Coalitions & Collaboratives, Inc.

Post-Fire Resources

After the Fire

After  a catastrophic  wildfire, quick action must  be taken to minimize social, environmental,  and economic devastation. Responsive action requires  navigating a complex maze of diverse landowners, community  organizations, and numerous local and federal requirements.

Given  enough time,  forests eventually  heal from wildfire. But  that healing process can take  decades, or even centuries. They simply  won’t heal quickly without human intervention.  Timely rehabilitation efforts reduce environmental  impacts of fire, and can have a positive impact on  the community’s social and economic situation in the months  and years after the fire. Perhaps most importantly, quick and effective  rehabilitation efforts improve public health and safety.

This  page is  intended to  provide website  links containing  valuable post fire recovery  and restoration information. We  hope it will prove useful in helping  your community establish plans and priorities that  protect its citizens, homes, and essential infrastructure  and resources from the destruction that can occur after a catastrophic  wildfire.

Returning after a fire

Post Fire Websites

Long-Term Recovery

Recovery Structures

The structures presented below are not intended to be an inclusive list and are only provided for informational purposes.  Understanding your fire’s unique characteristics is essential in determining the correct use and installation of the following post fire tactics.

BALN Structure Descriptions

Descriptions of: Zuni Bowl, Log Drop, Rock Dam, Log Diversion, Bank Stabilization, Induced Meander, Head cut Mitigation, Log Mattress, Vegetation Planting, Rundown, Contour Felling, Water Harvesting, Sediment Trap, Flow Splitter, and Directional Felling and Bucking.

Hand Raking

Hand Raking or light scarification is used on severely burned slopes with hydrophobic soil properties that will also be treated by mulching for erosion control, and may also include seeding to reestablish vegetation. It is primarily applicable to areas that are too small for efficient use of large machines, or are not accessible by machines due to slope steepness or presence of obstructions. The soil must be fairly loose to begin with such that it can be tilled with hand tools or a light harrow.

Seeding Fact Sheet

Severely burned sites should be seeded to decrease the likelihood of erosion and sediment movement down slopes, to discourage weed invasion, or to fulfill management objectives. The area to be seed should have adequate soil to support vegetation. Seeding slopes steeper than 60% is difficult, and not especially effective for reestablishing permanent vegetation.

Mechanical Scarification Fact Sheet

Mechanical scarification is used primarily on burned slopes of less than 30% where soils are compacted or exhibit significant hydrophobic properties. Scarification is useful to improve conditions for seeding and mulching. Scarification can improve infiltration if the soil is deep and permeable enough that precipitation can percolate through it once it moves below the soil surface (NRCS Hydrologic Group A & B soils).

Log Erosion Barrier Fact Sheet

Log erosion barriers are used on moderate or severely burned slopes ranging between 20% to 60%, with erosive soils. LEBs are used where erosion rates have increased significantly because of the fire and there are high values at risk downstream. The site must have enough trees of adequate size to meet treatment objectives (at least 60 trees per acre). Soils can be shallow, but not less than about 8 inches. LEBs increase infiltration, adds roughness, reduce erosion, and help retain small amounts of eroded soil on site. LEBs should be effective for a period of one to two years, providing short term protection on slopes where permanent vegetation will re-establish and provides long term erosion control.

Sandbag Barrier Fact Sheet

These barriers are used to protect building sites vulnerable to low mud debris flows from steep, erodible slopes that are partially or completely void of vegetation due to wildfire burns. This is an inexpensive, temporary protection method that can be used by homeowners before predicted rainfall. Sandbags deteriorate when exposed to continued wetting and drying for several months If the bags need to be used for more than a few months, cement can be mixed with the sand. The cement and sand mixture will harden when the bags dry.

Straw Bale Check Dam Fact Sheet

These temporary structures are used to slow debris flow. They are not intended to provide protection from large storm events nor to control debris flows in water bodies such as creeks, streams and rivers.

Contour Wattles Fact Sheet

Straw Wattles should be effective for a period of one to two years, providing short term protection on slopes where permanent vegetation will be established to provide long term erosion control. Contour Straw Wattles accomplish the same treatment as Log Terraces, but require less skilled labor to install and can be placed on the slope more effectively. Straw wattles should not be placed across drainage swales and channels with more than 2 acres of contributing drainage area because they are not sturdy enough to resist the forces of concentrated flows.

Modified Crib Wall

Modified Crib Wall (Mod-Crib Walls) are log structures placed in an ephemeral draw (drainage) to prevent or mitigate a headcut. Mod-Crib Walls intercept storm water running down a slope and trap sediment. They direct the water into the soil protection blankets. Rarely is a Mod-Crib Wall a stand alone structure, they are placed in series.

Hesco Flood Barrier

Hesco sells flood barriers that are easy to install and there is engineering support to install them. Theses structures will be used with critical infrastructure such as roads, cell phone communication towers, and electrical substations.

Erosion Control Mat Fact Sheet

ECMs are used on severely burned slopes that have lost protective vegetative cover. ECMs are expensive so their use is generally limited to small areas to prevent erosion that would otherwise cause significant damage to high value properties. ECMs can be used in conjunction with or as an alternative to mulches. ECMs are not appropriate in all situations.

Rock Check Dam Fact Sheet

Rock Check Dams are used where runoff is concentrated in a drainage way, swale, or road ditch that has lost all its natural protection due to the fire, or will receive increased flow rates as a result of fire in the contributing drainage area. The rock dams will reduce erosion and trap sediment generated from adjacent areas or the ditch itself. Rock Check Dams should be limited to use in open channels that drain 50 acres or less.

Concrete Barrier Wall

These barrier walls are used to protect buildings and other important sites with increased risk of flooding as a result of wildfires within the contributing drainage area. This is an expensive but stout protection method that can be installed quickly with heavy equipment and will last indefinitely. Temporary concrete barriers can be combined with diversion channels or other practices to create a flood/debris protection system.

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