Six Rivers National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
1330 Bayshore Way
Eureka, CA 95501
BAER Soil Burn Severity Map Released for Red Salmon Complex
YREKA, Calif. – Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) specialists recently completed their initial data gathering and verification field work of the Red Salmon Complex burn areas. The Soil Burn Severity map, which indicates soil burn severity levels of unburned/very low, low, moderate and high, has been finalized.
The map shows that in the Red Salmon Complex fire area, approximately 70% of the 144,747 acres analyzed by the BAER team is either unburned/very low (37%) or low (33%) soil burn severity, while 26% sustained a moderate soil burn severity, and only 4% burned at high soil burn severity.
BAER post-fire assessment teams use soil burn severity data to identify if there are areas of concern where increased soil erosion, accelerated surface water run-off, and debris flows have the potential to impact human life/safety, property, and critical natural and cultural resources from storm events.
The BAER team consists of Forest Service scientists and specialists that are considering emergency stabilization options where potential post-fire threats create an unacceptable risk for those critical resources on National Forest System lands. BAER teams share their analysis and findings with interagency cooperators who work with private land and business owners to help them prepare for upcoming rain events.
BAER Team Leader Trevi Robertson said that the team expects erosion and run-off within the Red Salmon Complex fire area to minimally increase as a result of the fire, because only 30% of the burned area experienced moderate or high soil burn severity. In specific areas that experienced moderate to high soil burn severity, there is concern for increased post-fire run-off from steep hillslopes resulting in increases of post-fire soil erosion and debris flows.
The Red Salmon Complex soil burn severity BAER map can be downloaded at the “Red Salmon Post-Fire BAER” InciWeb site (inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/maps/7253) as a JPEG or PDF version under the “maps” tab. Additional Red Salmon Post-Fire BAER assessment information is available at this same website.
A Field Guide for Mapping Post-Fire Soil Burn Severity can help with interpreting the map and can be found online at www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs/rmrs_gtr243.pdf.
SAFETY MESSAGE: 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 areas. Flash flooding may occur quickly during heavy rain events—be prepared to take action! Current weather and emergency notifications can be found at the National Weather Service websites: www.weather.gov/sto/, and www.weather.gov/eka/.