Post Fire Watershed Rehabilitation Activities
Incident: Station Fire Wildfire
What is ahead for the Angeles National Forest
The Station Fire is the largest in Los Angeles Countys recorded history and the largest in the history of the Angeles National Forest, which was established in 1892 as the Timber Land Reserve and later changed to Angeles National Forest.
As the Station Fire subsides, the ongoing concern for the forest lands north of Los Angeles heightens. Winter rain within the burned area can pose an ongoing threat to natural resources, life and property. In order to address those concerns ahead of time, the Angeles National Forest has assembled a Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team to assess the damage to the watersheds, soil and natural and cultural resources. The team is comprised of specialists that are highly experienced in conducting rapid watershed assessments and analyses and include soil scientists, hydrologists, geologists, biologists, geographic information specialists, archeologists, botanists, silviculturists, and civil engineers.
The intense heat from wildfires can cause the soil to "seal" itself and water will not easily penetrate it. The water runs rapidly down streams and canyons which could cause potential flooding, mudslides, and debris flows. The BAER Team will assess the post-fire watershed conditions for any potential emergencies and recommend immediate treatments for the National Forest System lands.
The Angeles National Forest provides the Los Angeles Basin with 35% of its water supply. Four watersheds have their origins on the Angeles NF and those watersheds have all experienced different degrees of burn activity within the Station Fire. An assessment of these burned watersheds will need to be undertaken by the BAER Team to determine what methods of treatment will be effective.
Methods used after a fire to help slow the flow of water and mud slides could include erosion control protection measures, road drainage treatments, and cultural heritage resource sites protection.
Another area of concern for the Angeles National Forest is the wildlife that has been displaced. These animals have fled to the communities surrounding the forest. People can expect to see an increase in raccoons, skunks and other animals in their neighborhoods. As the forest cools down, the animals will begin to return to their normal habitat.
The Angeles National Forest will establish a cooperating group that will be able to provide a forum for local cities, towns, county, cooperating agencies; such as Natural Resources Conservation Service, LA Department of Water and Power, and Los Angeles County Flood Control to provide input into the assessment process.