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Fire Near Grand Canyon Slows

May 13, 2000

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. (AP) _ Calmer winds aided firefighters as a 7,000-acre wildfire on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon slowed.

``It is not spreading rapidly,″ Grand Canyon National Park spokesman Tom Pittenger said Friday.

Reduced wind gave firefighters a break after the bluster earlier this week.

The Outlet fire, like the devastating fire raging in New Mexico, began as a prescribed burn on April 25, designed to help remove some of the brush and grasses on about 1,500 acres. Park officials had hoped the fire would rejuvenate the forested areas and prevent large wildfires.

On Wednesday, however, strong winds drove the fire out of the prescribed area and by Thursday, it had spread into Kaibab National Forest to the north.

On Friday, the fire continued to move north, away from stores, housing and the North Rim Lodge. Firefighters were using the opportunity to dig lines and clear debris around the developed areas, said Carol Tepper, a park spokeswoman.

Pittenger said the fire was never closer than three to four miles from the developed area.

About 230 firefighters and support personnel were working the fire, and 350 more had been requested. A helicopter, three aerial tankers and a lead plane also aided the effort, park officials said.

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon, the side on which the vast majority of visitors go, remained open, though some light smoke could be seen and smelled, Tepper said.

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On the Net:

Grand Canyon National Park: http://www.nps.gov/grca/fire

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