INTRODUCTION TO EFFECTS OF FIRE MANAGEMENT ACTIONS
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INTRODUCTION TO EFFECTS OF FIRE MANAGEMENT ACTIONS ON CULTURAL RESOURCES. Nelson Siefkin, Archeologist Fire Management, Pacific West Region. DEFINING CULTURAL RESOURCES. Archeological Resources Structures Ethnographic Resources Cultural Landscapes Museum Objects.

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INTRODUCTION TO EFFECTS OF FIRE MANAGEMENT ACTIONS

ON CULTURAL RESOURCES

Nelson Siefkin, Archeologist

Fire Management, Pacific West Region


DEFINING CULTURAL RESOURCES

  • Archeological Resources

  • Structures

  • Ethnographic Resources

  • Cultural Landscapes

  • Museum Objects


ARCHEOLOGICAL RESOURCES

Physical remains of past human activity…prehistoric and

historical


STRUCTURES

Material assemblies that extend the limits of

human capability…domiciles, barns, bridges,

dams, roads...prehistoric and historical


ETHNOGRAPHIC RESOURCES

Tangible and intangible manifestations of an extant

cultural system…vegetation, spiritual/ceremonial

sites, languages…generally associated with

Native Americans/Hawaiians/Alaskans…

often poorly understood


CULTURAL LANDSCAPES

Intertwined patterns of natural and

cultural phenomena created by humans…

prehistoric and historical


MUSEUM OBJECTS

Objects, specimens, and archival and

manuscript collections…found in

museums, exhibits, furnished

structures, etc.


Cultural Resources of Interest

  • Critical to distinguish cultural resources of interest…those that are or have the potential to be important (e.g., NRHP listed and eligible) and have the potential to be impacted by fire management actions.

  • Historic properties--NRHP eligible

  • or listed resources--are de facto

  • resources of interest, but may also

  • include those that do not meet

  • NRHP criteria of significance.

  • Seemingly marginal cultural resources will become more significant as technology improves, urban encroachment intensifies, etc…Federal lands will become repositories for the preservation of in situ cultural resources


Effects of Fire Management Actions on

Cultural Resources

Conveniently divide into three types…

Direct Effects: Fire itself is the cause of impacts…due to direct flame exposure, excessive radiant heating, smoke damage, etc.

Operational Effects: Result from associated operations such as line construction, staging, etc. Especially common during the suppression of wildfires.

Indirect Effects: Fire and/or associated operations result in a change in local context such that resources are effected, e.g., erosion, high tree mortality.


DIRECT EFFECTS

Relate strongly to fire behavior…generally speaking, the heavier the fuel load, the more severe and intense the fire behavior, and the greater the potential for direct effects


Cultural Resources differentially impacted by direct fire effects…topic is not well understood

e.g., dimensional lumber

ignites at 350 deg. C

glass melts above 400 deg. C

Some obsidian vesiculates above 700 deg. C


  • Spatial attributes

  • Obsidian hydration rind

  • Technological attributes

  • Distinctive appearance

  • Chemical fingerprint

  • Use-wear/organic residues

Different attributes of a feature or artifact are differentially impacted by direct fire effects

Compromised >150 Deg. C

Compromised >700 Deg. C

Compromised variable temp

Compromised variable temp

Compromised at low temp

What is it that we want to know?


Impediments to Accounting for Direct Effects effects…topic is not well understood

Fire Behavior is extremely complex…is it reasonable to assume that we can control fire behavior such that damage threshold(s) will not be exceeded?

e.g., allow obsidian hydration rinds to be damaged, but keep fire cool enough so that obsidian artifact morphology is not effected.


