Rehabilitation strategies after fire: the California, USA experience
Document Type: Book Chapter
Author(s): Peter M. Wohlgemuth; Jan L. Beyers; Ken R. Hubbert
Editor(s): Artemi Cerdà; Peter R. Robichaud
Publication Year: 2009

Cataloging Information

  • BAER - Burned Area Emergency Response
  • channel treatments
  • erosion
  • hillslope treatments
  • mulch treatments
  • sedimentation
  • seeding
  • soil
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: April 6, 2016
FRAMES Record Number: 15108


Emergency rehabilitation to mitigate the effects of flooding, accelerated erosion, and sedimentation that inevitably follows wildfire has been practiced in California, USA for nearly a century. However, California is a physically and culturally diverse area, and rehabilitation measures that work in one part of the state may not be appropriate in other regions. Rehabilitation philosophy can vary with different land management or hazard protection agencies, and may often reflect socio-political considerations as much as the resources or values at risk. Initial rehabilitation efforts in California focused on seeding burned hillsides and building engineering structures in the stream channels or at the mouths of canyons. Measures were refined, new techniques were developed, and the process was formalized in the 1960s and 1970s, with many agencies adopting Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) programs. Current rehabilitation approaches still include treatments both on the hills lopes and in the stream channels, but also address the problems associated with wildland roads. Many lessons have been learned over the years, but many challenges remain, not the least of which is communicating the vast· body of knowledge and experience both to the general public and to political decision-makers in order to make educated post-fire rehabilitation choices.

Online Link(s):
Wohlgemuth, Peter M.; Beyers, Jan L.; Hubbert, Ken R. 2009. Rehabilitation strategies after fire: the California, USA experience. Pages 511-536. In: Cerdá, Artemi; Robichaud, Peter R. (editors). Fire effects on soils and restoration strategies. Enfield, NH: Science Publishers.

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