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Brian McInerney. National Weather Service. Hydrologist. AMS Presentation on BAER. October 29th, 2009. What is BAER?. Burn Area Emergency Response. Mud Flow, Debris Flow, Landslide. Mud Flow is filled with clays, silt, and other fine grained debris

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Brian mcinerney

Brian McInerney

National Weather Service

Hydrologist

AMS Presentation on BAER

October 29th, 2009


What is baer

What is BAER?

Burn Area Emergency Response


Mud flow debris flow landslide

Mud Flow, Debris Flow, Landslide

  • Mud Flow is filled with clays, silt, and other fine grained debris

  • Debris flow is filled with larger material like boulders, trees

  • It looks like wet cement

  • Landslides are slow moving and very deep.

  • Cracking cement, indoor plaster walls, and shifting landscapes are signs of landslides


Why do they form baer teams

Why do they form BAER Teams?


Baer teams

BAER Teams

  • Determines burn severity

  • Effects on Watershed

  • Identifies vulnerable areas

  • Identifies values at risk

  • Identifies debris flow potential


So how does one become a baer team member

So how does one become a BAER Team member?


Brian mcinerney

Seasoned Firefighter

New Guy


Let s review

Let’s Review


Brian mcinerney

Seasoned Firefighter

Weather Forecaster


Red card qualification

Red Card Qualification

  • Pack Test

    • 45 lbs 3 miles in 45 mns

  • Old Pack Test

    • Run 2 miles in 20 mns

    • Step Test

  • Physical fitness is a big deal

  • It’s important to be able to hike all day


Fire behavior classes required

Fire Behavior Classes Required

  • A multitude of fire behavior classes are required

  • Training sessions are also part of the curriculum

  • I had experience in fire fighting in a past life

    • Firefighter during the 1986 Yellowstone fire


So why is a weather service employee part of a baer team

So Why is a Weather Service Employee part of a BAER Team?


We warn for debris flows

We warn for Debris Flows

  • The reality of it is that people can die from these events

  • Debris flows occur often times on alluvial fans

  • More and more homes are built on alluvial fans


We needed to learn more

We Needed To Learn More

  • What better way than to survey the burn scar with other physical scientists

  • We can also impart info on rainfall intensities, volume, location and areal extents

  • We gain insight as to rainfall intensity and volume which produce debris flows


Recent debris flows

Recent Debris Flows


Farmington debris flow april 6th 2004

Farmington Debris FlowApril 6th, 2004

  • Debris flow damaged multiple homes

  • On the initial assessment, I was told that they did not need a weather forecast and told me to go home

  • No one was injured or hurt

  • Hour lead time on flash flood warning

  • Almost had nervous breakdown


Santaquin debris flow september 12 2002

Santaquin Debris FlowSeptember 12, 2002

  • Debris flow damaged 20 homes with 3 knocked off foundations

  • Toured burn scar with Utah Geologic Survey Geologists

  • Learned a great deal about debris flows

  • Briefed Santaquin City at Town Hall Meeting

  • Mayor cried at meeting


Spring lake burn july 26th 2004

Spring Lake BurnJuly 26th, 2004

  • Debris flow damaged 2 homes and filled irrigation canal

  • Escorted visitor to burn site

  • Shirt was too small

  • Pants too big

  • Woman who lived in house destroyed was cleaning off furniture with Windex


Corner canyon debris flow june 17th 2009

Corner Canyon Debris FlowJune 17th, 2009

  • Debris flow damaged 4 homes with serious damage to one

  • Worked with BAER team regarding debris flow potential

  • Hiked watershed and gained a very good understanding of burn severity, intensity, and hydrophobicity.

  • Briefed 120 members of the community, some of whom thought I was alarmist

  • Flash Flood Warning with 0 lead time


Corner canyon debris flow

Corner Canyon Debris Flow

Burn Scar Perimeter

Debris Flow Path

Drainage Basins


Debris flow damage area

Debris Flow Damage Area

Debris Flow Path

Burn Perimeter


Corner canyon debris flow1

Corner Canyon Debris Flow

Area of heaviest rainfall

Large trench eroded here

USFS Debris Fences here

Photo compliments of the UGS


Antecedent june rainfall amounts prior to debris flow

Antecedent June Rainfall Amounts Prior to Debris Flow

~3-4 inches of rain

~400% of normal


Area that produced debris flow one hour frequency estimate

Area That Produced Debris FlowOne Hour Frequency Estimate

0.60 inches of rainfall in

1 hour occurs statistically at least once every 2 years or so over this area.


Radar rainfall reflectivity image

Radar Rainfall Reflectivity Image

Burn Scar


One hour precipitation loop

One Hour Precipitation Loop


Rainfall analysis of debris flow basin

Rainfall Analysis of Debris Flow Basin

Rainfall analysis at origin of Debris Flow

Instantaneous Rainfall Rate of near 0.80 inches per hour at time of debris flow

Radar estimate of 0.60 inches


Rainfall analysis of basin just north of debris flow

Rainfall Analysis of Basin Just North of Debris Flow

Rainfall analysis of basin just to North of Debris Flow

Instantaneous Rainfall Rate of near 2.00 inches per hour at time of debris flow

Radar estimate of 1.00 inch


Mill flat burn

Mill Flat Burn

  • Near New Harmony, Utah

  • Very steep slopes

  • High Burn Severity

  • High Burn Intensity

  • Areas of Hydrophobicity


Mill flat fire

Mill Flat Fire


Alert weather station survey

Alert Weather Station Survey

  • Find proper location for Alert Weather Station (RAWS gage)

  • Line of Sight Radio Transmission

  • Upper drainage location

  • Accessible


Transects

Transects

  • 10 Steps

    • Bare Ground

    • Rock

    • Vegetation

  • At the end of the 10 steps take hydrophobicity test

  • 10 Steps again

    • Bare GrondRock

    • Vegetation

  • Result is a survey of the slope in question

  • Hike to another drainage and continue the survey


Where is the ship going

Where Is The Ship Going?

  • After the helicopter flew us to the top of the range, then took off without us, I felt sad

  • A very long day with 9 hours of surveys, hiking, and climbing

  • Descend 3000 ft. from summit area to New Harmony

  • As hard as these things are, it’s the best way to obtain data, and understand


Thanks everyone

Thanks Everyone


Questions

Questions?


Contact information

Contact Information

Brian McInerney801.971.2033 [email protected]


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