Within 7 days of fire containment, the BAER Imagery Support Program provides satellite images, burn area severity classifications, and other critical data to BAER teams. One of the team's first tasks in the field is to create a soil burn severity map using BARC data provided by the BAER Imagery Support Program.
Questions and Answers about Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Imagery Support and Burned Area Reflectance Classifications (BARC).
The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) program assesses damage to both infrastructure and the environment. Forest lands often provide ecosystem services such as providing clean drinking water for municipal watersheds. BAER teams, assisted by burn severity datasets, identify areas where clean water supplies might be threatened and prescribe treatments to ensure that large volumes of soil and debris do not contaminate the water supply.
A truck moves debris off the road following a flooding event. These types of events are exacerbated by the removal of vegetation and forest duff that both help to absorb moisture into the soil.
Extreme heat and the loss of vegetative cover can cause soils to turn hydrophobic following a wildfire event, meaning they no longer absorb water but instead repel it. Here a Forest Service soil scientist checks for hydrophobicity. Hydrophobic soils can lead to mud and debris flows during heavy rainfall events.
BAER Imagery Support utilizes freely available satellite images such as those acquired through the Landsat and Sentinel missions. By comparing pre and post-fire images, and utilizing wavelengths of light not visible to the human eye, we are able to map the impact of fire on the landscape. In the above Landsat image from the Beaver fire in northern California in 2014, darker colors indicate higher burn severity.
To make a request, please use the link below. If not registered already, you will need to do so. In order to efficiently create your request, please have the fo...
Data for all processed BAER imagery support requests are available here, sorted by year and by geographic region. The BAER Imagery Support program provides a se...