BAER stands for Burned Area Emergency Response, a federal program that addresses post fire effects on public lands. Wildfires can cause complex ecological problems, from severe loss of vegetation and soil erosion, to a decrease in water quality, and flash flooding. The BAER program addresses post-fire emergency stabilization of these and other post wildfire problems, in order to protect public safety and prevent further degradation of the landscapes.
The BAER assessment team composition is determined both by the size of the fire and the nature of values potentially threatened by post-fire effects. Generally, specialists in soils, hydrology, geology, engineering, wildlife, botany, and archaeology assess the fire’s effects and predict the post-fire effects. Each resource specialist brings a unique perspective to the BAER process, to help the team rapidly determine whether the post-fire effects constitute urgent threats to human life, safety, property, or critical natural and cultural resources and to produce an integrated plan to respond to those threats.
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 and property resulting from the effects of a fire or to stabilize and prevent unacceptable degradation to natural and cultural resources. During the assessment stage, the BAER process may identify values at risk on private of other jurisdiction lands, those issues will be communicated to the cooperators. Severely burned areas, steep slopes, places where water runoff will be excessive, fragile slopes above homes, businesses, municipal water supplies, and other valuable facilities are focus areas.
The BAER Team for the Pine Gulch Fire is currently working with the Fire Management Team, local agencies, has began analyzing data, developing projection models, and will begin working with landowners and stakeholders on findings.
Find more information about BAER Teams.