A Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team has assembled in Hailey, Idaho to conduct an assessment of the recent Beaver Creek wildfire that burned approximately 114,900 acres on the Ketchum Ranger District of the Sawtooth National Forest.
BAER assessment teams are comprised of specialists that are highly experienced in conducting rapid watershed assessments and analyses and may include soil scientists, hydrologists, geologists, biologists, geographic information system specialists, archeologists, botanists, silviculturists, and civil engineers.
The BAER team is working for Sawtooth National Forest and is coordinating with USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Bureau of Land Management, state agencies, counties, cities, and other local agencies in support of their rapid BAER assessment efforts.
The BAER team is currently determining those areas most severely affected by the recent fire. The team will determine if emergency conditions exist as a result of the fire that have implications for public safety and that may have effects to natural and cultural resources. The BAER team will produce an expedited assessment report that identifies emergency conditions.
After the BAER assessment report is finalized, it will be shared with local, county, state, federal and other cooperators. One of the most effective BAER emergency actions is to continue interagency coordination with local cooperators.
If the BAER assessment team determines that emergency conditions exist, a variety of emergency response actions could be recommended. Specialists may recommend rapid re-seeding, enlarging or unplugging culverts, and removing structures that could block water flow, trap sediment, or impact water quality. The team may recommend certain areas be posted with warning signs, barriers, and/or closures to limit access to hazardous areas. Some areas within the fire may not be suitable for these actions due to many factors such as the steepness of the slope, certain types of soils, and access to the area.
Even after prescribed emergency actions are implemented to minimize the post-fire risks, the burned area may still pose a risk to adjacent areas from potential mudflows and flash flooding. Residents living near burned areas need to monitor weather reports and public safety bulletins, and be aware of current weather conditions and forecasts.
The BAER Team Leader, Eric Schroder, anticipates that a preliminary assessment will be ready by the end of this week and that a final BAER assessment will be prepared by September 13th.
|Incident Type||Burned Area Emergency Response|