Prescribed burn to take place in Zion Canyon this week

Watchman at Zion | Photo courtesy of Zion Lodge

ZION NATIONAL PARK – Zion National Park Fire Management Officials plan to ignite the 654-acre Clear Trap Prescribed Fire (Rx) sometime during the week of April 23. The exact date of ignition will depend on weather and fuel conditions and the availability of firefighting resources.  This prescribed fire project is located along the eastern boundary of the park, adjacent to the Zion Ponderosa Ranch.

The objectives of the prescribed fire are to provide protection for surrounding property and structures by reducing the fire hazard along the park boundary and to restore fire to its natural role in the ponderosa pine forest ecosystem.

This second entry burn (the area was last burned in the fall of 2004) will begin with a hand-ignited black lining operation along the park’s boundary to create a buffer zone and reduce the chances for the fire to cross control lines.  The remaining portion of the burn unit will then be ignited by using hand ignition or aerial techniques.  Once ignited, the fire will actively burn for three to five days and then smolder for several more days.

The fire will be closely monitored until declared out.  Numerous interagency resources will be on scene to implement the Rx including firefighters, wildland engines and a water tender.  In addition, a Type 3 helicopter may be utilized if needed.

Short-term impacts include smoky conditions possible for three to five days and the temporary closure of trails in the vicinity of the burn area.  Forecasted weather conditions should provide good smoke dispersal, but there is potential for smoke in the valleys during the nights and early mornings.

During ignition, the East Rim Trail system will be closed from the East Entrance to the Observation Point Trail.  This closure includes the Deertrap Mountain and Cable Mountain Trails.  The Observation Point Trail will remain open.  No overnight camping will be allowed along the East Rim Trail during this closure.  The trail system will reopen once it is safe for park visitors to use it.

The region around the Clear Trap Rx has been identified by state and federal land management agency administrators as one of six Wildland/Urban Interface Focus Areas requiring priority fuels treatment in the Color Country Interagency Fire Management Area.  This region, known as the East Zion Focus Area, incorporates private and federal lands, and is administered by the State of Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands, Cedar City District Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Zion National Park (NPS).

For more information about this or other prescribed fire projects in Zion, call 435-772-7811 or visit our website at

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