The Kaibab National Forest has been allowing the lightning-caused Castle Fire to spread within a defined area in order to fulfill its natural role of reducing dense forest fuels and improving overall ecosystem health. The wildfire has now moved across the entire 19,368-acre planning area, and additional perimeter growth is not anticipated. However, pockets of unburned vegetation remain within the wildfire's interior and may burn over the coming days.
The Castle Fire has been burning in an area with dense mixed conifer, heavy fuel loading, and a significant amount of dead and down trees. Allowing the fire to act as a natural disturbance process in the ecosystem helps meet a variety of resource objectives including restoring the forest structure to more historic conditions, reducing spruce and fir encroachment of area meadows, removing fuels that could feed future severe wildfires, and promoting aspen regeneration.
A temporary Closure Order is in place for the Castle Fire area, effective July 23, 2019. For details about the closure go to www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/kaibab/alerts-notices.