Wild Fires and Archaeology: Results and Learnings from Post-Fire Archaeological Assessments in Western Canada

  • Margarita de Guzman, Circle CRM Group Inc.

While forest fires are a regular occurrence, wild fire activity has been particularly prominent in recent years, threatening homes and communities throughout central British Columbia and northern, as well as southern, Alberta. Archaeologists have taken these to be fortuitous events insofar as what they can teach us about location and site type, among other things, within the Boreal forest. Through post-fire impact assessments, archaeologists have been able to judge the effects of fire devastation on archaeological resources, as well as identify previously unrecorded resources in areas not typically targeted for subsurface testing. These results can have a profound effect on archaeological potential, both from the desk and in the field, from where we are putting boots to where we are putting shovels in the ground, and may surprise both novice and experienced archaeologists alike.