Southern Utah News Articles
Persistence results in additional growth on the Castle Fire
The Castle Fire continues its gradual spread westward towards Lookout Canyon. Low to moderate fire behavior along almost four miles of the fire’s active front has resulted in an additional 1,538 acres. To date, the fire has covered 16,538 acres within the pre-identified planning area of 19,632 acres. This fire’s persistence can be attributed to favorable conditions, including intermittent spells of dry weather over the western edge of the planning area, available fuels and the area’s unique topography, all being key factors that have contributed to the fire’s spread.
Anticipating that this would be considered a long-term event, fire managers allowed this naturally ignited, lightning-caused fire to burn across the landscape from the time it was detected on July 12 to present. The Castle Fire was different than most by burning at a lower intensity, over an extended period of time, to prepare the forest floor for regeneration and renewal.
Firefighters will continue mastication work along the western and southern perimeters to ensure that they are secure enough to hold the fire within the planning area. The biggest challenge along Forest Road 226, which is also the western perimeter of the planning area, has been the powerline that exists along this corridor. Extensive and advanced preparation along almost 10 miles of Forest Road 226 will ensure that any potential for increased fire behavior has been mitigated. This work, coupled with the fire’s positive effects on the land, will result in long lasting improvements, both ecologically and to existing infrastructure.
The weather forecast is mostly cloudy, then becoming partly cloudy, with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Light winds with gusts to 16 mph are in expected in the afternoons.
The fire’s origin is located about 11 miles south of Jacob Lake, three miles west of Highway 67, and just east of Forest Road 761 near Oquer Canyon.
A Closure Order remains in effect for the Castle Fire area: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6439/
Personnel totals approximately 119, with two crews, four engines, a helicopter, a dozer, three masticators, two feller bunchers, one skidder, and miscellaneous fire management personnel.
Smoke is expected to be visible from both the North and South Rims of Grand Canyon National Park, Jacob Lake, Highway 67, Highway 89A, and Fredonia.
Wildland fire crews plan to continue improving roads and other designated perimeters within which the fire can move. Current weather conditions may influence the use of firing operations, which may be conducted as needed in order to strengthen control lines.
A Temporary Flight Restriction is in place over the fire area.