Hydrologists, soil scientists, engineers, biologists, and others comprise the BAER Team. They began working on the Millie Fire this week and have already completed an initial overview assessment. Values identified at risk on the Millie Fire from post-fire conditions include:
· Roads, trails and culverts that may be at increased risk of washing out due to post-fire flooding; and
· Native vegetation and ecosystems that may be at risk from expansion of existing invasive weed populations in the burned areas.
Following the assessment of the Millie Fire the BAER Team, including representatives from the Natural Resources and Conservation Service (to assess the private lands within the fire) will begin a similar analysis for the Pine Creek Fire.
There are a variety of emergency stabilization techniques a BAER team might recommend including re-seeding of ground cover, mulching with straw or chipped wood, construction of dams in small tributaries, and placement of logs to catch sediment on hill slopes. The team also assesses the need to modify road and trail drainage infrastructure including installing debris traps, modifying or removing culverts to allow drainage to flow freely, and adding additional drainage dips and constructing emergency spillways to keep roads and bridges from washing out during floods.
The initial assessment work is completed very quickly followed by the implementation of the recommended treatments. For more information please contact the Gallatin National Forest at (406) 587-6701. Information about the BAER assessments, once available, can also be accessed under the Millie Fire at www.inciweb.org .