Tourists return to Canyon’s North Rim - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

Tourists return to Canyon’s North Rim

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Posted: Tuesday, July 4, 2006 5:23 am | Updated: 4:40 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

FREDONIA - A steady stream of tourists drove into the Grand Canyon’s North Rim on Monday as a road closure prompted by a 58,600-acre wildfire was lifted. The North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park and Highway 67, the only paved highway leading to the remote area, was closed midway through last week after the fire jumped the roadway.

The opening of the North Rim and the highway on Monday morning came as higher humidity levels and rain aided crews in building a line completely around the fire, which hadn’t increased in size for several days.

‘‘There was a steady stream of visitors,’’ said park spokeswoman Maureen Oltrogge. ‘‘People arrived early and seemed very enthusiastic to have the (North Rim) open again.’’

The fire, about 25 miles north of the North Rim, was 70 percent contained. Full containment was expected by this evening.

It started burning June 8 in the Kaibab National Forest and hadn’t reached Grand Canyon National Park.

The section of the Kaibab National Forest that tourists will drive past on their way to the North Rim remains closed until officials determine that it’s safe to open it again, said Jacki Denk, a spokeswoman for the team fighting the blaze.

TIGER, ROCK FIRES

CROWN KING - Containment of a nearly 6,600-acre wildfire complex near this mountain community about 50 miles north of Phoenix had reached 90 percent by Monday.

Crews attribute their success in confronting both fires and protecting Crown King to weekend rains that kept down the spread of flames and presented an opportunity to make more progress in building protection lines around the blaze.

Full containment was expected by today.

Crews focused Monday on strengthening containment lines and putting out any small remaining hot spots in the blaze’s perimeter, said Stuart Bishop, a spokesman for the team fighting the blaze. The complex consists of two blazes — the 5,140-acre Tiger fire and 1,425-acre Rock fire.

TONTO FOREST

Some of the fire restrictions on public access at Tonto National Forest have been lifted.

U.S. Forest Service officials announced Monday that they were allowing the public into the Mogollon Rim and Pinal Mountains because increased humidity has reduced the fire danger.

Campfires will be allowed in designated fire rings at campgrounds on the Payson Ranger District, which includes Ponderosa, Houston Mesa, Tonto Creek, Christopher Creek and Sharp Creek.

Campfires and charcoal are still allowed at Tonto’s lakes and rivers, but only in the fire rings and pedestal grills at developed recreation sites.

But campfires are still prohibited on the Pleasant Valley and Globe ranger districts. That includes campgrounds at Canyon Creek, along Young Road and in the Pinal Mountains.

For information, visit www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto, or call (602) 225-5200.

Western fires

Nevada: An air tanker made an emergency landing in southern Nevada, officials said Monday, as a new wildfire threatened a communications site in remote mountains where firefighters are battling blazes that have burned about 38,000 acres of a huge wildlife refuge.

In northern Nevada, firefighters were nearing containment of the nearly 80,000-acre Suzie fire, which closed a 20-mile stretch of Interstate 80 west of Elko early last week, and the 10,400-acre Sneekee fire 35 miles southwest of Elko.

Utah: In southwestern Utah, the complex of wildfires had consumed nearly 42,000 acres by Monday.

California: A 500-acre fire just west of Yosemite National Park knocked down power lines.

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