Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER)

The Review Process

The assessment of a burned area includes a review of existing resource documents and management plans. Prior to conducting field reviews, the team will be briefed by the local unit regarding the fire and known values at risk. Maps are used to identify structures and infrastructure within and downstream of the burned area. Each BAER team member consults appropriate references (such as databases, maps, and inventories) to identify additional values at risk.

Soil-resource and ecological-unit inventories provide baseline information on soil characteristics, including erosion potential, slope class, soil texture, and management limitations. Review of hydrologic records, including historic records of magnitude and duration of events, frequency curves, flood history, and records of past wildfires--help the hydrologist understand a watershed’s response to fire. The access and travel management plan and road management objectives, which are products of the roads analysis process, provide information on roads including jurisdiction, maintenance level, and resource concerns.

Next, the field review focuses on the fire’s effect (i.e., changes in vegetation cover and watershed response) and identifies potential values at risk. The BAER team specialists look at: