WHISKEYTOWN Calif. - A burned area response team has started work assessing potential risks and hazards to the environment and people around it following the Carr fire.
The team is made up of scientists in hydrology, soil science, archeology, wildlife biology, forestry, and plant biology, all of them working to assess the damage caused by the fire.
Whiskey town National Recreation Area Spokesperson Matt Switzer told us “the BAER team is out here to do assessments of the park we're looking at everything from soil conditions to vegetation... anything regarding the natural and cultural resources of the park”
The team’s main goal is to evaluate post-fire threats due to flooding, debris flows, and hazard trees, as well as impacts to vegetation and wildlife.
One of the many tests these teams do is to find the underneath soil and then pour water on it... if the water runs off it is hydrophobic.
Soil samples that don't absorb water and are hydrophobic are concerning for run off with potential flood risk and debris flow.
B.A.E.R. team leader Chris Holbeck described why that happens by saying “Soils become hydrophobic because they are super-heated... so the water runs off when the rains come instead of infiltrating.”
The team is also testing for impacts on vegetation and wildlife such as searching for existing root structures that survived the fire.
Holbeck illustrated this by digging just below the surface to show manzanita roots saying “those roots will drive regeneration”
The team arrived on Tuesday, August 14th and in the coming weeks, the group will generate a report with their findings outlining the risks to the area following the burn.
While the group has just started the process the team says that “if we see if there is a problem we will make recommendations to ameliorate those risks.”
While the areas burned looked like scared remains of what came before, in time nature will recover.
Switzer told our team today that “Nature recovers... you know it’s not a fast process but come spring Whiskeytown will start greening up again.”
The team at the Whiskeytown National Recreation area is saying that this will be a long process with the concerns of safety for property and people being the highest priority and that “we want to consider that areas are safe before we take those next steps.”