For approximately one hundred years, fire suppression in the southwest has increased fuel loadings and density of vegetation in many areas. The likelihood of large destructive wildfires in Mesa Verde National Park is increasing due to increased fuel loadings and recent drought conditions, posing threats to the park's infrastructure, cultural and natural resources, and human safety. Because of the increased threat of large wildfires, Mesa Verde has implemented several strategies to help protect the park's resources and human life. In addition to basic suppression, the park has initiated programs for prescribed fire and hazard fuel reduction. Although the threat of fire still exists, Mesa Verde National Park is becoming increasingly prepared to defend itself because of these fire protection and prevention programs.
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Fire News: Latest fire information, including restrictions and advisories.
•Archeology and Fire (8.5" x 14"- pdf, 244 kb) describes how past wildfires have affected archeology and the cultural resources within the park.
•Prescribed Fire and Hazardous Fuels Reduction at Mesa Verde
•Mesa Verde Fire History (8.5" x 11" - pdf, 194 kb) provides an overview of some of the large wildfires in Mesa Verde's past.
Mesa Verde National Park Fire History map:
•Fire History, 1933 - 2008 (pdf, 1.1 mb)
•Five-Year Fire Recovery Project (pdf, 975 kb) is a detailed ecology of two burned plant communities recovering from the 1989 Long Mesa Fire. Includes a comparison to two unburned control communities.
Did You Know?
A subterranean kiva remained 50 degrees Fahrenheit all year round. So for the Ancestral Puebloans, it stayed cool in the summer, and only a small fire was needed to keep it warm in the winter.