Shirley Fire contained, BAER begins

Release Date: Jun 21, 2014  

Now that the Shirley Fire is 100% contained, the USDA Forest Service (USFS) and DOI Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will work together to mitigate post-fire threats to people and the ecosystem. The two agencies use Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) to manage post-fire response actions after a wildfire is contained. This emergency stabilization effort prevents further degradation of natural and cultural resources, and addresses post-fire situations with the goal of protecting life, property, water quality, and deteriorated ecosystems from further damage. While many lands sustaining wildfire are naturally stimulated and recover to healthy conditions, some catastrophic fire can damage the land, causing threats to human life, property, and biological and cultural resources downstream. In these situations, land managers may decide to apply "first-aid" immediately after the wildfire to help stabilize and repair the landscape.

Multi-agency and multi-discipline resource specialists comprise the BAER team and will prepare post-fire watershed responses after assessing landscape issues caused by both the wildfire and fire suppression efforts. The team consists of hydrologists, soil scientists, geologists, geographic information system (GIS) specialists, archaeologists, botanists, wildlife specialists, and trail specialists.

Loss of vegetation from the fire exposes soil to erosion, and runoff may gain velocity and cause flash flooding. The sediment may move downstream and damage houses, fill reservoirs, or put wildlife and community water supplies at risk. The Shirley Fire burned through the Tillie Creek and Rattlesnake drainages. The BAER team will evaluate and recommend actions in these drainages to mitigate against potential issues.

To learn more about these programs, and to access technical tools and information about post-wildfire recovery, please visit http://www.nifc.gov/BAER/. If you would like more information about the Shirley Fire BAER work, please contact Public Affairs Officer Cody Norris at csnorris@fs.fed.us or at 760-376-3781 ext. 635.Charred manzanita and pine stand atop ash covered ground