| The Forest Service BAER team begins evaluating the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon fires according to the BrandNM fire info

BAER Information: 707-853-4243



The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) established a Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team to begin assessing areas of the National Forest System (NFS) affected by the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon fires on the east side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains are affected. Due to the size and sustained active fire behavior of both of these wildfires, the BAER team divided the burned area into phases for assessment and analysis, beginning in the cooler areas of the fire. The team plans to begin their evaluation at the Upper Gallinas Watershed.

After a large forest fire, special measures may be required to ensure the safety of the public and community and to protect critical natural and cultural resources from post-fire events such as soil erosion and flooding. The BAER program uses ground and aerial photographs, satellite imagery and computer modeling to assess conditions and recommend emergency treatments to protect vulnerable assets from further damage.

Information about the Hermits Peak Fire can be found online at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8049/the Kalb Canyon fire on https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8069/and information on BAER ratings of Hermits Peak & Calf Canyon at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8104/.

BAER teams focus on emergency response needed to protect life and safety, property, and natural and cultural resources, including affected watersheds. BAER assessments identify unacceptable risks on states from post-fire threats and help land managers prepare burned areas for potential rainstorm threats. Burnt areas often experience increased soil erosion and runoff from rainstorms.

The Forest Service BAER team evaluating the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon fires consists of hydrologists, soil scientists, road engineers, biologists, botanists, archaeologists, recreation specialists and geographic information systems (GIS) specialists. The first step in the BAER assessment process is to generate pre- and post-fire satellite imagery and data to create a soil burn severity map that provides basic information about changing watershed conditions and potential watershed impacts from the fire. The BAER team’s assessment report will include recommended treatments and emergency stabilization measures.

The BAER team will coordinate and share information from its assessment with other federal agencies, including the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), NOAA National Weather Service (NWS), and the US Geological Survey (USGS), as well as state agencies and local counties and communities working with adjacent and downstream private homeowners, landowners and businesses to prepare for the potential impact of post-fire flooding and debris flows. NRCS is a federal agency with responsibility for post-fire aftercare on private property within and downstream of burned areas.

Homes or businesses that may be affected by flooding on state lands as a result of wildfires may be eligible for National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood insurance. Information on NFIP is available through FEMA at www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-programor www.floodsmart.gov/wildfires. For more information on flood prevention, go to www.ready.gov/floods at the www.floodsmart.gov/.

BAER SAFETY NOTICE: Anyone near and downstream of the burned areas should remain vigilant and updated on weather conditions that could result in heavy rainfall and increased water runoff. Flash floods can occur quickly during heavy rain events – be prepared to act. Current weather and emergency reports can be found at National Weather Service Website: www.weather.gov/abq/.

# # #

About Ellen Lewandowski

Check Also

US News & World Report ranks UArizona among the top 50 public universities

By Nick Prevenas, University Communications today The University of Arizona received several strong marks in …