Weather improves, fire slows north of Grand Canyon

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. - Calmer winds aided firefighters Friday and slowed a 7,000-acre wildfire on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Like the devastating fire in Los Alamos, N.M., this fire began as a prescribed burn to help remove brush and grasses on about 1,500 acres, rejuvenate the forested areas and prevent large wildfires.

The fire was started on April 25. Heavy winds on Wednesday drove it through the prescribed burn area, and by Thursday, it was in both the park and Kaibab National Forest to the north.

The fire continued moving to the north and northeast Friday, away from stores, housing and the North Rim Lodge. Visitors in that developed area were evacuated Wednesday night and Thursday, although park spokesman Tom Pittenger said the fire was never closer than three to four miles.

About 230 firefighters and support personnel were working the fire, and 350 more had been requested. A helicopter, an airplane and an air tanker to drop fire retardant were also brought in.

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon, the side that attracts the vast majority of visitors, remained open.


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