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Burned Area Emergency Response Team assessing Tunnel Fire damage
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., May 2, 2022 – A Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team began surveying the fire-affected areas within the Tunnel Fire perimeter this past Saturday.
BAER team assessments are rapid evaluations of post-fire conditions of the burned landscape. These assessments determine the level of risk from potential flooding and debris flow, and calculate how these risks will affect both human safety and the natural and cultural resources in the area.
The Tunnel Fire BAER team, led by Forest Service Hydrologist Brendan Waterman, will conduct field surveys, and use science-based models to rapidly evaluate and assess the burned area.
BAER is an emergency program for stabilization work. These time-critical activities aim to conclude before the first damaging storm.
BAER teams typically consist of scientists and specialists including hydrologists, geologists, soil scientists, road engineers, botanists, wildlife and fisheries biologists, archaeologists, recreation and trails specialists, and geographic information specialists, from both 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 treatments to the forest supervisor.
BAER teams analyze the data collected during field surveys to produce a “soil burn severity” map. This is the first step in assessing potential watershed impacts from wildfires to values that may be at-risk from potential increased flooding, sedimentation, debris flows and rockslides.
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 stabilization measures and actions. BAER emergency stabilization efforts are focused on the protection of human life, safety and property, as well as critical cultural and natural resource values.
For more information, please visit the Tunnel Fire BAER InciWeb site at inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8088/.
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