Revealed by Flames: Modeling Site Distribution in Arizona's White Mountains after the Wallow Fire


EcoPlan Associates developed a site spatial density model for, and in partnership with, the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNF). In 2011, the Wallow Fire started in the Bear Wallow Wilderness in the White Mountains of East Central Arizona, eventually burning over 538,000 acres within 840 square miles of Arizona and New Mexico. Four contractors and ASNF inventoried 63,424 acres in various portions of the burned area after the fire, much of it at high elevation. Unexpectedly, the surveys identified 136 sites concentrated within a few small areas; yet, most of the post-fire survey areas were devoid of any cultural resources, including isolated occurrences. The unusual bimodal site distribution was not accounted for in the model, particularly the presence of communities of Reserve/Tularosa phase Mogollon habitations above 8,000 feet elevation. Analysis of the model in light of the Wallow Fire findings suggests that Douglas Fir forest does not provide an appropriate proxy for high elevations, and that high elevation projects were underrepresented in building the model. Larger block surveys more closely approximated the modeled site distribution than did smaller and linear projects.

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Revealed by Flames: Modeling Site Distribution in Arizona's White Mountains after the Wallow Fire. David Purcell, Danny Sorrell, Pete Taylor, Kye Miller, Lynn Neal. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397804)

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min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;