BAER Information: (208) 398-3348
For immediate release
Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Begins on the
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
Wenatchee, WA (October 5, 2012) – The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
assembled an Interagency Emergency Response (BAER) assessment team to gather
information, conduct an analysis, determine the post-fire condition of the
burned watersheds, and recommend emergency stabilization treatments for the
recent Central Washington wildfires.
The interagency team of specialists, including hydrologists, soil scientists,
archaeologists, foresters, engineers, biologists, and geographic information
specialists, is comprised of resource specialists from the USDA Forest Service (USFS),
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS),
National Park Service (NPS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the State of Washington (WA).
The BAER team will generate a report that will identify immediate and
emergency actions needed to address post-fire risks to people, property,
cultural and natural resources. Wildfire can increase the risk of
flooding, erosion and sedimentation, debris flow, reduced water quality,
invasive plants, and falling trees and rocks. The BAER team report will
contain an assessment of watershed pre- and post-fire response
information, areas of concern, values-at-risk, and recommended
short-term emergency stabilization treatments for Forest Service land
that burned during the recent wildfires.
BAER emergency treatment objectives may allow for a more efficient
passage of water to increase protection for infrastructures and
watersheds from accelerated erosion, as well as from the spread of
noxious weeds within the burned areas, and control access in areas where
it is not safe for the public to enter or in areas to allow the natural
resources to recover without additional access impacts.
Hazard tree and rock slide detection and removal along trails and roads
where BAER activities are necessary, and the installation of safety and
informational signage within the fire area may be among the recommended
emergency treatments. Storm-proofing for both roads and trails is
another available BAER treatment that consists of actions such as
removing outside berms, installing critical dips, cleaning debris from
culverts, and the placing of rip-rap rock along drainage routes.
In addition to this emergency stabilization response, the
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest will begin to plan for long-term
recovery management needs that could include salvage, reforestation, and
other resource restoration activities.
NRCS is also working cooperatively with the counties, cities and
communities adjacent to and downstream from the burned areas to evaluate
potential threats to specific businesses, homes, and landowners. Federal
assistance to private landowners is the primary responsibility of the
NRCS through the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program (http://www.wa.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/ewp.html).
Chelan County is sponsoring an EWP grant and will be working with NRCS
to assist private landowners with damage survey reports and recommended
emergency measures (http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb1045263.pdf).
NRCS is coordinating a workshop with Washington State University that
will be held before the end of October that will give private landowners
and business owners more information regarding what actions they can
take to protect themselves and their property. Additional information
for that workshop will be shared with the public when the date and
location is determined.
An Equal Opportunity Provider and
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of
race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex,
marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation,
genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an
individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all
prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require
alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large
print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600
(voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director,
Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C.
20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an
equal opportunity provider and employer.
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