The Kootenai people of southern Canada historically traversed the Rocky Mountains, often several times annually, to hunt bison on the eastern front ranges. Some routes across this complex landscape were more energetically efficient than others, producing a tendency for archaeological and historical sites to be located along least-cost paths as strongly predicted by this project’s geographical computer models. Bison wallows also occurred across low travel cost areas from the eastern front well into the Rocky Mountain interior. With mountain topography a strong driver in patterns of human land use, how were human fire use and resulting landscape impacts affected?
Topographic variables also directly contributed to the endurance of forest refugia that remained relatively unburned compared to other areas in the region. Fire scars were recovered at near-equal rates from forest refugia and non-refugial forest, so can fire refugia contribute any special hints about past human fire use that would otherwise be unavailable?