BAER Findings Reported at Emery County Courthouse

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Carbon and Emery Stakeholders presented the BAERВ (Burned AreaВ EmergencyВ Rehabilitation)В findings this morning at the Emery County Courthouse.

Darren Olsen, Ferron District Ranger of the Manti-La Sal National Forest, welcomed everyone to the meeting and talked about the closed areas and campgrounds.

“We know there is interest from the public to open as soon as we can, but public safety is our main concern,”  reported Olsen.  He said that they will begin to open things up as they get the problems taken care of.

Charmaine Thompson, also with the Manti La Sal National Forest, reviewed what BAER funding can and cannot do. She talked about the resources at risk including: human life and safety, water quality, fish habitat, irrigation diversions, roads and trails, etc.

“Timing is critical, and we need to initiate treatments before too much damage occurs,” said Thompson.  She went on to explain how the very steep slopes cause difficult problems because of it being highly erosive. “This fire happened in the worst of landscapes.”

Seth Wallace, of BAER, then presented the findings of the organization. He reported, “This was a very challenging process that the BAER team was faced with because of the weather and steepness.”

They assessed a variety of different things, including the fire intensity and burn severity, road conditions, wildlife and fisheries, etc. He explained that they will begin to reconstruct washed out portions of the roads, and the process of building up to prevent erosion. He noted they will work on maintenance of trails, weeds, and putting in wood mulch. He also explained how, “The conditions of the roads and different things change with every storm.”

Wayne Greenhalgh, from NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service), explained what they provide on private lands. He explained how they do a lot of the same things that the BAER team does, except they do it on private lands.

John Cross then explained how the Utah Division of Emergency Management can help by providing flood insurance and grants to help fund larger projects.

The meeting ended with a question and answer period for the public, where Seth Wallace told the meeting attendees that “around 1.87 million dollars” would be provided for the area.

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