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Fire Ecology, 2009
Volume 5, Issue 1

Emergency Post-fire Rehabilitation Treatment Effects on Burned Area Ecology and Long-term Restoration
Authors: Peter R. Robichaud, Sarah A. Lewis, Robert E. Brown, and Louise E. Ashmun
Pages: 115-127
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0501115

The predicted continuation of strong drying and warming trends in the southwestern United States underlies the associated prediction of increased frequency, area, and severity of wildfires in the coming years. As a result, the management of wildfires and fire effects on public lands will continue to be a major land management priority for the foreseeable future. Following fire suppression, the first land management process to occur on burned public lands is the rapid assessment and emergency treatment recommendations provided by the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team. These teams of specialists follow a dynamic protocol to make post-fire treatment decisions based on the best available information using a range of landscape assessment, predictive modeling, and informational tools in combination with their collective professional expertise. Because the mission of a BAER team is to assess burned landscape and determine if stabilization treatments are needed to protect valued resources from the immediate fire effects, the evaluation of treatment success generally does not include important longer term ecological effects of these treatments or the fates of the materials applied over the burned landscape. New tools and techniques that have been designed or modified for BAER team use are presented in conjunction with current post-fire treatment effectiveness monitoring and research. In addition, a case is made to monitor longer term treatment effects on recovering ecosystems and to make these findings available to BAER teams.

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