National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Post Wildfire Recovery Programs

PWRP decorative banner: photos depicting PWRP position.


Wildfire Rehabilitation Efforts and Treatment Selection

There are three phases of rehabilitation following wildfires on federal lands:

  1. Fire Suppression Damage Repair
  2. Emergency Stabilization – Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER)
  3. Long-Term Recovery and Restoration

Fire Suppression Damage Repair

A series of immediate post-fire actions taken to repair damages and minimize potential soil erosion and impacts resulting from fire suppression activities and usually begins before the fire is contained, and before the demobilization of an Incident Management Team. This work repairs the hand and dozer lines, roads, trails, staging areas, safety zones, and drop points used during fire suppression efforts.

Emergency Stabilization – Burned Area Emergency Response

A rapid assessment of burned watersheds by BAER team is conducted to identify imminent post-wildfire threats to human life and safety, property, and critical natural or cultural resources on federal lands and take immediate actions to implement emergency stabilization measures before the first major storms. Fires result in loss of vegetation, exposure of soil to erosion, and increased water runoff that may lead to flooding, increased sediment, debris flow, and damage to critical natural and cultural resources. BAER actions such as: seeding, mulching, installation of erosion and water run-off control structures, temporary barriers to protect recovering areas, and installation of warning signs may be implemented. BAER work may also replace safety related facilities; remove safety hazards; prevent permanent loss of habitat for threatened and endangered species; and prevent the spread of noxious weeds, and protect critical cultural resources.

Long-Term Recovery and Burned Area Rehabilitation

In some cases, DOI may provide additional funding to improve burned areas and achieve desired conditions for up to five 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 to ensure the most critical areas receive treatment first.

These are non-emergency actions to improve fire-damaged lands that are unlikely to recover naturally and to repair or replace facilities damaged by fire that are not critical to life and safety. This phase may include restoring burned habitat, reforestation, other planting or seeding, monitoring fire effects, replacing burned fences, interpreting cultural sites, treating noxious weed infestations, and installing interpretive signs.

Rehabilitation Activities

What BAER May Do What BAER May Not Do
Install water or erosion control devices ---
Plant for erosion control or stability reasons. Replant commercial forests or grass for forage.
Install erosion control measures at critical cultural sites. Excavate and interpret cultural sites.
Install temporary barriers to protect treated or recovering areas. Replace burned pasture fences.
Install warning signs. Install interpretive signs.
Replace minor safety related facilities. Replace burned buildings, bridges, corrals, etc.
Install appropriate-sized drainage features on roads, trails. Repair roads damaged by floods after fire.
Remove critical safety hazards. ---
Prevent permanent loss of threatened and endangered habitat. Replace burned wildlife habitat.
Monitor BAER treatments. Monitor fire effects.
Implement early detection and rapid response treatments to minimize the spread of noxious weeds into native plant communities Treat pre-existing noxious weeds

Post-Fire Rehabilitation Activities on Federal Lands

NEED HEADER Suppression Activity Damage Repair Emergency Stabilization (BAER) Rehabilitation (BAR) Restoration
Objective Repair damages Prevent/minimize damages Repair damages Repair/restore damages
Damages related to Fire suppression Post-fire events Fire Fire
Urgency Before incident closeout 1-12 months 1-3 years 3+ years
Funding type Fire operations (suppression) Fire operations (emergency stabilization) DOI-Rehab, USFS- Regular program Regular program


Policy and Authorities

Source: Federal Government, General
Category Key Words (field will be hidden) Source
Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book) Policy and Authorities Federal Government, General
Federal Wildland Fire Qualifications Supplement Policy and Authorities Federal Government, General
Source: USDA, Forest Service
Category Key Words (field will be hidden) Source
Forest Service Manual 2520 BAER Policy and Authorities USDA, Forest Service

For More Information

Contact Information here

See also NIFC BAER website.


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