The fastest growing of the three fires in the Jar Complex is the Mason Fire, which is about 50 acres in size and is located just southwest of Camp 36 Tank about 4 miles south of Grandview Lookout Tower. The Mason Fire area didn’t receive as much precipitation yesterday as some other areas on the district, which allowed it to continue its expansion and become well established in surrounding ponderosa pine forest.
Fire managers have defined a 16,100-acre planning area within which the Mason Fire will be able to grow while achieving resource-related objectives such as allowing fire to play its natural role in a fire-adapted ecosystem and improving overall forest health conditions.
The Mason Fire is expected to increase in size rapidly over the next several days if the area doesn’t receive significant rain. Smoke from the Mason Fire will largely be pushed toward the northeast due to prevailing winds, which means it will likely be very visible from Desert View in Grand Canyon National Park and from Cameron, Ariz. While direct smoke impacts to the Town of Tusayan are unlikely, a column will be visible from the community and from Highway 64 as the Mason Fire expands. The smoke column may also be visible to those traveling from Flagstaff on Highway 180 toward Valle.
The other two fires in the Jar Complex received more precipitation than the Mason Fire yesterday and grew only slightly due to the different conditions. The Lost and Shale fires are each under an acre in size but may pick up in activity if drier conditions prevail over the next few days.
The Lost Fire is located about 6 miles south of Tusayan, a quarter mile east of Highway 64, and 5 miles north of Red Butte. The Shale Fire is about a mile southeast of the Lost Fire just west of the junction of forest roads 2703 and 2703A. Fire managers have defined a 3,600-acre planning area within which the two fires will be allowed to grow, bringing the entire Jar Complex planning area size to about 19,700 acres.
Much of that 19,700-acre planning area is ponderosa pine forest that has seen various forms of treatment over the last several years from other managed fires, prescribed burns and various kinds of mechanical treatments. Fire managers are hopeful that the Jar Complex fires will continue the important forest restoration work accomplished through those prior treatments in the area.