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ARCBURN: Linking field-based and experimental methods to quantify, predict, and manage fire effects on cultural resources - Final Report to the Joint Fire Science Program

Author(s): Rachel A. Loehman, Bret W. Butler, Jamie Civitello, Connie Constan, Jennifer Dyer, Zander Evans, Megan Friggens, Rebekah Kneifel, James J. Reardon, Madeline Scheintaub, Anastasia Steffen
Year Published: 2016

Cultural resources are physical features, both natural and anthropogenic, associated with human activity. These unique and non-renewable resources include sites, structures, and objects possessing significance in history, architecture, archaeology, or human development (Fowler 1982). Wildfires can alter cultural resources through immediate effects such as destruction of structures and chemical and physical changes to artifacts that alter or destroy attributes important for determining artifact origin, age, cultural affiliation, or technology of production. Post-fire effects, most notably erosion, may also occur and cause destruction or translocation of artifacts and cultural sites. Damage to artifacts and sites constitutes a permanent loss of knowledge and information about the past. Fuels treatments have been shown to reduce fire severity, but effectiveness of risk mitigation operations is constrained by lack of information in three areas: 1) knowledge of the range of fire effects on the diversity of artifact types typical of many archaeological sites, 2) quantification of the magnitude and duration of heating that results in alteration or substantial damage, and 3) link between archaeological fire effects and operational fire models to aid managers in development of fuels treatments and characterization of risk. The “ArcBurn” project provides information critical to the integration of cultural resources and fire management decision processes.

Citation: Loehman, Rachel A.; Butler, Bret W.; Civitello, Jamie A.; Constan, Connie; Dyer, Jennifer B.; Evans, Zander; Friggens, Megan M.; Kneifel, Rebekah; Reardon, James J.; Scheintaub, Madeline R.; Steffen, Anastasia X. 2016. Arcburn: linking field-based and experimental methods to quantify, predict, and manage fire effects on cultural resources. Joint Fire Science Project 12-1-04-5. Anchorage, AK: US Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center. 46 p.
Topic(s): Fire Communication & Education, Public Perspectives of Fire Management, Fire Effects, Cultural, Fire History
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Technical Report or White Paper
NRFSN number: 17041
FRAMES RCS number: 23230
Record updated: Mar 7, 2018