The National Park Service is advising visitors of three wildfires currently burning in different areas on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Lightning strikes from a passing thunderstorm late in the first week of June caused the fires, which were noticed between Friday, June 11, and Saturday, June 12.
Two of the fires–the Walla Fire to the northwest and the Fuller Fire to the northeast–were within six to twelve miles of the North Rim developed area, and were suppressed by Grand Canyon firefighters before they grew larger than a tenth of an acre.
The third fire is being managed in a controlled burn for resource and protection objectives, with four Grand Canyon firefighters dedicated to monitoring it. Called the Glades Fire, it covers about one tenth of an acre of ponderosa pine on the Walhalla Plateau, between Vista Encantada and Cape Final a mile east of Cape Royal Road.
Since wildfire is a necessary part of the life cycle of the canyon, the National Park Service firefighters work to let fire safely run its course in the natural environment. Various plant and animal species are dependent on periodic fires for survival, and they also stimulate new plant growth and provide animal habitats in fire-damaged trees.
Fires in the area in both 1999 and 2005 had already reduced potential fuel sources, and officials do not anticipate severe damage. Visitors may see smoke from parts of the North Rim and Cape Royal Road, although any smoke that settles into the canyon during the evening should lift as the day heats up. The fire has not caused any road or trail closures, and no facilities on the North Rim have been impacted.
The Park Service will provide updates if any major change occurs as far as the severity of the fire or plans to manage it. Otherwise, there is no cause for concern as this naturally occurring wildfire runs its course.