Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
?It's a BAER of a plan!?
Alaska Region, December 10, 2004
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That's not a spelling error, but yet another acronym used by the interagency fire community. BAER stands for ?Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation and Stabilization?. This emergency response has never before been implemented in Alaska, but the vast acres of land burned in the 2004 fires stimulated interest and concern at the congressional level. This concern led to a BAER plan that was developed by an interagency team brought from the lower 48 states to assess the impacts of the 2004 fires. As the name suggests, the teams must determine if we need to rehabilitate or stabilize areas burned last year. The BAER team had their work cut out for them last fall when they assessed 28 of the 51 fires over 10,000 acres in size from the 2004 season. Fortunately, the team identified remarkably few sites in need of rehabilitation or stabilization, but did identify concerns related to the potential introduction of invasive species as a result of equipment brought from the lower 48 states. Because the plan focused mostly on Bureau of Land Management lands and funding was initially targeted at our sister agency's needs, the Fish and Wildlife Service fire staff reviewed and revised the plan to insure adequate funding to address refuge system needs. In 2005, we plan to address trail damage on the Emma Lake Trail on the Kenai NWR; address tree fall problems across winter trails in burns on the Yukon Flats and Kanuti Refuges; evaluate the impact on cultural sites within the Yukon Flats and Kanuti fires; and conduct inventory/monitoring for invasive plants in places where we had equipment and people on the ground during last summer's fires. Additionally, the interagency spring assessment team is expected to evaluate the remaining large fires in early summer 2005.

Contact Info: Kristen Gilbert, 907-786-3391, Kristen_Gilbert@fws.gov
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