The National Park Service has assembled a Burned Area Emergency Response team to assess the post-fire effects of the Rim Fire on the infrastructure and resources of Yosemite National Park.
BAER teams are formed after major wildfires to assess the post-fire conditions and if necessary propose treatments to ameliorate threats to these resources. Wildfires are a natural part of the Sierra Nevada ecosystem but sometimes wildfires create conditions that threaten natural and cultural resources and infrastructure like roads and structures. These threats include flooding, soil erosion, threats to life and property, habitat loss and other issues.
“Over 77,000 acres have burned within the park, making this is the largest wildfire in modern history to burn in Yosemite, said Chris Holbeck, NPS BAER Team Leader. “For the most part, the fire burned at a moderate to low intensity in a mosaic pattern and should prove to restore forest structure. Yosemite has some of the largest remaining tracts of old growth forests in California, including giant sequoias, we’re working hard to keep it that way.”
The BAER team uses a deliberative, science-based process to assess post fire effects. Resource specialists will conduct assessments, satellite imagery to determine soil burn severity, and computer models to calculate watershed response. The NPS and US Forest Service are working together as a unified team along with other agency and university partners. The BAER team expects to have field assessments completed early next week and a plan available shortly after.