Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
U.S. Forest Service
902 Wasco Avenue
Hood River, OR 97031
COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE NATIONAL SCENIC AREA
Burned Area Emergency Response Update – Eagle Creek Fire
Team Verifying Preliminary Soil Burn Severity Map
September 30, 2017
Hood River, Oregon - The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team assigned to the Eagle Creek Fire is developing a Soil BurnSeverity (SBS) map.
The preliminary SBS map is derived from satellite data from before and after the fire and is used to estimate how intensely the fire burned. The initial map identifies areas with a loss of vegetation cover and potential soil damage.
BAER Team members have been looking at burned areas on the ground and by air. They are verifying the preliminary SBS map and determining the characteristics of the watersheds, such as soil and rock types, acreage, and how steep are the slopes.
Using information from ground and aerial surveys, plus knowledge and experience from years of assessing other burned areas, the soil scientists on the BAER Team are producing maps showing the level of damage to the soils. The final Soil Burn Severity map will classify the damage as low, moderate, or high.
Eric Nicita, the lead soil scientist on the BAER Team, explained, “It is important to evaluate the changes in the soils that determine the effects on our creeks and hillslopes after the fire. Fire damaged soils will have low strength, high root mortality, and increased rates of water runoff and erosion. These can affect all resources downslope and downstream.”
Using the SBS map, BAER Team members will run models to estimate changes in stream flows and geologic hazards such as debris flows and rock falls. They will compare the pre-fire amounts of runoff and erosion to the calculated post-fire volumes.
Using maps and calculated data, BAER Team members will identify the areas likely to be impacted after the fire. Potential treatments to mitigate threats to “Values at Risk”, including human life, structures, roads, trails, streams, cultural resources, and other natural resources, will be evaluated.
For more information, contact Judith Downing at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 908-5128.
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