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Fire crews take advantage of snow to conduct pile burns throughout northern Arizona

Grand Canyon burn
A pile burn on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in January 2021.

Officials on the Coconino National Forest are conducting pile burns this week on the Flagstaff Ranger District.

Crews will ignite material left over from previous mechanical thinning treatments in the Inner Basin of the San Francisco Peaks and near Waterline Road north of Flagstaff.

They’re also burning south of Mountainaire. Smoke is expected to be light and short in duration but visible from Doney Park and Interstate 17 near Kelly Canyon south of Flagstaff.

Officials say the large piles must be burned while snow is on the ground to allow for greater control of the fires.

Meanwhile, officials at Grand Canyon National Park will also begin pile burns Thursday along Highway 64 on the South Rim.

They’ll ignite hand piles of woody debris north of the South Rim entrance between mile makers 238 and 240.

Crews plan to continue the burns over the next several months when weather conditions are suitable.

Officials say smoke will be visible in the area and traffic signs will be posted along the roadway alerting visitors of the work.

Drivers should expect slower traffic and minor delays.