Initial Burned Area Emergency Response Assessment Released for the 416 Fire

A Forest Service team consisting of hydrologists, wildlife/fisheries biologists, soil scientists, engineers, archeologists and weed specialists have released the findings for the initial burned area assessment for the 416 Fire.  The assessment focuses on 1) identifying values at risk, 2) mapping burned severity of soils, 3) determining where post-fire precipitation events could increase runoff, flooding, erosion and sediment delivery, and 4) where high-risk areas are for the spread of invasive weeds. 

The following table displays the burn severity for the initial report


Burn Severity


Percent of Fire area




Low Severity



Moderate Severity



High Severity



Areas identified as having a high probability of increased erosion include Tripp Gulch and Dyke Canyon.  Areas for concern for debris flows that may affect private land are the south-eastern section of the 416 Fire near Falls Creek and Bell Canyon.  Debris flows are expected in the main Hermosa drainage, but will likely dissipate due to the low gradient of the channel. 

Options for reducing post-fire peak stream flows, soil erosion, and debris flow potential are limited due to the nature of the burn, rugged topography and slope characteristics.  As a result, treatment recommendations focus on mitigation measures to minimize loss of life and damage to values at risk.  These mitigations include area closures, warning signs, and public safety approaches such as installation of an early warning system to notify area residents and users when damaging storms may be approaching.

Other factors of concern include impacts to native trout populations, the high potential for roads and trails to erode and high risk for invasive weed infestation.  A summary of the report is available on the San Juan Website or on the La Plata County Facebook page. For more information please contact Gretchen Fitzgerald (970) 385-1219.

416 Fire Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Executive Summary



USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.