Burned Area Emergency Response Team prepares for rain on Tonto National Forest

July 8, 2019 - 4:45 pm

A Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team has been working to assess the condition of the watersheds that were burned in the Woodbury Fire. The BAER program is designed to identify and manage potential risks to resources on National Forest System lands and reduce these threats through appropriate emergency measures to protect human life and safety, property, and critical natural or cultural resources.

The BAER team includes hydrologists, soil scientists, archaeologists, wildlife biologists, and other specialists whose work begins with days of field data collection.  The next phase involved completing a values-at-risk assessment for the Woodbury Fire. This assessment will determine and prioritize work within the fire areas fifteen sub-watersheds. The next phase of work will involve modeling and analyzing data work before completing a report that will be given to Forest Service officials.

Wildfire increases the potential for post-fire flooding, soil erosion, and debris flows that could impact recreational areas, homes, structures, roads, and other infrastructure within, adjacent to, and downstream from burned areas. Summer monsoon rains can bring thunderstorms and heavy rain in a short time period, and produce flash floods.

Residents and visitors should remain alert to possible flooding when traveling along roads downstream from the burned areas on the Forest. Everyone near and downstream from the Woodbury burned area should remain alert and stay updated on weather conditions that may result in heavy rains over the area. Flash flooding could occur quickly during heavy rain events. Current weather and emergency notifications can be found at the National Weather Service, Phoenix website: https://www.weather.gov/psr/.

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