant smoke impacting the area, visitors should still drive cautiously since emergency vehicles will likely be operating near the vicinity of the burn.
So if you plan on traveling past the North Rim for your Grand Canyon visit, do your research and see if there is a prescribed burn scheduled within your route in order to plan accordingly. Prescribed burns are being regularly planned throughout this winter season going into spring, so it is best for visitors to stay alert and stay informed. You can access information about the current and upcoming prescribed burns issued by North Zone Interagency Fire Management Program through the following resources:
- The Grand Canyon National Park Website
- The Kaibab National Forest on Twitter
- The Kaibab National Forest Website
- Fire Information Recorded Hotline: 928-635-8311
- Text ‘follow kaibabnf’ to 40404 to receive text message updates