Skip to main content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Burned Area Emergency Response - BAER

BAER Home | Background

Wildland Fire Leadership Council

Wildfires frequently burn across a variety of publicly and privately owned lands. Responding to the conditions created by wildfires has been the responsibility of individual landowners and managers of the public lands. Approaches to assessing, prescribing, and funding treatments have been widely varied. For several years, federal land management agencies have been working to become more consistent in their response to conditions created by wildfires.

In January 2003, the Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) agreed to common Interagency Rehabilitation and Restoration Program definitions, activity timeframes and funding processes, with the goal that the Forest Service and Department of Interior (DOI) agencies become more seamless in their delivery of emergency stabilization and rehabilitation programs after wildland fires.

At the WFLC meeting it was agreed that the Forest Service and Department of Interior agencies would:

  • Limit initial emergency stabilization treatments to 1 year post-fire.
  • Monitor, using emergency funds, the effectiveness of emergency stabilization treatments for 3 years post-fire.
  • Repair or replace emergency stabilization structures or other treatments for 3 years post-fire where failure to do so would imperil watershed functionality or result in serious loss of downstream values.
  • Fund emergency stabilization and monitoring from an emergency account for tracking purposes, not directly from the incident suppression account.
  • Supplement emergency stabilization funding using the Secretaries’ emergency transfer authority for wildland fire if annual appropriations plus carryover funds are insufficient to implement emergency treatments.
  • Fund rehabilitation treatments for up to 3 years post-fire from a non-emergency, non-suppression, wildland fire account.
  • Not supplement funding for rehabilitation treatments using the Secretaries’ emergency transfer authority.
  • Adopt the Emergency Stabilization & Rehabilitation (ESR)/BAER definitions and timeframes shown below.
Emergency Stabilization Rehabilitation Restoration
Planned actions within 1 year of a wildland fire to stabilize and prevent unacceptable degradation to natural and cultural resources, to minimize threats to life or property resulting from the effects of a fire, or to repair/replace/construct physical improvements necessary to prevent degradation of land or resources. Post-fire efforts (<3 years) to repair or improve lands unlikely to recover to a management approved condition from wildland fire damage, or to repair or replace minor facilities damaged by fire The continuation of rehabilitation beyond the initial 3 years of rehabilitation funding or the repair or replacement of major facilities damaged by the fire. Restoration is funded using appropriated or supplemental funding (for DOI from other than the wildland fire appropriation).