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RAW: Fire near Bodie 100 percent contained but local smoke increasing due to Rim Fire

August 27, 2013

The 14,300-acre Spring Peak Fire near Bodie was declared 100 percent contained on Tuesday, Aug. 27, according to fire management officials. The fire did not burn any structures in the state park, but it did cause the road to Bodie to be closed for a few days last week.

According to officials Tuesday, "crews were able to complete the last of the containment lines around the perimeter of the fire. This allows the fire to be called 100 percent contained."

Now, a news release states, the main issue is to address the aftermath of the fire. Loss of vegetation exposes soil to erosion; runoff may increase and cause flooding, sediments may move downstream, fill reservoirs, and put endangered species and community water supplies at risk.

The Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) program addresses these situations with the goal of protecting life, property, water quality, and deteriorated ecosystems from further damage after the fire is out, a news release states. This includes rehabilitating fire lines, roads, trails, base camps, fixing fences, or any other physical feature that was damaged by efforts to put the fire out.

The second rehabilitation task is on a much larger scale than fire suppression rehabilitation, the news release states. The BAER effort uses a variety of resource experts to make an assessment of the effects of the fire on the soils, the watershed, the wildlife, the fish, and the vegetation in the fire area.

After the area is assessed, the BAER team proposes a set of alternative prescriptions in the form of a rehabilitation plan to local Forest Service officials to minimize the effects from the fire to resources and life and property within and directly adjacent to the fire. The prescriptions can include such activities as seeding, hay mulch, and vegetation planting that are designed specifically to meet resource objectives, such as minimizing erosion.

As the Spring Peak Fire winds down, smoke in the area is increasing due to the Rim Fire in the Yosemite area, the news release states. Residents are urged to take precautions to avoid health problems related to the smoky conditions caused by that fire.

Examples of precautions include: limiting outdoor activities and remaining in an air-conditioned environment if possible; if you do not have an air conditioner and if smoke is likely to get inside your house, leave the area until the smoke is completely gone; avoid activities that put extra demand on your lungs and heart; contact your medical provider if you are concerned or your health gets worse. Smoke may worsen symptoms for people who have heart or lung disease, or other pre-existing respiratory conditions such as respiratory allergies, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). When smoke levels are high enough, even healthy people may experience some of these symptoms.

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