On March 30, 2006, the Society for California Archaeology (SCA) presented the Mark Raymond Harrington Award for Conservation Archaeology to the CAL FIRE Archaeology Team in recognition of the team's outstanding efforts to protect cultural resources during wildfires. SCA President Shelly Davis-King delivered the presentation at the Awards Banquet at the SCA's Annual Meeting in Ventura. CAL FIRE Director Ruben Grijalva accepted the award on behalf of the Archaeology Team. CAL FIRE Archaeologist Richard Jenkins was also in attendance. Davis-King delivered a powerful speech which outlined the reasons the work of the CAL FIRE Archaeologists was recognized.
In this speech, Davis-King discussed how Californians are acutely aware and appreciative of CAL FIRE's valiant fire-fighting efforts, although most are unaware of the agency's parallel efforts to protect cultural resources threatened by fire. She praised CAL FIRE's team for developing an incident-specific fire-response cultural resource preservation plan across 31 million acres of California's privately-owned wildlands.
The SCA also recognized the difficulties in protecting cultural resources on private lands and the daunting task of gathering information about archaeological resources in the fire area in time to take actions to help direct CAL FIRE equipment operators avoid significant sites. Three crucial benefits were recognized and honored by the SCA: (1) The CAL FIRE fire-response cultural resource program, including training courses and incident response, has increased awareness of, and interest in, cultural resources on the part of CAL FIRE units throughout the State; (2) The CAL FIRE fire-response cultural resource program has increased cooperation and improved relationships between CAL FIRE and its State, Federal, and private partners with access to cultural resources information; (3) The CAL FIRE fire-response cultural resource program has generated innovative and efficient new emergency response protocols for information gathering on known archaeological and historic sites.