Fire season calls for extra dilligence
GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - Although Grand Canyon National Park received below-average precipitation this winter, the warm spring caused vegetation in the park to thrive. Now, fine fuels are quickly drying out as winds and temperatures rise, increasing the risk of wildfire.
Visitors to the Grand Canyon National Park should know that fire danger is currently High or Very High throughout much of the area. In the park, fire danger on the South Rim is "Very High," which means that fires will start easily from all causes; and immediately after ignition, they will spread rapidly and quickly increase in intensity. On the North Rim, fire danger is "High" which means fine dead fuels will ignite readily and most ignition sources will easily start a fire. In addition, fires in continuous, heavy fuels will spread rapidly and high intensity burning may develop.
Within Grand Canyon National Park, there are no fire restrictions in effect at this time. However, visitors are reminded of the following year-round fire regulations.
Within the park, fires are only allowed in designated campgrounds and may only be ignited in grills or designated fire rings.
Visitors hiking and camping below the rim, cook stoves may be used, but campfires and other open fires are never allowed.
River rafters should be aware that campfires are only allowed in elevated metal pans, and use of a fire proof blanket under the pan is required.
The Park Service suggests hikers and campers check for fire restrictions and closures in the area they plan to visit.
When using a portable stove, clear the area of grasses and other fine fuels and be careful to prevent the stove from tipping over.
Visitors should consider alternatives to campfires, but if they chose to have a campfire, it must be completely out before leaving the area. During times of high fire danger unattended campfires are likely to escape.
Drivers on unpaved roads should be careful of parking or driving their vehicle in tall, dry vegetation. Hot vehicle parts may start a fire.
If you see smoke or fire, note the location and report it to authorities.
The latest fire information in Grand Canyon National Park can be found on www.nps.gov/grca/parkmgmt/fire_info.htm. More about fire restrictions on other public lands in Arizona and New Mexico, is available by calling the Southwest Area Fire Restriction Information Line at (877) 864-6985.