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October 6, 2017 – The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest has assembled a Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) assessment team to analyze post-fire condition of burned watersheds and to plan emergency stabilization treatments for Central Washington wildfires. The team is currently conducting field surveys and analyzing satellite imagery to develop burned area assessments.

Reports and maps of the burned area assessments will be available soon. There is other general information about BAER, rehabilitation, flood preparation, photos and links to weather and flood warnings available on this site by scrolling down or through the menu links above.

About

The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) program is designed to identify and manage potential risks to resources on National Forest System lands and reduce these threats through appropriate emergency measures to protect human life and safety, property, and critical natural or cultural resources. BAER is an emergency program for stabilization work that involves time-critical activities to be completed before the first damaging storm event to meet program objectives. 

The BAER team is compiling reports that will identify immediate and emergency actions to address post-fire risks to people, property, and cultural and natural resources. Wildfire can increase the risk of flooding, erosion, and sedimentation. Other potential hazards include debris flow, reduced water quality, invasive plants, or falling trees and rocks. The BAER team report will contain an assessment of watershed pre- and post-fire response, areas of concern, values-at-risk, and recommended short-term emergency stabilization treatments.

More Information

2015 BAER
2014 BAER
2012 BAER

Wildfire Reports

Post-fire assessments of burned watersheds and plan for emergency stabilization treatments for Central Washington wildfires will be available soon. Soil Burn Severity Maps are available now at links below.

BAER team’s report summaries and maps for each fire:

Floodwatch

It takes only ten minutes of heavy rain to cause flash flooding and debris flows in burned areas and the lands downstream or downhill of wildfires. Don’t assume you are safe — rushing water and debris, including trees and rocks, can move fast and destroy culverts, bridges, roads, and buildings. Flash flooding can affect sites miles below a burned area and even areas that normally don’t flood.

Central Washington BAER Publications:

Preparing for Rain Storms

Potential Flood Hazards

 

National Weather Service
Post Wildfire Debris Flow and Flash Flood Web Page

Check our STORM WEATHER page for numerous links to customized interactive maps to monitor storm/rainfall conditions in your area.

Don’t let flash flooding catch you unprepared. A large landslide in northwest Washington in March 2014 resulted in multiple casualties. Landslide debris covered about 30 houses and nearly a mile of State Route 530.

If you live (or are visiting) downstream or downhill of a burned area, you should be prepared and be safe. Near the top of your list should be a disaster kit:

  • 72-hour kit with the “5 P’s” – papers, pills (medications), phone, pets, purse (money and I.D.) and important photos.
  • First aid kit and special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members.
  • Food, water, maps, battery-powered radio and a flashlight with extra batteries.
  • Check out the ready.gov list for a disaster supplies kit.

A GUIDE TO FLOOD PREPARATION

The emergency doesn’t end when the smoke clears.
NOW is the time to prepare for post-fire flooding!

The 2017 Central Washington wildfires have altered the landscape in many areas, creating an increased risk of flooding and mudflows. Several factors – including loss of ground cover, steep slopes, and intense rainfall – will increase the risk of flooding within the burned areas and on lands downstream of the burned areas. Until the burned areas begin recovery in the spring, little can stop the waters and mud from coming down the canyons. Reducing the risks to life and property is now the focus of numerous local and state and federal agencies, but area residents should develop plans to protect themselves and their property from the risks of post-fire flooding.

Know what to expect in your area:

  • Stay up-to-date on flood risks in your community.
  • Monitor weather forecasts and be alert for flood watches and warnings.
  • Be aware of the possibility of flooding from rains upstream of your location.
  • Monitor local radio and TV broadcasts for public safety bulletins and flood information from the National Weather Service.
  • Scan NOAA Weather Radio for real-time weather conditions. These broadcasts require a scanner or special radio receiver.
  • Find out whether your community has a flood warning system and how alerts are broadcast.
  • Call your local county sheriff’s office or county emergency services – if a reverse 9-1-1 system is in place, register both your home phone and your cell phone for this service.
  • Monitor the National Weather Service river forecast center out of Spokane.

Reduce the risk of flood damage:

  • Clean your property’s culverts and storm drains of dirt and flood debris.
  • Dispose of refuse only at designated sites.
  • Check with a licensed electrical contractor or your local utility company to find out whether your furnace, water heater, or major appliances should be raised on blocks above the projected flood elevation.
  • Protect your property from flooding:  Protecting your property can require a variety of actions, from inspecting and maintaining the building to installing protective devices. Most of these actions, especially those that affect the structure of your building or utility systems, should be carried out by qualified maintenance staff or professional contractors licensed to work in your state, county, or city.

Prepare a family disaster plan:

  • Keep insurance policies, legal documents, and other valuables in a safe place.
  • Purchase insurance that covers flooding. Update your coverage if needed.
  • Take photos of your belongings in case you need to file insurance claims.
  • Create a plan in case you need to evacuate the area. Make sure each member of your household understands the plan.

