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Saturday, September 27, 2008

LPF - Burned Area Emergency Response Report

Forest Service Releases Approved Burned Area Emergency Response Report for Basin Complex and Indians Fires

The Forest Service has released its approved report on the impacts of the Basin Complex and Indians Fires and what steps will be taken on Los Padres National Forest lands to help minimize impacts over the winter. The "Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Assessment" describes the effects of the fires on the land, post-fire threats of concern such as flooding and debris flows, and the emergency treatments planned for National Forest lands to address these threats. The Forest will receive slightly over $1 million in emergency funding to implement the treatments.

BAER is a Forest Service program with the goal of protecting life, property, water quality and deteriorated ecosystems from further damage from flooding and other natural events after a fire. A Forest Service BAER Team was convened in August to assess the entire burn area. Members included specialists in hydrology, soil science, geology, biology, botany, archaeology and engineering. The Team coordinated with local, state and other federal agencies to discuss assessment findings, values at risk and treatment options.

The Forest Service BAER report describes the efforts that will be undertaken by the Forest Service to address Basin Complex and Indians Fire impacts on National Forest lands including the following:

  • Improve culverts and water crossings on selected National Forest lands to improve water flow and reduce flooding and erosion.
  • Do safety treatments on selected National Forest trails to reduce erosion.
  • Coordinate with Caltrans on the installation of debris catchment structures.
  • Conduct woody debris detection surveys at specific locations upstream of key Highway 1 road crossings and other structures at risk.
  • Permit the National Weather Service to place instruments on National Forest lands.
  • Install signs warning forest visitors of hazards such as falling trees, rock slides and flash flooding at critical areas, closed areas and archeological sites.
  • Conduct noxious weed detection surveys to minimize damage to the watershed.
  • Coordinate with local and other agencies in the implementation of treatments and emergency preparedness.

The Basin/Indians Fire BAER report is available in the "Current Conditions" section of the Los Padres National Forest website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/lospadres/conditions.

The Basin and Indians Fires combined burned approximately 240,000 acres in Monterey County of which 198,000 acres (83%) is National Forest land and the remainder is private or non-federal public land. The Forest Service has authority only to treat National Forest land. Local and state agencies and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service will address emergency treatment needs on private and non-federal public lands.

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