Archeologists, firefighters work to protect cultural sites in Medio Fire's path | KOB 4

Archeologists, firefighters work to protect cultural sites in Medio Fire's path

Kai Porter
Created: August 30, 2020 05:52 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —As firefighters are working to keep the Medio Fire north of Santa Fe from spreading, archeologists are also working to protect historic structures and cultural sites in the fire’s path.

"That can be from 13,000 years ago to up to 50 years ago, and we have what we call both prehistoric and historic cultural resources and what I'm showing you today is an example of a historic cultural resource,” said Santa Fe National Forest archeologist Jana Comstock in an interview provided by fire officials.


One photograph shows Comstock standing in front of a historic bridge that was built in the 1930s. The bridge’s construction was part of an unemployment recovery program after the Great Depression and is still in use today.

Comstock said firefighters cleared and thinned trees and brush near the bridge to reduce potential fuel for the fire, which exposed more of the bridge.

"All of a sudden we could see the bridges and we could see the full extent of them and how big they were, so actually this cultural resource has benefited from the fire because now we can see them, now we can map them. They're protected from future fires," she said.

These pieces of history are revealed and protected for future generations as firefighters work to stop the Medio Fire in its tracks.

“You can see how huge these stone are. These are all hand cut. These were 18 to 25 year old men that were coming here living at camp, up to 200 men at a camp and working hard to create all this infrastructure in these really remote places in the forest,” she said.

The Santa Fe National Forest will host another virtual community meeting on the Medio Fire Sunday night. To watch the meeting, click here.

The Medio Fire has burned 3,453 acres and is currently 55% contained.


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