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Prescribed fire planned along Colorado River near Lees Ferry March 9

Fuels in the unit consist of mostly tamarisk (salt cedar) with baccharis and phragmites closer to the beach area. The tamarisk pictured above is 10-12 feet tall in the densest areas. (NPS Photo)

Fuels in the unit consist of mostly tamarisk (salt cedar) with baccharis and phragmites closer to the beach area. The tamarisk pictured above is 10-12 feet tall in the densest areas. (NPS Photo)

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. – Grand Canyon National Park fire managers—working with resources from Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and the National Park Service Utah Parks Group anticipate initiating prescribed fire treatments as early as next week downriver from Lees Ferry, Arizona, within Grand Canyon National Park.

On March 9, ignitions may occur on the Paria Beach Riparian Restoration project. The project is not expected to last for more than one day and targets 5 acres of riparian vegetation and tamarisk along the banks of the Colorado River, approximately 1.25 miles downriver from the Lees Ferry boat ramp.

photo

(Photo courtesy of NPS)

Grand Canyon Wildlands Council was awarded grant funding through the Arizona Water Protection Fund for the Paria Beach Riparian Restoration project. The project will restore native riparian ecosystem function and natural riverside habitats, enhance visitor experiences, allow for archaeological site erosion protection, and engage underserved and underrepresented youth in ecological restoration efforts.

Smoke from the prescribed fire at Paria Beach will be visible during ignition operations and will likely last for several days after ignitions are completed. Smoke impacts are most anticipated for the area surrounding Paria Beach, the Lees Ferry Campground, and the Lees Ferry boat ramp. Fire managers are working with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality-Smoke Management Division to reduce and mitigate potential smoke impacts.

There are no road or other closures anticipated, however, traffic control or one-way traffic may be implemented if smoke impacts cause unsafe driving conditions.

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 firefighter and visitor safety and achieving the desired resource objectives. Prescribed fire will be utilized in this project to consume dead and dying tamarisk, an invasive plant species.

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