Sustain Our Nation's Forests and Grasslands

Burned Area Emergency Response team begins post-fire assessment


Members of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest BAER Team Assess Soil Condition for South Sugarloaf Post-Fire Assessment. USDA Forest Service photo by Naaman Horn.

NEVADA – Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest assembled a Burned Area Emergency Response Team to gather information on the recent South Sugarloaf Fire. The BAER Team will conduct an analysis, determine the values at risk on National Forest System lands caused by the post-fire conditions and recommend emergency treatments.

The BAER team consists of scientists and specialists including hydrologists, geologists, soil scientists and engineers. The team will use field surveys, remote sensing data (e.g., satellite imagery) and science- and economic-based models to rapidly evaluate and assess the burned area. The 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 on NFS lands.

Some of the impacts from the fire that may be addressed include increased risk of flooding, erosion, sedimentation, debris flows, new or expanded invasive plant infestations and falling trees and rocks. Other treatments could include controlled public access in areas to prevent unnecessary safety risks. Depending on the findings of the report, additional treatments may be considered at a later time. Where the possible impacts to values-at-risk on NFS lands are severe enough and highly likely to occur, the BAER Team will make recommendations on short-term emergency stabilization treatments to mitigate or eliminate the expected impacts.

BAER emergency treatments may allow for more efficient passage of water to increase protection for infrastructures and watersheds from accelerated erosion, as well as improving roads and trails drainage features by removing outside berms, installing critical dips and cleaning debris from culverts to prevent damage from post-fire runoff.

Ranger district and BAER team representatives met with the Shoshone-Paiute of the Duck Valley Tribal Council, scheduled meetings with affected grazing permittees. They are also holding a series of public meetings. 

Over the next year, the district will continue to assess the need for additional resource protection or infrastructure repair that cannot be addressed through BAER or suppression repair authorities.

Other steps the forest is taking include installation of a remote weather station for improved forecasting and working with Natural Resources Conservation Service and Farm Service Administration to ensure private landowners affected by the fire are made aware of the various emergency-assistance programs available. Click on the following links for more information NRCS programs and FSA programs.   


A member of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest BAER Team Assess Soil Condition for South Sugarloaf Post-Fire Assessment. USDA Forest Service photo by Naaman Horn.