U.S. Joint Fire Science Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-42- volume 3, May 2012


US government work.


This state-of-knowledge review provides a synthesis of the effects of fire on cultural resources, which can be used by fire managers, cultural resource (CR) specialists, and archaeologists to more effectively manage wildland vegetation, fuels, and fire. The goal of the volume is twofold: (1) to provide cultural resource/archaeological professionals and policy makers with a primer on fuels, fire behavior, and fire effects to enable them to work more effectively with the fire management community to protect resources during fuels treatment and restoration projects and wildfire suppression activities; and (2) to provide fire and land management professionals and policy makers with a greater understanding of the value of cultural resource protection and the methods available to evaluate and mitigate risks to CR. The synthesis provides a conceptual fire effects framework for planning, managing, and modeling fire effects (chapter1) and a primer on fire and fuel processes and fire effects prediction modeling (chapter 2). A synthesis of the effects of fire on various cultural resource materials is provided for ceramics (chapter 3), lithics (chapter 4), rock art (chapter 5), historic-period artifacts/materials (chapter 6), and below-ground features (chapter 7). Chapter 8 discusses the importance of cultural landscapes to indigenous peoples and emphasizes the need to actively involve native people in the development of collaborative management plans. The use and practical implications of this synthesis are the subject of the final chapter (chapter 9).