Burned Area Emergency Response

BAER teams rapidly assess the effects of fire on vegetation, soils and watershed function and develop a plan with actions to stabilize the fire affected landscape and mitigate post-fire hazards. The BAER Imagery Support program tracks fire progression, satellite overpasses/acquisition schedules and generates Burned Area Reflectance Classification (BARC) products for requesting incidents.  The BARC provides a preliminary estimate of burn severity used by BAER teams to assess post-fire conditions, develop a soil burn severity (SBS) product and create a BAER emergency response plan with prescribed treatments for implementation.  BARC data products may or may not be publicly available.  Generally, the SBS data is preferred to share publicly since it has been validated by the BAER team in the field.  In older data or in cases where the SBS was not available, BARC products may be distributed in place of or alongside the SBS.  BAER Teams: use this link to upload incident SBS data.


1 - 7 days after fire containment

Data Available



The primary users of BARC data and related products and services are U.S. Forest Service and Department of Interior (DOI) BAER teams. The BARC increases efficiency and consistency in the assessment process and reduces safety risks to personnel working in the post-fire environment.

Mapping Method

BARC Severity layers are created by first calculating spectral indices from pre- and post-fire satellite imagery that are sensitive to changes caused by fire.  The two images are then subtracted showing the difference between them which is then thresholded into burn severity classes.  Field crews may adjust thresholds based on ground conditions to produce SBS layers.


  • Pre- and post-fire satellite imagery
  • Burn area boundary shapefile
  • Continuous BARC layer
  • 4-class thresholded BARC layer*
    • *Not available post-2011 for USDA Forest Service assessments
  • SBS layer
  • Metadata
  • Visualization products