Granite Mountain Hotshot widow Juliann Ashcraft fighting for denied benefits

The CBS Evening News on Monday ran this story about Juliann Ashcraft, the wife of one of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. She suddenly became the single mother of four children when her husband, Andrew, was killed along with 18 others from the crew June 30 on the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona. Even though Mr. Ashcraft worked full time, the Prescott Fire Department said his wife is not entitled to the survivor benefits usually owed to a full time firefighter.

(The video may take a while to begin. If you can’t view it, visit the CBS site.)

In 2011 Andrew Ashcraft sent us some photos he took of the Las Conchas fire in northern New Mexico.

He also sent his wife some photos of the Yarnell Hill Fire an hour or two before the crew was overrun by the fire on June 30, 2013.


Thanks go out to Dick

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills. Google+

10 thoughts on “Granite Mountain Hotshot widow Juliann Ashcraft fighting for denied benefits”

  1. Can she collect SS benefits for the children? That would help a little. I was not surprised to see this. I know the MIL of Amanda Marsh and she is the person I heard it from. Being the widow of the leader Eric Marsh, she is dealing with her own grief but also trying to help the families of the other fallen fire fighters.

  2. This is an issue that has raised its head in a number of venues. Example: some years ago, the shall-be-unnamed software corp (think biggest) from denying benefits to “perma-temp” employees who worked 40 (or more) hours a week. Ditto for many large (especially state) universities and other institutions. Many of the big entities have gotten around it by hiring their perma-temps from intermediary companies who are responsible for the benefits – which are, of course, not as good as those the ‘full-time’ employees receive.

  3. I hope that at this very moment some bean counter is getting his/her rear chewed and fired. How are people that stupid. I just don’t get it.

  4. i can tell you i received benefits, I believe those in charge only did it because I started questioning the circumstances of his death. As I also understand it, we received his death benefits about 6 mos. before the other families that year. To deny these families the benefits??? just plain wrong.

  5. One of the problems with the “seasonal” nature of much wildland fire employment. And another great reason for folks to make donations to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation and the other legit charities that are providing direct support to the families. I’ve made a couple since this happened, may have to do it again.

  6. Benefits or the lack of them is a brutal fact of life in many jobs today. I hope she is getting good advice on how to manage the resources she does have.

  7. I would hope some former fire fighter turned attorney could find it in their heart to help them out pro-bono or at least at a reduced rate.

  8. The State of Arizona wouldn’t even pay for the burial of the Dude Creek crew (other than Sandra Bachman), claiming they were prisoners rather than employees, so the the State has previous. Unfortunately. It’s what happens when you have people more concerned with following rules than doing the right thing …

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