Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland
U.S. Forest Service
2150 Centre Avenue Building E
Fort Collins, CO 80526
GRANBY, Colo., Sept. 23, 2020 – A Burn Area Emergency Response (BAER) team was established this week by the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland to begin a burned area assessment of the Williams Fork Fire. As information is available, it will be posted on the Williams Fork Fire Post-fire BAER InciWeb page.
BAER surveys are rapid assessments that evaluate the burned area to identify watersheds having increased potential for post-fire flooding, erosion, debris flows and rockslides. Since the BAER survey is a rapid assessment to assist land managers to prepare the burned area for future rain events, the team will initially focus on potential emergency impacts to life and safety on National Forest System lands and also share the team’s findings with partner agencies.
BAER teams consist of scientists and specialists, including hydrologists, soil scientists, engineers, botanists, biologists, archeologists and more. These teams collect data during their burned area surveys and present their findings and recommended emergency stabilization treatments or actions in a BAER assessment report. For additional information on what BAER is, check the announcement section of our InciWeb page.
BAER teams utilize satellite imagery which is then field validated and adjusted where needed by soil specialists to produce a map that shows the levels of soil burn severity on the watersheds. Changes in soil properties are the primary cause of increased post-fire erosion, flooding and debris flow potential. This is the first step in assessing potential watershed impacts from the wildfire to any National Forest values that may be at risk from potential increased flooding, sedimentation, debris flows and rockslides. BAER emergency response efforts are focused on the protection of human life, safety and property, as well as critical cultural and natural resources such as the water quality of streams on National Forest System lands.
BAER reports are shared with interagency cooperators who work to identify and prepare for potential post-fire flooding and debris flow impacts. This is just one step of recovery. The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland is working with many cooperators in the area to look at longer-term recovery needs following the fire.
SAFETY MESSAGE: Everyone near and downstream from the burned area should remain alert and stay updated on weather conditions that may result in heavy rains over burn scars.