Assemble a disaster supplies kit:

  • 72-hour kit with the “5 P’s” – papers, pills (medications), phone, pets, purse (money and I.D.) and important photos.
  • First aid kit and special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members.
  • Food, water, maps, battery-powered radio and a flashlight with extra batteries.

Be prepared for a flash flood:

  • Evacuations may be necessary. You may have only seconds to escape. Act quickly!
  • Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks, and storm drains.
  • Do not drive or walk through flooded waters.
  • Stay away from downed powerlines and electrical wires.
  • Watch out for lost pets and displaced wildlife.

After a flood event:

  • Do not return to your property until it has been declared safe for re-entry.
  • Wash with soap and clean hot water if you come into contact with floodwaters.
  • Notify authorities of road damage, blocked culverts, or other public drainage infrastructure problems.
  • Check the Washington State Department of Health flood info online for more tips and safety guides.

IF YOU LIVE NEAR A RECENTLY BURNED AREA:

Do’s and don’ts from USGS

WASHINGTON STATE INFO:

Washington State Conservation Commission
Washington DNR_fire on twitter
Northwest Coordination Center info

RECOVERY INFO:

Portable Generator Safety
After Fire Toolkit

Storm Weather

National Weather Service
Post Wildfire Debris Flow and Flash Flood Web Page

Hazardous Weather Maps Online

IF YOU LIVE NEAR OR ARE VISITING THE AREA of one of the Central Washington wildfires, you can load this Weather and Hazards site to see the most recently reported rainfall accumulation.

This is an interactive map, and you can adjust the settings on the page to view specific data and displays in the “Overlays” menu at the left of the map. For different displays of rainfall accumulation periods, click on the arrow just to the right of “MesoWest Surface Observations” and then click the “Duration” box to choose a time period.

In the “Display” selection you can see other data (such as temperature and wind speed) reported by in-the-field weather stations. To view all available weather station reports, make sure that “Density” and “Provider” on the menu are both set to “All.”

Current National Weather Service (NWS) hazards and warnings can be overlaid onto the map by clicking the “NWS Hazards & Warnings” box.

To choose which wildfire details you see (and/or turn off the Fire Name labels), scroll down to the bottom of the “Overlays” menu and expand the “Fire Perimeter Information” selection. In “Display” you can edit which year’s details you want to see. To show fire names on the map, uncheck the “Perimeter Only” box.

You can then bookmark any custom map you create by clicking the “Permalink” button above the map — and then bookmarking that link when the page is refreshed.

The Washington State Department of Ecology installed several more rapid-reporting rain gauges and stream gauges in and near the 2015 burn areas to help with flash flood warnings in areas where radar coverage is less than ideal and where life and property are at risk downstream. Listed below are links to NWS web maps that show available rain gauge data near the fire perimeters — data from NWS, RAWS, Dept. of Ecology, USGS, SNOTELs, etc. These links show the fire location and the latest hourly total of rainfall for all available gauges in the area, along with radar data and other details.

2017 Diamond Creek Fire

2017 Uno Peak Fire

2017 Jolly Mountain Fire

2017 Jack Creek Fire

 

2015 Wolverine, First Creek, Black Canyon, Chelan Complex Fires:
go.usa.gov/cDYkF

2015 Okanogan Complex, Tunk Block, North Star, Lime Belt, Twisp Fires:
go.usa.gov/cDYZQ

2015 Stickpin, Renner, Graves, Twenty-One Mile, Carpenter Rd, Tower Fires:
go.usa.gov/cDYnY

2014 Carlton Complex:
go.usa.gov/cDCTz

2014 Mills Canyon, Duncan, Chiwaukum Fires:
go.usa.gov/cDggH

You can change the data display on each map using the table on the left of the map. Use our CONTACT page if you have any questions about changing what the map shows or sources of the data on the map, or if you want help to set up a different bookmark link with other fire perimeters, longer precipitation timeframes, or other details.

Do note that most of these gauges are not winterized, so if snow melts in the gauge, it will report as if it were raining; such gauges can sometimes send inaccurate data in colder temperatures — the primary use for many of these gauges is during thunderstorm season. Also, the amount reported on the map for the duration selected (for example 1-hour accumulation) is for the hour previous to when that gauge last reported. To find the precise timing of the rainfall and when the gauge reported, you can click on a gauge on the map and scroll down below the map for the table of data.

Washington Department of Ecology rain and stream gauges can be viewed on their website: https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/eap/flows/regions/state.asp
USGS rain gauges placed in Chelan County after the 2012 Wenatchee Complex fires can be viewed on their website:
http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wa/nwis/current/?type=precip&group_key=county_cd