THREE PHASES OF WILDFIRE REHABILITATION
Incident: Thomas Fire Wildfire
THREE PHASES OF WILDFIRE REHABILITATION FOR THE
With the Thomas Fire is at 50% containment and 50 miles of line left to complete, it is time to start preparing for fire suppression repair, and long term recovery. Over 63% or 147,469 acres of the fire are on federal lands, 147,469 of which 142,211 of which are National Forest System Land.
There are three phases of rehabilitation following wildfires on all lands: Fire Suppression Repair; Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER); and Long-term Recovery.
Fire Suppression Repair is a series of immediate post-fire actions taken to repair damages and minimize environmental impacts resulting from fire suppression activities and is usually begun as the fire is contained and before the demobilization of an Incident Management Team. This work rehabilitates the hand and dozer firelines, roads, trails, staging areas, safety zones, and drop points used during fire suppression efforts.
The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) program is a rapid assessment of burned watersheds by specialized teams to identify unacceptable post-fire threats and implement emergency treatments to reduce unacceptable risks before the first major storm or damaging event. The fire results in a loss of vegetation, exposure of the soil to erosion and increased water runoff that may lead to flooding and increased sediment and debris flows. BAER treatments such as the installation of erosion and runoff water control devices; temporary barriers to protect recovering areas; warning signs; and drainage features for increased flow may be implemented. BAER work may also replace safety related facilities; remove safety hazards; prevent permanent loss of habitat for threatened and endangered species; and prevent the spread of noxious weeds. Local, state and federal teams are currently working on different portions of the Thomas Fire.
Long-Term Recovery include non-emergency actions that are done within three years or more after fire containment to improve fire-damaged lands that are unlikely to recover naturally and to repair or replace facilities damaged by the fire that are not critical to life safety. This phase may include restoring burned habitat, monitoring fire effects, replacing burned fences, stabilizing cultural sites, treating pre-existing noxious weed infestations, and installing interpretive signs.