The Burned Area Emergency Response team (BAER) arrived at the Waldo Canyon Fire last Thursday, and will be focusing their efforts on mitigating post-fire impacts.
The approximately 25-person team is compose of soil scientists, hydrologists, engineers, archaeologists, biologists, silviculturists, geographic information specialists and other professionals from across the nation.
The team will be surveying and assessing the land. The team will produce a Soil Burn Severity Map, identify Values-At-Risk with and downstream from the burn area and will also propose solutions to mitigate the risks of events such as flash flooding and mudslides.
“We have this emergency process. So, what we’ll do is within seven days of 100-percent containment, containment we’ll submit a report and then just about as quickly as we can we’ll start getting contracts and doing work on the ground,” said Dana Butler, BAER hydrologist.
The report will include proposed treatments that range from closing the area in question, felling trees for hazard-removal and erosion control, spreading wood straw to slow flooding water and road improvements.
“What we’re going to use are treatments that have been established and have been tried across the entire nation and we know that there’s a cost benefit to actually doing the land treatments,” said Butler.
The team told KRDO Newschannel 13 they have not determined the treatments that will be proposed for the Waldo Canyon Fire, yet.
Once the report is completed, the team will submit it to the U.S. Forest Supervisor. After it is approved, it will be given to the regional forester. If the cost of the treatment exceeds $500,000, the plan must also be approved by the Washington office.
Once approval is acquired, a second BAER team will move into the area and implement the treatments.
“The most important thing that we all need to be doing in this community is watching the news, watching the weather, being really heads-up whenever we see those dark clouds and just really getting out of the way,” said Butler.