Important Facts You Should Know About Post-Wildfire Restoration

As of September 15, 2017, over 8,834,487 acres across the United States have been burned by wildfire, the highest number of wildfire acres burned in year-to-date records kept by the National Interagency Fire Center. The highest total acreage burned in any year on record is 9,873,745, in 2006.

Wildfire is a necessary and important part of a natural landscape, but it is undeniable that some wildfires have harsh and negative impacts on communities, water resources, outdoor recreation resources, and fish and wildlife habitat. In these cases, post-fire restoration can be crucial to prevent further damage and to spur recovery.

Loss of vegetation as a result of an intensely burning large fire can expose soil to erosion. Following such a fire, storm events or spring runoff on denuded slopes can cause ravaging floods and debris flows, which may damage structures, roads, trails, water reservoirs, put community water supplies at risk, and harm critical wildlife habitat. These adverse impacts can continue to occur for years after the fires are extinguished.

As soon as it is safe to do so, sometimes even before a fire is totally suppressed, the Forest Service begins a process called a burned area emergency response (BAER).

BAER is an assessment intended to protect life, property, water quality, important archeological resources, and impacted ecosystems from further damage. If emergency conditions exist after a fire, then, if possible, steps will be taken in attempt to alleviate emergency conditions such as helping to stabilize soil, and to control water, sediment and debris movement.

Learn more here…


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