Monday, August 13, 2018

POST WILDFIRE ACCESS - Avoid Economic Impact to Local Communities

Alert Public to Post Fire Hazards

Extreme wildfires have both immediate and long-term impacts on OHV recreation. They can destroy  trail delineators, signs, viewsheds, kiosks, and campground facilities.  Costly soil erosion and water quality-related trail structures can often be obliterated by dozers blading fire lines around the blaze.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, “…  many lands sustaining wildfire are naturally stimulated and recover to healthy conditions, some catastrophic fire can damage the land, causing threats to human life, property, and biological and cultural resources downstream. In these situations, land managers may decide to apply "first-aid" immediately after the wildfire to help stabilize and repair the landscape.

The USDA Forest Service and Department of the Interior (DOI) agencies use Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) to manage post-fire response actions within a year of a wildfire being contained. These efforts, also known as Emergency Stabilization, prevent further degradation of natural and cultural resources, and protect life and property.

In some cases, DOI may provide additional funding to improve burned areas and achieve desired conditions for up to 3 years after containment. "Burned Area Rehabilitation" (BAR) supports the healing process and provides a "bridge" to long-term recovery. Allocation of BAR funds involves a rigorous and competitive process to evaluate projects. This ensures the needs of greatest concern on DOI lands are addressed first.

Further rehabilitation and maintenance of healthy conditions are the responsibility of local land managers through agency natural resources programs.

Caution Signs - Post Fire Management Tool

A recent main stream media story (see link below) also illustrates that loss of road and trail access can have a devastating impact to the local community’s culture and economy.


QWR understands that land agencies are faced with a lot of difficult decisions on how to recover the land after the wildfire has been put out and that temporary closures can be an important tool for when a bridge or road is washed out. 

Post Fire Trail Management Tool

However, given the important role that outdoor recreation has as a critical economic driver in many rural areas, QWR believes that land agencies should avoid - if possible - landscape level closures of the burn area and work with various partners in post-fire recovery planning and implementation of subsequent “first aid” travel and resource management prescriptions that are focused on reopening affected areas in a timely manner so as to avoid prolonged impacts to recreation access and local communities.  

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