Verde Valley News – The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team, ordered to assess damage caused by recent wildfires on the Coconino National Forest, is concluding assessments of Pipeline Fire damage and moving on to the Haywire Fire.
The BAER team, led by Forest Service Soil Scientist Eric Schroder, will spend today and Tuesday analyzing the need for any post-fire emergency stabilization actions that could reduce post-fire risks to critical BAER values.
Critical BAER values located within the perimeter of the Pipeline Fire include Forest Service-owned property, such as campgrounds, roads and trails; natural resources such as soil productivity and hydrologic function; threatened and endangered species habitat; native plant communities; and cultural resources. Human life and safety is always a critical BAER value.
The team is also compiling a BAER assessment report, which details watershed pre- and post-fire response information; areas of concern for human life and safety; natural resources; cultural resources; property; and recommended short-term emergency stabilization actions for federal lands that are at risk. In most cases, only a portion of the burned area will be treated.
Following analysis, the Pipeline Fire BAER team will present findings, as well as treatment recommendations, to Coconino NF leadership.
Timely implementation is critical for effective BAER emergency response actions. Should treatments be approved, the goal is to implement treatments as soon as possible. The BAER assessment team coordinates with other federal and local agencies, such as Coconino County, that may assist private landowners in preparing for increased run-off and potential flooding.
While the BAER team concludes work within the Pipeline Fire perimeter, it is also beginning to assess soil burn severity within the burned area of the Haywire Fire. BAER teams conduct field surveys to produce soil burn severity maps, which assess potential watershed impacts from fires. Potential impacts – such as increased flooding, sedimentation, rock slides and debris flows – may threaten values at risk.