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NPS Archeology Guide > Cultural Resources and Fire > 1. Overview

Overview

Introduction

NPS fire management policies indicate that, whenever feasible, wildfires should be managed rather than suppressed, and prescribed burns and non-fire fuel reductions should be used to reduce unhealthy levels of dead timber. These policies, however, increase the likelihood that cultural resources will be impacted by fire. Structural fires, too, are an ever-present potential source of danger to cultural resources. Threat of structural fire and resulting damage to cultural resources can be lessened by installation of fire detection and suppression systems and by educating firefighting personnel about ways to protect cultural resources.

The Cultural Resources and Fire module of RM #28A: Archeology (the NPS Archeology Guide) provides guidance for superintendents, National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 106 coordinators, wildland and structural fire program managers, and cultural resource managers in parks, regions, and centers to ensure that cultural resources are fully considered when planning and implementing wildland and structural fire-related activities. Advance planning, cooperation, and coordination between cultural resources and fire management programs are essential elements to produce robust and complete planning documents and to successfully execute planned activities.

The module consists of 12 sections, plus a Toolbox and Useful Links. The sections are short, stand-alone guidance documents on specific topics that can be downloaded or individually printed. Highlighted text contains information about specific actions that cultural resources managers should take. Important information may be repeated in several documents. Links to other guidance and checklists are included where appropriate. Procedural documents, planning matrices, examples, manuals, and other kinds of information may be found in the Toolbox section at the end of the module.

Navigate the module either by clicking the navigation breadcrumbs at the top of each page or by using the table of contents on the right side. Arrows at the bottom of each page will move the reader backwards and forwards among the sections.

Section Overviews

Module sections cover the following topics:

  1. Overview, including Authorities for Cultural Resources and Fire lists the Federal laws, policies, and Executive Order 13175 for managing cultural resources and for managing fires, along with links to the original documents.
  2. Fire Preparedness and Cultural Resources identifies actions that all parks should take to protect cultural resources. The basic protective measures are particularly important in the absence of approved fire management plans.
  3. Wildland Fire Planning and Cultural Resources emphasizes responsibilities of the cultural resource manager and wildland fire program manager to consider cultural resources when planning for wildland fires.
  4. Structural Fires and Cultural Resources outlines responsibilities of the cultural resource manager and structural fire program manager to consider cultural resources when planning for structural fires.
  5. Fire Management and Cultural Resource Laws provides guidance and tools for ensuring that wildland and structural fire management planning and implementation comply with cultural resource Federal laws, policies, and Executive Order 13175.
  6. Consultation for Compliance with Federal Laws discusses consultation requirements for cultural resource Federal laws, policies, and Executive Order 13175 that are triggered when a Federal undertaking is proposed and when it is implemented.
  7. NHPA Programmatic Agreements and Fire describes the nation-wide and park and region-specific programmatic agreements to provide an alternative process to comply with National Historic Preservation Act Section 106.
  8. Cultural Resource Data for Fire Management outlines sources and methods for developing specific cultural resource information needed for a satifactory wildland fire management plan.
  9. Managing Cultural Resources During a Wildfire provides guidance on ways to best ensure that cultural resources are considered during responses to wildfires.
  10. Fuel Reduction and Cultural Resources identifies actions to ensure that cultural resources are protected and that fuel reduction projects comply with Federal cultural resources laws, policies, and Executive Order 13175.
  11. Post-Wildland Fire Programs and Cultural Resources discusses assistance that the NPS post-wildland fire programs may provide to protect and repair cultural resources after wildfire events.
  12. Cultural Resource Monitoring and Fire emphasizes the importance of monitoring for cultural resource protection after wildland fires and associated activities, including post-fire treatments.
  13. Toolbox contains a variety of documents—fire research bibliographies, web resource lists, best practices, examples of management documents, planning and assessment matrices—to aid in managing cultural resources during planning and implementation of protocols associated with wildland and structural fires.
  14. Useful Links provides URLs for websites and live documents for fire research and policy.
  15. Credits contains a brief history of the module, a list of people who assisted in the development, and citation and contact information.

MJB