Burned Area Emergency Response(BAER) teams arrived in Washington to begin burned area surveys of the wildfires that recently burned more than 230,000 acres on federal lands on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. The BAER teams will be responsible for surveying federal lands on the Diamond Creek, Uno Peak, Jack Creek, Jolly Mountain and Norse Peak Fires for imminent post-fire threats to human life, safety, property and critical natural or cultural resources.
BAER team surveys are rapid assessments of the burned areas that evaluate imminent post-fire conditions of burned watersheds and determine the potential for increased post-fire flooding, debris flows, and rock slides and other potential threats to values at risk.
BAER teams consist of scientists and specialists including hydrologists, geologists, soil scientists, road engineers, botanists, wildlife and fisheries biologists, archeologists, recreation specialists and geographic information specialists, from federal and state agencies. BAER teams work together during the burned area surveys, field data analysis and modeling phase, to present findings along with recommended BAER treatments on federal lands.
BAER teams analyze the data they collect during the surveys, to produce a “Soil Burn Severity” map. This is the first step in assessing potential watershed impacts from wildfires to any downstream values that may be at-risk from potential increased flooding, sedimentation, debris flows, and rock slides. BAER teams produce a report that includes a description of the assessment and findings for the burned area’s post-fire conditions along with recommended emergency treatments 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 lakes, rivers, and streams.
BAER reports are also shared with interagency cooperators who work with private home and land owners downstream to prepare for potential post-fire flooding and sediment flow impacts.
SPECIAL NOTE: 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. Current weather and emergency notifications can be found at the National Weather Service website.