Scientists with the Burned Area Emergency Response Team led members of the media on a tour of the Waldo Canyon Fire area Tuesday morning.
The BAER team includes soil scientists, hydrologists, engineers, archaeologists, biologists, silviculturists, geographic information specialists. They were first assembled on July 5.
The team of scientists began their work even as firefighters continued to mop up smokes and support the repairs of utility infrastructure. Among their priorities is to create a map that will show how severely the soil was burned in the fire zone. They’re also evaluating potential flood dangers.
A flash flood warning was issued for three hours Monday afternoon near the burn scar because of significant rainfall. A warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or already occurring in the area.
Soil scientist Brad Rust conducted field testing to determine how severe the soil was burned and come up with possible solutions.
“If its treatable ground we might do mulching, straw or wood mulching possibly put in bigger culverts."
Rust also recommends that homeowners near the burn area use sandbags to deflect the water run-off from their house. Experts say it could take years to combat flood risks and restore land.
“This will continue to impact this area for at least ten years. I’ve been working the Hayman Fire for a long time and still continue to see elevated flood flows," said Pike National Forest Hydrologist, Dana Butler.
The BAER team specifically focuses their efforts on national forests. They must complete their initial assessment report within seven days after the fire is declared 100 percent contained.