A Burned Area Emergency Response team has been established by the Forest Service and assigned the task of assessing the northern portion of the burned areas for the August Complex. The team will be coordinating with the Shasta-Trinity, Six Rivers and Mendocino national forests as well as the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Weather Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Trinity County, Tehama County, Mendocino County and other federal, tribal, state and local agencies as they assess potential post-fire impacts to the burned watersheds.
BAER surveys are rapid assessments that evaluate the burned area to identify watersheds having increased potential for post-fire flooding, sediment flows, falling trees, and rockslides. The BAER survey assists land managers in preparing the burned area for rainstorms and wind events. The teams focus on potential emergency impacts to life and safety on National Forest System lands and share the team’s findings with the responsible downstream agencies.
BAER teams typically consist of scientists and specialists including hydrologists, geologists, soil scientists, road engineers, botanists, fisheries biologists, wildlife biologists, recreation specialists, archeologists and geographic information specialists. BAER teams collect data during their burned area surveys to analyze through Geographic Information System and computer models and presents their findings along with recommended BAER emergency response actions in an assessment report.
BAER teams utilize satellite imagery and specialist data to analyze and produce a map that shows the levels of soil burn severity on the watersheds. This is the first step in assessing potential watershed impacts from wildfires to any NFS values that may be at-risk from potential increased flooding, sedimentation, debris flows and rockslides.
BAER teams produce a report that describes threats associated with the burned area’s post-fire conditions along with recommended emergency stabilization measures and actions.
BAER emergency response efforts are focused on the protection of human life, safety and property, as well as critical cultural and natural resource values such as the water quality of streams and wetlands on NFS lands.
The BAER team will produce and share soil burn severity and potential debris flow hazard maps for the burned area. BAER reports are shared with interagency cooperators who work with private home and other landowners to prepare for potential post-fire flooding and debris flow impacts. Homes or businesses that could be impacted by flooding from federal land that resulted from wildfires may be eligible for flood insurance coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program. Information about NFIP is available through FEMA at www.floodsmart.gov/.
SAFETY MESSAGE: Everyone near and downstream from the burned areas should remain alert and stay updated on weather conditions that may result in heavy rains over the burn scars. Flash flooding may occur quickly during heavy rain events — be prepared to take action. Current weather and emergency notifications can be found on National Weather Service websites: www.weather.gov/sto/, and www.weather.gov/eka/.
August Complex Post-Fire BAER Assessment information is available at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7228/.