BAER Team Members Assessing The Bagley Fire Area
Incident: Bagley Wildfire
Wildland fires can contribute to watershed health in a good way or can severely damage the affected resources for years to come. A USDA Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team has begun conducting field reviews of watershed conditions created by the 46,011-acre Bagley Fire, which burned four miles west of Big Bend in the Shasta Trinity National Forest.
The team members will evaluate resource conditions, develop appropriate treatments, and prioritize areas for treatment based on risk to valued resources. Team members are considering what actions may be implemented to reduce additional damage from runoff due to rain or other weather events. The team will coordinate proposed treatments with appropriate local jurisdictions.
"While many wildfires pose few threats to the land or people downstream, some fires cause damage that requires special efforts to reduce problems later," said Team Leader Brad Rust. "Loss of vegetation exposes soil to erosion and increases runoff. Increased water runoff may cause flooding, which may put infrastructures such as roads and natural resources at risk."
The BAER program is designed to address these emergency situations through its key goals of protecting life, property, and critical natural and cultural resources. Success is always contingent upon the magnitude and timing of natural events that may occur following treatment.
BAER teams are staffed by professionals who conduct on-the-ground analysis and use science-based models to rapidly evaluate the burned area and prescribe emergency stabilization treatments. A BAER assessment sometimes begins before the wildfire has been fully contained, as with the Bagley Fire.