Mitigating Direct Effects effects…topic is not well understood

Exclusionary Protection Measures

Exclusionary measures...preventing fire from burning on or in close proximity to a cultural resource through the use of some predetermined fire management action

Often employed when it is anticipated, given expected fire behavior, that the fire will burn at an intensity that exceeds the threshold above which a particular resource or resource attribute is impacted


Examples of Exclusionary Measures... effects…topic is not well understood

Fire Shelters


Examples of Exclusionary Measures... effects…topic is not well understood

Sprinklers, hoses, and

wet lines


Examples of Exclusionary Measures... effects…topic is not well understood

Fire

retardant

foams & gels


Examples of Exclusionary Measures... effects…topic is not well understood

Fire lines


Benefit of Exclusionary effects…topic is not well understood

Measures…

Insure that cultural resources are

not directly effected by fire

Potential drawbacks of

exclusionary measures…

Leave islands of unburned fuel on

cultural resources. These can be

attractive to looters. Inevitably,

unburned areas will eventually burn.


Non-Exclusionary Protection Measures effects…topic is not well understood

Non-exclusionary measures... intended to produce fire intensities below that expected to cause resource damage and/or that will not lead to future indirect effects. No attempt to exclude fire from the cultural resource.

Can be used in conjunction with exclusionary protection measures.


Examples of Non-Exclusionary Measures... effects…topic is not well understood

POST-VEGETATION

REMOVAL

PRE-VEGETATION

REMOVAL

Manual Fuel Load

Reduction


Archeological site (obsidian scatter) subjected to effects…topic is not well understood

vegetation removal prior to prescribed burn at Lava Beds NM


A job effects…topic is not well understoodtoo well done...

Oops.


Examples of Non-Exclusionary Measures... effects…topic is not well understood

Burning under circumstances that favor lower intensity fire…e.g., night ignition, backing fire


Examples of Non-Exclusionary Measures... effects…topic is not well understood

Permanent or

temporary

artifact removal


Benefit of Non-Exclusionary Measures… effects…topic is not well understood

Allows fire to occur on cultural resources so that fuel loads are reduced

Potential drawbacks of non-exclusionary measures…

Difficulties associated with controlling fire intensity, uncertainty about direct fire effects on cultural resources


OPERATIONAL EFFECTS effects…topic is not well understood

A large number of potentially damaging activities are carried out in conjunction with the suppression of wildfires

Most of these

involve ground

disturbance,

although the range

of potential effects

are much greater

Satellite Photograph - Cerro Grande Fire Plume

Bandelier National Monument(Summer 2000)


Examples of Operational Effects... effects…topic is not well understood

Construction

of fire lines


Examples of Operational Effects... effects…topic is not well understood

Fire camps, staging

areas, helispots, etc.


Examples of Operational Effects... effects…topic is not well understood

Fire retardant &

water drops


Historic Residential Area at Mesa Verde NP effects…topic is not well understood

Long Mesa Fire, 2002


Examples of Operational Effects... effects…topic is not well understood

Mop-up and

Rehabilitation


Examples of Operational Effects... effects…topic is not well understood

Looting


INDIRECT EFFECTS effects…topic is not well understood

Indirect effects are fairly elusive…can occur while fire is still burning, shortly thereafter, or later in time

Can be difficult to recognize and evaluate


Examples of Indirect Effects... effects…topic is not well understood

Increased surface runoff and erosion


Post-burn eroding midden in Mojave National Preserve, 2005 effects…topic is not well understood


Examples of Indirect Effects... effects…topic is not well understood

Increased Tree

Mortality


1997 effects…topic is not well understood

Sugarloaf WFU

Burned Snag

Shorty Lovelace at Crowley Cabin

Pre-1940

2003

Williams WFU

Examples of Indirect Effects...

Increased Tree

Mortality

Shorty Lovelace Historic District

Crowley Cabin

Sequoia-Kings Canyon NP


Examples of Indirect Effects... effects…topic is not well understood

Looting


Post-burn “Looter’s pile” at Mojave NP, 2005 effects…topic is not well understood


Examples of Indirect Effects... effects…topic is not well understood

Increased populations of burrowing rodents


Cultural Resource Hazards and the Resource Advisor effects…topic is not well understood

Resource Advisors can benefit operations by disclosing the

location of potential hazards

For example, barbed-wire fences, subsurface mining features,

toxic materials, explosives, etc.


Join the Fire Archeology Discussion effects…topic is not well understood

Group…

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fire_archaeology


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