The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland has established a Burn Area Emergency Response team in the past week to start a burned area assessment of the Cameron Peak Fire.
The Burn Area Emergency Response (BAER) team has used surveys as rapid assessments to evaluate the burned area identifying watersheds that have increased potential for post-fire flooding, erosion, debris flows, and rockslides. The team aims to focus on potential emergency impacts on life and safety on National Forest System lands, sharing the team’s findings with their partnering agencies.
BAER teams are made up of scientists and specialists from hydrologists, soil scientists, engineers, botanists, biologists, archeologists, and more. The teams gather data during their burned area surveys and present the findings while recommending emergency stabilization treatments or actions in an assessment report.
The teams use satellite imagery used to produce a map to show levels of soil burn severity on the watersheds. Furthermore, changes in soil properties are the main cause of increased post-fire erosion, flooding, and debris flow potential. BAER emergency response efforts focus on the protection of human life, safety and property, and critical cultural and natural resources like the water quality of the streams in National Forest System lands.
The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland is currently working with cooperators in the area focusing on longer-term recovery needs following the fire. Those who live near and downstream from the burned area should remain alert and stay updated on weather conditions that could result in heavy rains over burn scars with flash flooding possibly occurring quickly in the case of heavy rain.