Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) teams are sent to federal lands following significant wildfires to identify imminent post-fire threats and give recommendations on how to reduce the potential impacts on human safety, infrastructure, and natural and cultural resources. These multi-disciplinary, multi-agency teams enter wildfire-impacted areas almost immediately after the fire threat passes. Their focus is on the direct damage caused by the fire itself, rather than from suppression, and the after-effects
The BAER Team spent 18 days responding to the Carr Fire, one of the most destructive wildfires in California’s history. The fire burned 39,000 acres of the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area’s 42,000 acres. More than 20 specialists from the National Park Service (NPS), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), US Fish & Wildlife (USFW), and US Forest Service (USFS) covered the entirety of Whiskeytown National Recreation Area (NPS) and neighboring Shasta-Trinity National Forest (USFS) and Swasey Recreation Area (BLM). Their findings will be given to the park to assist in deciding next steps to manage these areas and reduce the impacts of identified potential risks.
“Even though the flames are out and the smoke is clearing, there is the potential for further damage when storm clouds form and the winter rains come,” team leader Chris Holbeck said. “Some areas of the fire burned very hot and the scorched soil and lack of vegetation could mean an increased threat of runoff, but the majority of areas burned at a low severity with limited vegetation mortality, much like a prescribed fire.”