We all watched in horror as our beloved Columbia Gorge burned last year. Within days of firefighters gaining control of the Eagle Creek Fire in mid-September 2017, scientists and specialists were quickly dispatched to investigate the extent of the damage. Members of a U.S. Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team explored the impacted area to assess potential threats to human health and safety, concerns for damage to property, and potential impairment to natural or cultural resources, including the likelihood of future hazards like flooding and landslides. Steven Sobieszczyk joined that team as a BAER trainee. At this Science on Tap, hear his story about the results of those working on the science behind the Eagle Creek Fire response.
Steve is a Hydrologist at U.S Geological Survey. He has degrees in landslide engineering geology and geographic information systems (GIS). He began his career with a brief stint at NASA before moving out west to model landslide and seismic hazards in northern California. Steve eventually settled in Portland, OR, in 2002 and has been studying watersheds in Oregon ever since. His interests focus on all things dirt, including landslides, water quality, and stream ecosystems. In addition to doing science, Steve is an advocate for science communication, mentors STEM students, and doodles Pokemon on his kids’ lunch napkins.