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Post-burn report documents effects of Cedar Creek Fire

Cedar Creek BAER
Forest Service / USDA
An image from the Cedar Creek Fire BAER report

The Burned Area Emergency Response or BAER report for the Cedar Creek Fire was recently completed. It’s an assessment of the damage and ongoing risks to the soil, water, cultural assets, and wildlife in the 127,000 acre burn area.

Fred Levitan is the Willamette National Forest BAER Coordinator. He told KLCC there were places that burned quite hot and damaged the soil, mostly north of Waldo Lake where an old wildfire scar re-burned. “We did suffer fairly significant damage to forest recreation facilities around Waldo Lake," he said. "A lot of those are going to have to be reassessed and reconstructed and the forest is looking at a reimagining Waldo Lake recreation facility program.”

Levitan said there was no loss of facilities around Shadow Bay. He said the effects to the pristine waters of Waldo Lake are expected to be relatively minor and short-term. Any ash and sediment is likely to settle to the bottom of the deep lake, but effects on water quality could linger for two to three years. He does not expect negative affects to the water supply in Oakridge or the Willamette fish hatchery.

The BAER report helps direct post-fire response. For example, it recommends removing hazard trees in and around Waldo Lake, and posting warning signs and monitoring areas where forest roads cross steep, burned hillsides. The Black Creek and Salt Creek drainages are at particular risk of mud and rock-slides.

In some areas, access hasn’t been available for safety reasons. The report says some forest roads remain closed, and will be assessed in the winter or spring.

Fred Levitan
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Fred Levitan speaks at a public meeting in Oakridge

Karen Richards has been a KLCC reporter since the fall of 2012.