Learn about Burned Area Emergency Response after Woodbury Fire

Martinez featured speaker Nov. 13 in 'Fire in the Superstitions' series


The Nov. 13 edition of the fall 2019 SALT Speakers Series will be “Fire in the Superstitions: Burned Area Emergency Response after the Woodbury Fire,” presented by Mike Martinez.

The speakers series is co-sponsored by the Superstition Area Land Trust and the Apache Junction Parks and Recreation Department. Talks are held 6:30-7:30 p.m. most second and fourth Wednesdays October-April in room No. B-117 at the Apache Junction Multi-generational Center, 1035 N. Idaho Road. All are free and geared for the public.

Mr. Martinez is an ecosystem staff officer for Tonto National Forest and led the Woodbury BAER Team, according to a release.

BAER assessment plans and implementation are a cooperative effort between multiple federal agencies along with various state and local entities. Teams are staffed by specially trained professionals: hydrologists, soil scientists, engineers, biologists, vegetation specialists, archeologists and others, who rapidly evaluate the burned area and prescribe emergency stabilization treatments, according to the release.

A BAER assessment usually begins before the wildfire has been fully contained. Within seven days of fire containment, the BAER Imagery Support Program provides satellite images, burn area severity classifi-cations and other critical data to BAER teams. One of the team's first tasks in the field is to create a soil burn severity map using data provided by the BAER Imagery Support Program. Vegetation condition is classified as high, moderate, low and unburned, the release states.

Mr. Martinez will discuss the BAER Team’s findings and recommendations for the Woodbury Fire. This will include the extent of post-Woodbury hydrophobic soils that are resistant to absorbing water, thus increasing risk of flooding and the ability of the Tonto to provide ecosystem services --- and what that is.

Mr. Martinez has a bachelor os science degree in renewable natural resources from the University of Arizona. He then spent more than 19 years with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a fish and wildlife biologist before moving to Tonto National Forest in January 2017.

The series will continue Nov. 20 and Dec. 11. Topics still to come include how the various ecosystems and plant life were impacted and are expected to recover; and how wildlife were directly affected by the Woodbury Fire and will continue to be over the next several decades.

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