National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) fire managers, are working together as the North Zone Interagency Fire Management Program, to implement the Range and Thompson Prescribed Fires on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park between mid-October and the end of November as weather and fuel moisture conditions allow.
Prescribed fires play an important role in decreasing risks to life, resources, and property. Fire managers carefully plan prescribed fires, initiating them only under environmental conditions that are favorable to assuring firefighter and visitor safety and to achieving the desired objectives. Objectives common to both prescribed fires include reducing accumulations of forest fuels, maintaining the natural role of fire in a fire-adapted ecosystem, and protection of sensitive cultural resources.
Objectives specific to the Thompson prescribed fire (Rx) include creating a defensible space along the park/forest boundary to aid in protecting threatened and endangered species habitat adjacent to the boundary, including Apache trout and Mexican spotted owl habitat.
The Thompson Burn Unit is a narrow burn unit located along the northern boundary of the park between Highway 67 and the Arizona Trail on the west and the 2000 Outlet Fire history area on the east. This burn unit actually extends north of the park boundary to Forest Service road 610. As a result, the Thompson Rx will be managed jointly by the NPS and USFS.
|Incident Type||Prescribed Fire|
|Location||between Hwy 67 and the Arizona Trail on the west and the 2000 Outlet Fire history area on the east|
|Incident Commander||Vic Morfin|
This burn unit is composed primarily of ponderosa pine with spruce, fir, and aspen. The Thompson burn unit has not experienced recent fire, resulting in a significant build-up of large dead and down fuels.
The Arizona Trail has re-opened from Forest Road 610 to the Point Sublime (w1) Road. The length of the Arizona Trail through Grand Canyon National Park is once again open. Hikers may continue to see smoke and smoldering logs and should remain vigilant to the dangers of falling trees particularly during wind events. The Range Road (also known as the w1a road) remains closed at this time.
North Zone Interagency Fire Managers completed igntions on the Thompson prescribed burn unit on November 5. Fire managers estimate approximately 3,800 acres have been treated since Friday, November 2.
Moderate to heavy smoke impacts to Highway 67 are anticipated to continue throughout the Thompson Prescribed Fire. Daytime visitors should be prepared for poor visibility as well as possible delays and intermittent closures of the North Rim entrance road. Overnight closures of the North Rim entrance road are also possible. Drivers are advised to use their headlights, to watch for and obey traffic signs and personnel, and to remain alert to the possibility of fallen trees that have been weakened by fire. Smoke will be visible along Highway 67 and Highway 89A as well as from various locations on both the North and South Rims. During the day, smoke is expected to dissipate to the north and northeast. In the evenings, it is likely that smoke will settle into the canyon as temperatures cool, then rise slowly back out during the day as temperatures warm again. Evening smoke may also settle in the House Rock Valley, Marble Canyon, and Page areas. Smoke impacts have the potential to be heavy in the inner canyon. Fire management staff are working closely with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality- Smoke Management Division to reduce and mitigate potential smoke impacts. Smoke will be most visible during ignition operations and will likely gradually diminish after ignitions are completed. It is expected that smoke will continue to be visible until a major rain or snow event occurs.