Arizona fires sweep land rich with ancient sites, artifacts

  • 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)

  • This 2021 photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service, shows Michael Terlep, left, and Jason Nez at the Honanki Ruins Heritage Site near Sedona, Arizona. The archaeologists were assessing the risk of wildfire and potential impacts if it reached the site. (U.S. Forest Service via AP)

  • In this photo provided by Darvin Descheny, from left to right, Chris Shaw, Tea Kaplan, Gwenn Gallenstein and Alexandra Covert carry boxes of artifacts that were evacuated from Wupatki National Monument for safekeeping at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, Arizona, on June 14, 2022. The monument and artifacts have been evacuated twice in spring 2022 because of wildfires. (Darvin Descheny/Museum of Northern Arizona via AP)

  • This undated photo provided by the National Park Service shows centuries-old pottery on display at Wupatki National Monument outside Flagstaff, Arizona. The monument and artifacts have been evacuated twice in spring 2022 because of wildfires. (National Park Service via AP)

  • In this photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service, Jason Nez, center, talks to wildland fire personnel working a blaze in northern Arizona in 2021. Nez is a Navajo archaeologist and firefighter who advises fire officials on how to protect archaeological resources. (Paul Dawson/U.S. Forest Service via AP)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — As Jason Nez scans rugged mountains, high desert and cliffsides for signs of ancient tools and dwellings unique to the U.S. Southwest, he keeps in mind that they’re part of a bigger picture.