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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 343

Once the wildfire is out...

Not snow, but ash covers the landscape of blackened trees
Not snow, but ash covers the landscape of blackened trees

... there's still much to do.

The month-long Piute Fire started June 23, 2008 southeast of Lake Isabella. It was contained the next month, on July 25 at 37,026 acres. Most of the fire burned on SequoiaNational Forest in the Piute Mountains -- but on its east side, the fire burned into the the Bright Star Wilderness on lands managed by BLM-California's Ridgecrest Field Office. These photos are from the BLM-managed lands.

Firefighters approach flames on the Bright Star Wilderness
Firefighters approach flames on the edge of the Bright Star Wilderness
Flames outline a tree

Before the fire was fully contained, a Burned Area Emergency Response Team (BAER Team) gathered in the Kern River Valley to start their work. The team assembled by the USDA Forest Service is accompanied by a BLM resource advisor, who also worked during the fire to plan firefighting efforts on the wilderness lands.

A firefighter trudges through a burned area
A firefighter trudges through a burned area

The BAER team evaluates the effects of the fire, and what needs to be done to rehabilitate "cultural, natural and recreational resources." The team's priority is to look for threats to life and property and recommends treatment to reduce future damage.

Rehabilitation of the area has already been started. This includes repairing bulldozer lines and other damage from the fire fighting effort in the wilderness area  -- called "suppression rehab."The fire also damaged the Pacific Crest Trail, which passes through the area that burned. The BAER Team also plans to rehabilitate that area.

More damage from the fire
More ash among the trees

Toward the end of the Piute Fire, a series of thunderstorms hit the area. Those storms helped to put out the flames -- but also caused flash floods.
Storms that helped put out the fire, also caused flash floods

- Glenn Harris, Natural Resources Specialist, Ridgecrest Field Office served as BLM resource advisor on the Piute Fire.

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 343

Last updated: 08-06-2008