Mountain Express: BAER Team Assesses Post-Fire Treatment Options and There Aren't Many

by

Flames envelope a hillside in the Deer Creek area about a week after lightning sparked the Beaver Creek Fire. Some campsites along Deer Creek may  not reopen for several years. - COURTESY INCIWEB
  • Courtesy InciWeb
  • Flames envelope a hillside in the Deer Creek area about a week after lightning sparked the Beaver Creek Fire. Some campsites along Deer Creek may not reopen for several years.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports this week that Wood River Valley residents should expect to see erosion and mudslides for another three to five years in the wake of the 2013 fire season. That's from the Burned Area Response Team analyzing damage wrought by the Beaver Creek Fire, which through most of the month of August scorched more than 111,000 acres and forced evacuation orders for several area communities.

“There are no treatments that can be utilized to bring this back to pre-fire stability, U.S. Forest Service representative Eric Schroder told a gathering of residents at the Community Campus in Hailey.

BAER teams usually try to implement erosion-control measures before the first heavy rains following a wildfire, but for the Wood River Valley, it’s too late. Thunderstorms last week caused mudslides that buried roads and private property.

Of the area burned by the Beaver Creek Fire, as much as 50 percent—57,000 acres—is moderately damaged, while 9,500 acres are severely damaged. Schroder said the team expects “a much slower recovery time in those areas.”

Campsites along Deer Creek and upper Warm Springs Creek have been inundated with mud and may not reopen for a couple of years.