SANTA FE, NM – Sept. 2, 2020 – A Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team plans to begin assessing post-fire conditions on the Medio Fire as early as Thursday. With a primary focus on human life and safety, the BAER Team will analyze the fire’s impact, determine any values at immediate risk and recommend emergency treatments.
Led by Greg Kuyumjian who recently headed up a BAER team on the Coronado National Forest after the Bighorn Fire, the Medio Fire BAER Team will use field surveys, satellite imagery and computer models to evaluate the 3,721-acre burned area on the Española Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF).
BAER teams bring together specialists in multiple disciplines, which can include hydrology, soils, biology, archaeology and engineering, to conduct a rapid assessment of potential threats to safety, property, natural and cultural resources, and water quality after a wildfire.
The team will recommend immediate actions focused primarily on minimizing threats to life and safety. Longer-term stabilization and rehabilitation recommendations will be shared with the forest for follow-up at a later time.
Based on the lightning-caused Medio Fire’s location in steep, rugged terrain that includes multiple drainages, including the Rio Nambe and Rio en Medio, the BAER Team will look at increased potential for post-fire flooding, sediment and debris flows, and rockslides.
The BAER Team’s findings will be shared with interagency cooperators, tribal partners, state and local governments, and downstream communities to help them prepare for post-fire impacts.
Although monsoonal-type precipitation in September is not typical for Northern New Mexico, this year’s weather has been decidedly atypical. Residents of communities downstream from the burned area should stay updated on weather conditions that could result in heavy rains over the Medio Fire footprint. Current weather and emergency notifications can be found on the National Weather Service website.