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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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slide1
INTRODUCTION TO EFFECTS OF FIRE MANAGEMENT ACTIONS

ON CULTURAL RESOURCES

Nelson Siefkin, Archeologist

Fire Management, Pacific West Region

slide2
DEFINING CULTURAL RESOURCES
  • Archeological Resources
  • Structures
  • Ethnographic Resources
  • Cultural Landscapes
  • Museum Objects
slide3
ARCHEOLOGICAL RESOURCES

Physical remains of past human activity…prehistoric and

historical

slide4
STRUCTURES

Material assemblies that extend the limits of

human capability…domiciles, barns, bridges,

dams, roads...prehistoric and historical

slide5
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

slide6
CULTURAL LANDSCAPES

Intertwined patterns of natural and

cultural phenomena created by humans…

prehistoric and historical

slide7
MUSEUM OBJECTS

Objects, specimens, and archival and

manuscript collections…found in

museums, exhibits, furnished

structures, etc.

slide8
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
slide9
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.

slide10
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

slide11
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

slide12
Context in space
  • 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?

slide13
Impediments to Accounting for Direct Effects

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.

slide14
Mitigating Direct Effects

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

slide16
Examples of Exclusionary Measures...

Sprinklers, hoses, and

wet lines

slide17
Examples of Exclusionary Measures...

Fire

retardant

foams & gels

slide19
Benefit of Exclusionary

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.

slide20
Non-Exclusionary Protection Measures

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.

slide21
Examples of Non-Exclusionary Measures...

POST-VEGETATION

REMOVAL

PRE-VEGETATION

REMOVAL

Manual Fuel Load

Reduction

slide22
Archeological site (obsidian scatter) subjected to

vegetation removal prior to prescribed burn at Lava Beds NM

slide24
Examples of Non-Exclusionary Measures...

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

slide25
Examples of Non-Exclusionary Measures...

Permanent or

temporary

artifact removal

slide26
Benefit of Non-Exclusionary Measures…

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

slide27
OPERATIONAL EFFECTS

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)

slide28
Examples of Operational Effects...

Construction

of fire lines

slide29
Examples of Operational Effects...

Fire camps, staging

areas, helispots, etc.

slide30
Examples of Operational Effects...

Fire retardant &

water drops

slide33
Examples of Operational Effects...

Mop-up and

Rehabilitation

slide35
INDIRECT EFFECTS

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

slide36
Examples of Indirect Effects...

Increased surface runoff and erosion

slide38
Examples of Indirect Effects...

Increased Tree

Mortality

slide39
1997

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

slide42
Examples of Indirect Effects...

Increased populations of burrowing rodents

slide43
Cultural Resource Hazards and the Resource Advisor

Resource Advisors can benefit operations by disclosing the

location of potential hazards

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

toxic materials, explosives, etc.

slide44
Join the Fire Archeology Discussion

Group…

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

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