ST. GEORGE —Fire management officials at Zion National Park have begun the implementation of several small prescribed burns in Zion National Park, according to a press release issued by the park.
Prescribed fire is an important technique used to reduce excessive vegetation build up on the landscape and reduce the potential for more severe fires, according to the statement. In the case of unfavorable weather conditions, burns will be postponed until later this winter.
There are four project areas targeted for implementation over the next several weeks including piles on: the “Switchbacks” area of the Zion Mt. Carmel Highway, around the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center, along the East Mesa boundary and in the Lava Point area. The size of these four pile burn projects totals 60 acres.
Greg Bartin, the park’s fire management officer, told St. George News they began the burns Monday and burned 5 acres of piles on the “Switchbacks” area below the Zion Mt. Carmel Highway tunnel.
The National Park Service routinely treats fuels in this fashion. Spring, summer and fall fuels projects have been conducted over the past several years where firefighters thinned fuels around buildings and other visitor frequented areas. The cut slash has been collected into pyramidal shaped piles and will be burned when there is sufficient precipitation that reduces the potential for fire spread beyond the piles.
The anticipated short-term impacts are smoky conditions for short periods during ignition. Piles typically burn down over the course of two to three hours and some smoke may be expected the day of and day after ignition. The pile burns will be monitored by park fire staff until they are declared out.
For information concerning this project or other prescribed burns in Zion National Park call 435-772-7847.
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