Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER)

Wildfires can create situations requiring special efforts to prevent further catastrophic damage after the fire. Loss of vegetation exposes soil to erosion, runoff may increase and cause flash flooding, and sediments may move downstream and damage houses or fill reservoirs, thus putting endangered species and community water supplies at risk.

The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) program addresses these situations with the goal of protecting life, property, water quality, and deteriorated ecosystems from further damage after the fire is out. Concern for possible post-fire effects on fish, wildlife, archaeological sites, and endangered species are often the primary considerations when developing a BAER plan.

BAER Reports for the Umpqua National Forest:

South Umpqua Complex

Umpqua North Complex

Falcon Complex

High Cascades Complex - West Zone

The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) program is designed to address emergency situations that happen after fire burns the forest landscape. Key goals of the BAER program are protecting life, property, and critical natural and cultural resources.

The objective of the BAER program is to determine the need for, and to prescribe and implement, emergency treatments on federal lands to minimize threats to life or property resulting from the effects of a fire or to stabilize and prevent unacceptable degradation to natural and cultural resources.

BAER teams are staffed by specially trained professionals: hydrologists, soil scientists, engineers, biologists, vegetation specialists, archaeologists, and others who rapidly evaluate the burned area and prescribe emergency stabilization treatments. A BAER assessment usually begins before the wildfire has been fully contained.

In most cases, only a portion of the burned area is actually treated. Focus areas include severely burned areas, very steep slopes, places where water runoff will be excessive, fragile slopes above homes, businesses, municipal water supplies, and other valuable facilities. Treatments must be installed as soon as possible, generally before the next damaging storm. Time is critical if treatments are to be effective. Forest employees request Special Emergency Wildfire Suppression funds for the emergency treatments and begin work immediately once the funds are authorized.

BAER Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation

What BAER may do: What rehabilitation may do:
Install water or erosion control devices  
Plant for erosion control or stability reasons. Replant commercial forests or grass for forage
Install erosion control measures at critical cultural sites. Excavate and interpret cultural sites.
Install temporary barriers to protect treated or recovering areas. Replace burned pasture fences.
Install warning signs. Install interpretive signs.
Replace minor safety related facilities. Replaced burned buildings, bridges, corrals, etc.
Install appropriate-sized drainage features on roads, trails. Repair roads damaged by floods after fire.
Remove critical safety hazards.  
Prevent permanent loss of Threatened and Endangered Species habitat. Replace burned wildlife habitat.
Monitor BAER treatments. Monitor fire effects.
Plant grass to prevent spread of noxious weeds. Treat pre-existing noxious weed infestations.