As of 10 a-m on Friday, August 14th, 2020, containment of the Apple Fire is 90%, with much progress made on northern control lines. It has charred 33,424 acres of more than 52 square miles.
Full containment is expected on Monday, August 17th, 2020.
Windy conditions are making pockets of heat more visible. However, the fireline continues to hold against the wind, with most hotspots around stump holes and logs well within the fire’s edge. Firefighters at spike camps in remote areas to the north are monitoring and mopping up hotspots. Extensive suppression repair and backhaul work continues, as crews rehabilitate disturbed areas and pull equipment from the fireline.
Hot, dry, and windy conditions will stay in the area. This elevated fire weather will continue as a high-pressure system moves towards the area this weekend.
There are no remaining Evacuation Warnings in effect.
A Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team will mobilize soon. This team of highly skilled resource specialists addresses post-fire stabilization issues, such as loss of vegetation, soil erosion, flooding, habitat disturbance, and cultural resource management. In the days and months post-fire, the team will implement these recovery strategies on federal land. BAER assessment plans are a cooperative effort between federal, state, tribal, and local agencies. You can learn more about these efforts at the Apple Post-Fire BAER page on InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6939/
APPLE FIRE POST-FIRE ASSESSMENT
A Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team was established by the San Bernardino National Forest to begin a burned area assessment of the Apple Fire which also burned on state, private, and federal lands. The BAER team is being led by Forest Service Watershed Specialist Todd Ellsworth. The team is coordinating with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Bureau Land Management (BLM), USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), National Weather Service (NWS), US Geological Survey (USGS), Cal Fire and other federal, state and local agencies as they assess potential post-fire impacts to the burned watersheds.
Along with the Forest Service BAER team, a California State burn area assessment team will be evaluating burned private lands while a US Department of Interior BAER team will be surveying burned Morongo Tribal land. All three teams will be sharing information and data as they complete their assessments and subsequent reports.
BAER surveys are rapid assessments that evaluate the burned area to identify watersheds having increased potential for post-fire flooding, sediment flows, and rock slides. Since the BAER survey is a rapid assessment to assist land managers to prepare the burned area for the upcoming monsoon rains, the team will focus on potential emergency impacts to life, and safety on National Forest System (NFS) land and share the team’s findings with the responsible downstream agencies.
BAER teams may consist of scientists and specialists including hydrologists, geologists, soil scientists, road engineers, botanists, biologists, archeologists, and geographic information specialists. BAER teams collect data during their burned area surveys to analyze through GIS and computer models and present their findings along with recommended BAER emergency stabilization treatments in a BAER assessment report.
BAER teams utilize satellite imagery and specialist data to analyze and produce a map that shows the levels of burn severity on the watersheds. This is the first step in assessing potential watershed impacts from wildfires to any NFS values that may be at risk from potential increased flooding, sedimentation, debris flows, and rock slides. BAER teams produce a report that describes threats associated with the burned area’s post-fire conditions along with recommended emergency stabilization measures and actions. BAER emergency response efforts are focused on the protection of human life, safety, and property, as well as critical cultural and natural resource values such as the water quality of streams and wetlands on NFS lands.
BAER reports are shared with interagency cooperators who work with downstream private homes and landowners to prepare for potential post-fire flooding and debris flow impacts. Homes or businesses that could be impacted by flooding from federal land that resulted from wildfires may be eligible for flood insurance coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Information about NFIP is available through FEMA at www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program or www.fema.gov/wildfires-you-need-flood-insurance. Other flood preparedness information is available at www.ready.gov/floods at www.floodsmart.gov/.
SPECIAL NOTE: Everyone near and downstream from the burned areas should remain alert and stay updated on weather conditions that may result in heavy rains over the burn scars. Flash flooding may occur quickly during heavy rain events-be prepared to take action. Current weather and emergency notifications can be found at the National Weather Service website: www.weather.gov/sgx/.
Photo from US Forest Service and Inciweb