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BAER watershed assessments start on August Complex fire

A Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team has been established to assess potential post-fire impacts to burned watersheds on the August Complex.

Posted: Oct 3, 2020 1:32 PM
Updated: Oct 3, 2020 6:29 PM

WILLOWS, Calif. - Assessment will begin soon on the August Complex South Zone, said representatives from the Mendocino National Forest on Saturday.  A Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team has been established to assess potential post-fire impacts to burned watersheds. Another Forest Service BAER team is tentatively scheduled to begin assessing the North Zone of the August Complex in a couple of weeks.

The BAER team on the South Zone is being led by Forest Service Hydrologist Luke Rutten, National Resource and Planning Staff Officer Kendal Young, and Fishery Biologist Dan Teater. Both of the BAER teams will be coordinating with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); National Weather Service (NWS); U.S. Geological Survey (USGS); the counties of Mendocino, Glenn, Tehama, Trinity and Lake Counties; along with other federal, state, and local agencies.

BAER surveys are rapid assessments that evaluate the burned area to identify watersheds having increased potential for post-fire flooding, sediment flows, and rock slides. The focus is on potential emergency impacts to life and safety on Forest Service land. They then share their findings with responsible downstream agencies.

BAER teams consist of scientists and specialists, including hydrologists, geologists, soil scientists, road engineers, botanists, wildlife biologists, recreation specialists, archeologists, and geographic information specialists. Along with their computer models and finds, they provide recommendations for response actions.

The result will also include a map made from satellite imagery and data they have collected that will show the level of burn severity on the watersheds.

According to the Forest Service, some downstream homes or businesses may become flooded after wildfires. Homes or businesses that could be impacted by flooding from federal land that resulted from wildfires may be eligible for flood insurance coverage from fema's National Flood Insurance Program. CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS

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