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Arizona wildfires sweep land rich with signs of ancient life

Western Wildfires Archaeology
Felicia Fonseca/AP
/
AP
This photo shows the remains of a multilevel stone dwelling at Wupatki National Monument outside Flagstaff, Arizona, on Feb. 17, 2014. The monument has been evacuated twice during spring 2022 because of wildfires. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)

By FELICIA FONSECA Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Wildfires in northern Arizona are crossing land rich with signs of human existence through centuries. The vast landscape marked by rugged mountains, high desert and towering ponderosa pines is dense with archaeological sites and artifacts. As efforts to fight wildfires advance, crews are doing more to avoid or minimize damage from bulldozers and other modern-day firefighting tools. Archaeologists say those efforts ensure ancient tools and dwellings unique to the arid U.S. Southwest are protected for future generations. Navajo archaeologist Jason Nez says the work also helps educate those on the fire line about the continued presence of Indigenous peoples.