A massive wildfire spread by the wind has burned approximately 1,520 acres of natural area north of the Grand Canyon, according to officials with the U.S. Forest Service. The so-called Wildcat Fire was sparked by a lightning strike that occurred at about 10:30 am on Monday, June 13. As the fire was driven by the wind south of Highway 89A and east of Highway 67, it destroyed stands of pinyon and juniper trees, as well as shrubs and grasses. Much of the forest burning occurred along the road leading to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
Almost 300 firefighters responded to the blaze, including crews working by hand, on engines, and in airplanes. As of noon on June 19, officials reported that the wildfire was 40% contained. Getting the rest of the fire under control was hampered somewhat by the extremely high temperatures and lack of humidity in the region.
Despite the fire, the canyon’s North Rim and the North Kaibab Ranger District recreational facilities remained open. Because of heavier-than-normal, fire-related traffic, officials advised drivers to use caution when traveling through House Rock Valley on Highway 89A near Jacob Lake.