What is the Burned Area Emergency Response on the York Fire?

A desertscape burned including cactus and various vegetation.
Burned desertscape

NPS/Michael Burchette

The York Fire is currently contained. A Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) has been working with Mojave National Preserve and Bureau of Land Management staff to assess the impacts on natural resources, cultural resources, and infrastructure.The scientists and resource specialists of the BAER team were deployed to the York Fire and have been working long days to make the most of their time here. They are in the process of documenting the fire’s impact and providing guidance for the preserve to address hazards, working closely with the preserve’s subject-matter experts. The BAER team members, United States Geologic Survey (USGS) staff, university scientists, and preserve staff are a super-group that will combine knowledge of post-fire effects with knowledge of the preserve’s resources to create a long-term plan for the York Fire area.The first step in the BAER process is to collect data on the fire area and local resources. Preserve staff provided the BAER team with maps and digital data points. These included issues of concern like Joshua tree woodlands, historic cabins, critical tortoise habitat, and areas of environmental concern.BAER specialists spent several days in the field to validate the concerns of preserve staff. The team documented observations and collected data through dozens of photos and measurements. After field validation, the BAER team headed into the office to input data, generate models, and create a long-term plan for the preserve. The team has been meeting daily with preserve staff to collaborate on functional and realistic solutions. In the near future, the BAER team will finalize its treatment plan and present it to the Mojave National Preserve leadership team. Once the BAER team departs, our long-term work will begin as preserve staff begin applying the treatments outlined in the BAER plan.The York Fire will cause long-term changes to the landscape and management of the area. The Burned Area Emergency Response team is providing us focused support that will enable the preserve to rebound from the York Fire as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Last updated: August 29, 2023

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