Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Inciweb: So Cal BAER Coordination Burned Area Emergency Response

So Cal BAER Coordination Burned Area Emergency Response

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Forest Service and Department of Interior and California State Interagency Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) teams are conducting ground and aerial reconnaissance on the recent southern California wildfires. The BAER teams consist of resource specialists such as Hydrologists, Soil Scientists, Geologists, Biologists and Engineers with experience working on BAER teams throughout California and the Western United States.

A Multi-Agency Support Group has also been established to provide overall coordination for federal and state BAER and damage assessment efforts by facilitating multi-agency coordination and communication, coordinating public information, and providing support to the individual BAER teams. Forest Service BAER teams, a Department of the Interior (DOI) Interagency BAER team, California State BAER teams,and USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) damage assessment teams are working cooperatively to address emergency stabilization needs on a watershed basis across mutiple federal jurisdictions.

One of the first priorities for each BAER team is to finalize a Soil Burn Severity map to determine the pattern of the burn on the landscape. Hydrologists and Soil Scientists refine the initial map received from a satellite image of the fire produced from the Remote Sensing Application Center (RSAC) and by the USGS Earth Resources Observation System (EROS) Data Center. Further modification and revision is expected as more field data is collected and observations are made. The Soil Burn Severity map is critical as it "sets the stage" to assess potential impacts to resources and downstream values at risk. Final Soil Burn Severity maps have been completed for the following recent southern California fires: Buckweed Fire, Grass Valley Fire; Harris Fire, Poomacha Fire, Ranch Fire, Santiago Fire, Slide Fire, and Witch Fire.

SoCal BAER teams are meeting with interagency cooperators to discuss initial issues and potential values and threats such as: Life, Property and Safety. Threats to: 1) people and property; 2) trails, roads and highways; 3) recreation sites; and 4) water systems; and Resources. Threats to: 1) water quality; 2) soil productivity; 3) cultural resources; 4) species of special concern; 5) OHV incursion into fire areas; and 6) noxious weeds. SoCal BAER teams continue to coordinate during the emergency assessment and implementation phases with affected agencies, cooperators and other interested parties.

Weather Forecasting and Flood Information is available from the following agencies:

American Red Cross Flood and Flash Flood News and Tips at,1082,0_240_,00.html

Los Angeles County Department of Public Works at 626-458-5100 and at

Orange County Flood Control Division at 714-834-5618 and at

San Bernardino County Flood Control District at 909-387-7995 and at

San Diego County Emergency Services at 858-694-3900 and at

National Weather Service Forecast Office for Los Angeles Area at

National Weather Service Forest Office for SW California Area at


The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Department of Interior have released the first Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Assessment Reports designed to assist federal, state, and local officials in creating a comprehensive remediation plan and to guide restoration efforts.

BAER Assessment Reports are completed for each fire or group of fires. California State BAER reports being released are the Santiago Fire, Small Fires, and Rice Fire. The Forest Service released BAER reports on the Harris, Buckweed, Ranch, Grass Valley, Slide, Santiago Fires. The Department of Interior report released a report on the Harris, Witch and Poomacha fires. Additional BAER reports will be released as they become available.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALFIRE), U.S. Forest Service and the Department of the Interior deploy BAER Teams to assess the restoration and remediation needs following wildland fires. Reports compiled by the State of California can be viewed by visiting . Forest Service BAER reports can be viewed by clicking on each of the fire name listed in the above paragraph or by visiting the U.S. Forest Service web page at and selecting your Forest from the pull down menu. The Department of the Interior report can also be viewed at

For additional information, please contact the following National Forests for questions regarding specific questions related to Southern California Forest Service BAER efforts: Angeles National Forest at 626-574-5200; Cleveland National Forest at 858-673-6180; Los Padres National Forest at 805-968-6640; and San Bernardino National Forest at 909-382-2600.

Additional Orange County Links: (See Latest News Section) (Disaster Assistance) (Local Assistance Centers)

Resources & Development Management Department: (See Top Left of Page for Link)

Basic Information

Incident Type Burned Area Emergency Response
Cause N/a
Date of Origin 10/27/2007 at 00 hrs.
Location Southern California National Forests
Incident Commander Not available

Current Situation

Total Personnel 100
Size 122,440 acres
Significant Events

As a result of the recent Southern California wildfires, President Bush declared a major disaster for the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is facilitating the federal response with the California Office of Emergency Services (CA OES) to coordinate federal activities with those of the state, local, and tribal government agencies.

To ensure a comprehensive approach and coordinated effort, the state and federal agencies have established a Multi-Agency Support Group (MASG) to coordinate federal and state efforts to minimize the effects of the post-fire flooding, erosion, and debris flows -- and to maximize available resources.

Forest Service and Department of Interior interagency Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) teams are assessing post-fire conditions for eight (8) separate incidents: Ranch, Buckweed, Grass Valley, Slide, Witch, Poomacha, Harris, and Santiago fires.

The State of California - OES has mobilized and deployed additional resources to form five interagency state BAER teams. These state BAER teams will coordinate with the Forest Service and DOI BAER teams to assess burned areas not evaluated by the federal assessment teams.

The US Forest Service's Remote Sensing Application Center (RSAC) and the USGS Earth Resources Observation System (EROS) Data Center is providing remotely sensed maps and initial Burned Area Reflectance Classification (BARC) mapping for all the recent southern California wildfires. This tool assists the BAER teams and helps to prioritize where subsequent BAER teams may be deployed.


Planned Actions

Interagency BAER teams of specialists survey and assess the burned areas and develop emergency treatment plans for the recent southern California wildfires.

After the assessment reports are completed, BAER implementation teams install emergency treatments before the onset of the winter storm season.

Projected Movement

Initial BAER team findings are: hazard trees, rock slides, OHV damage to native vegetation recovery, potential storm damage to existing roads, hiking trails, recreation cabins and campgrounds, reservoirs, water quality and supply, downstream values-at-risk, cultural resources, and the spread of noxious weeds.

Federal BAER team field assessments of values-at-risk are to be completed within seven days of when the wildfire is declared fully contained.

Final soil burn severity maps have been completed for the Buckweed, Grass Valley, Harris, Poomacha, Ranch, Santiago, Slide, and Witch fires.


The Forest Service, Department of Interior, and California State BAER efforts for Southern California are a multi-agency, cooperative, and coordinated effort.

The SoCal BAER Coordination Team is co-located with the FEMA Multi-Agency Support Group (MASG) in Colton, California.

The MASG is composed of FEMA, US Forest Service, US Department of Interior, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, CAL FIRE, CA Department of Water Resources, CA Geologic Survey, CA State Parks, CA OES, Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, Orange County Flood Control District, Riverside County Flood Control District, Santa Barbara County Flood Control District, Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Diego County Flood Control District, San Diego Gas & Electric, and San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board.


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