Forest Service completes assessment of Medio Fire impact

New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team assigned to the Medio Fire on the Santa Fe National Forest completed a rapid assessment of the fire’s effects. The assessment included information on the potential for post-fire flooding, erosion, and sedimentation. The primary focus of the report was on immediate risks to human life and safety.

The team used satellite imagery to map the burn severity of the approximately 4,000-acre Medio Fire. Nearly half of the fire’s acreage (approximately 49%) burned at low severity, with 16% at high severity and 14% at moderate severity. The remaining 21% of the footprint, including 24 acres of rock outcrop, was unburned.

Since the fire happened during the SFNF’s typical spring fire season, “the probability of the monsoonal rainfall that usually causes the most severe post-fire flooding is much lower,” Acting Forest Supervisor Debbie Cress said. Cress added that due the team’s analysis, they’re anticipating minimal immediate effects from the fire.

The BAER Team’s runoff analysis indicates that approximately 1,187 acres, 30% of the fire area, has high potential for post-fire runoff. Preliminary estimates indicate that a typical summer thunderstorm over this area after the medio Fire would produce a peak flow five times great than the same amount of rain prior to the fire.

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