While many lands sustaining wildfire are naturally stimulated and recover to healthy conditions, some catastrophic fire can damage the land, causing threats to human life, property, and biological and cultural resources downstream. In these situations, land managers may decide to apply "first-aid" immediately after the wildfire to help stabilize and repair the landscape.
The USDA Forest Service and Department of the Interior (DOI) agencies use Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) to manage post-fire response actions within a year of a wildfire being contained. These efforts, also known as Emergency Stabilization, prevent further degradation of natural and cultural resources, and protect life and property.
In some cases, DOI may provide additional funding to improve burned areas and achieve desired conditions for up to 3 years after containment. "Burned Area Rehabilitation" (BAR) supports the healing process and provides a "bridge" to long-term recovery. Allocation of BAR funds involves a rigorous and competitive process to evaluate projects. This ensures the needs of greatest concern on DOI lands are addressed first.
Further rehabilitation and maintenance of healthy conditions are the responsibility of local land managers through agency natural resources programs.
To learn more about these programs, and to access technical tools and information about post-wildfire recovery, use the DOI and US Forest Service links on the left side of this page.