Update: July 26, 2019
Firefighters have made excellent progress in reinforcing the 19,632-acre planning area perimeter of the Castle Fire. If weather conditions remain favorable today, a helicopter will be utilized to conduct aerial ignitions along the interior edges of the already burned areas. This will help strengthen the control lines to minimize any potential of the fire burning outside of the planning area.
The fire is slowly backing through dead and down trees and grass. Area thunderstorms have not materialized over the fire area and have had minimal effects on the Castle Fire. This wildfire continues to play a vital role in functioning as a natural disturbance within the mixed-conifer ecosystem by reducing excessive fuel (vegetation) accumulations that currently exist across the forest floor.
The lightning-caused wildfire was detected on July 12th and has grown to 1,700 acres. The Castle Fire is located about 11 miles south of Jacob Lake, 3 miles west of Highway 67, and just east of Forest Road 761 near Oquer Canyon.
Yesterday, under favorable weather conditions, the fire backed its way downslope into receptive fuel beds, resulting in good consumption of available vegetation. As a result, the fire grew more than 700 acres. While firing operations are being used mostly along the eastern edge of the planning area, equipment, including masticators and bulldozers, continue prep work around the southern and northern perimeter.
Fire managers expect the Castle Fire to remain active, even with the possibility of precipitation, as predicted over the next few days. The long-term forecast calls for dry weather to follow, likely causing the fire to regain momentum and continue to gradually spread throughout the planning area of 19,632 acres.
As an added safety measure for both public and firefighters, a temporary Closure Order is now in effect for the Castle Fire area: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6439/
The Castle Fire poses no danger to structures or other local infrastructure.
July 24, 2019:
Kaibab National Forest managers have implemented a temporary Closure Order for the Castle Fire area in order to provide for public and firefighter safety. The fire continues to grow along the northeast portion of the planning area near the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
The fire is backing along the forest floor and occasionally flaming up in areas where there are dense pockets of dead and down logs.
The lightning-caused wildfire, which is being allowed to fulfill its natural role in a fire-dependent ecosystem, is approximately 600 acres within a predetermined planning area of 19,368 acres. It is located about 11 miles south of Jacob Lake, 3 miles west of Highway 67, and just east of Forest Road 761 near Oquer Canyon.
On July 21, wildland fire crews started work on prepping the northern boundary of the planning area. Efforts also continued on improving the eastern boundary and other barriers that will ultimately confine fire growth, with the goal of keeping it within the predetermined perimeters.
As of July 22, crews planned to work on reinforcing the northern and southeastern boundaries of the planning area. Firing operations will occur along Forest Road 760, along the northeast boundary, as conditions allow.
Fire managers anticipate that the Castle Fire will remain active for several weeks. Weather conditions are predicted to remain largely warm and dry, which can aid in the wildfire’s continued gradual growth. Officials want to remind visitors that while there are currently no fire restrictions in place on the Kaibab National Forest, it is always important to use extra caution when recreating on public lands and having a campfire or using any device that could start a wildland fire.
The Castle Fire poses no danger to structures or other local infrastructure. Smoke impacts have been minimal to date. However, firing operations may cause a temporary increase in the amount of smoke emissions. Expect light to moderate smoke impacts on Highway 67 over the next few days.
Information provided by Kaibab National Forest