U.S. Joint Fire Science Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Fire Science Brief, Issue 93, February 2010


US government work.


After a wildfire is extinguished, the work is not done. In the U.S., many public natural resource agencies immediately begin considering appropriate post-fire steps. The most widely used system is the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) process. The purpose of BAER is to assess the effects of the fire and to make recommendations for appropriate next steps to protect health and safety, to prevent further loss of property or habitat, and to stabilize the fire area to allow revegetation and appropriate future use. Advanced mapping and measurement tools are available and widely used to define and describe affected areas. Another important step is to assess what values are at risk and to what extent finite resources should be used to protect them. Recent work done under a grant from the Joint Fire Science Program studied practices by the Forest Service and the Department of the Interior (DOI). This work developed tools to assist with the values-at-risk (VAR) evaluation. This report explains this challenge and describes the specialized VAR assessment tool that was developed.