Video of the memorial service for the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots

If you did not get a chance to see it live, or would just like to see it again, below is a video recording of the two and a half hour June 9 memorial service for the 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots who were killed June 30. The video is made available by Azfamily.com.

Man arrested for impersonating a firefighter at hotshot’s funeral

James Patrick Brown, 29
James Patrick Brown

At the funeral procession in Marana, Arizona for 25-year-old William Warneke, one of the 19 firefighters who died June 30 while fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire, James Patrick Brown, 29, was arrested for impersonating a firefighter. Here are the details as reported by KGUN9-TV:

It was a somber procession that led mourners, including hundreds of firefighters, to the Marana Mortuary. And it was here that an assistant fire chief for the city of Tucson noticed someone darting in and out of the procession, taking pictures. What’s more, he was wearing a tucson fire t-shirt and hat.

When approached, our ‘photographer’ said he was a Tucson firefighter, for the city’s fleet services division. Little did he know, he was talking to the top dog in that division. In other words, he was asked to try again. 49 year-old James Brown’s story continued to crumble, when police searched his pockets.

“We found him in possession of two different fire department badges,” said Alvarez.

They also found brown had a lengthy rap sheet, complete with an outstanding felony warrant from Maricopa County for theft. Police arrested our fake firefighter and charged him with impersonating a public servant.

 

Report: six air tankers requested before Yarnell Hill Fire entrapment, but they were not available

(UPDATE at 10:20 a.m. MDT, July 16, 2013)

The Arizona State Forestry Division has issued a report that summarizes information about some of the major events and the firefighting resources that were deployed for the Yarnell Hill Fire. This new document corrects some of the information reported by the Associated Press below.

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(UPDATE at 10:15 a.m. MDT, July 13, 2013)

We checked with Rick Hatton, CEO of 10 Tanker Air Carrier, the company that operates the two DC-10 air tankers, about the use of their aircraft on the Yarnell Hill Fire. Mr. Hatton said each of their two DC-10s, which carry 11,600 gallons, made five drops on the fire. Throughout the day on Sunday June 30, the day of the tragedy, they made a total of eight drops, and then made two more on July 1.

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(Originally published at 8:20 p.m. July 12, 2013)

The Associated Press is reporting that a request for six “heavy” air tankers was placed about 50 minutes before the Granite Mountain Hotshots became entrapped and deployed their fire shelters on the Yarnell Hill Fire. However the request was never filled, and was classified as Unable to Fill, or UTF. There were only 12 heavy air tankers on duty June 30 in the lower 48 states and none were available to respond to the fatal fire near southwest of Prescott, Arizona.

The Granite Mountain Hotshots lost 19 of their 20 crewpersons that day when a passing thunderstorm caused the wind to change direction by 180 degrees and increase in speed, gusting to over 40 mph. In winds that strong it is unlikely that any aircraft could operate safely 200 feet above the ground or effectively drop a liquid that would accurately hit the intended target.

The last retardant drops before the fatal entrapment were made at 12:30 and 1 p.m. by P2V air tankers which carry a maximum of 2,082 gallons. After that the air tankers went back to another fire they had been working in northern Arizona. According to the AP, earlier the two DC-10 very large air tankers had been requested which drop 11,600 gallons each, but they were not available. The AP also said, “Only a spotter plane was in the air when the Prescott, Ariz.-based Granite Mountain Hotshots died. The state’s fleet of small single-engine retardant-dropping planes was grounded in Prescott because of the weather, and no helicopters or heavy tankers were available.”

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In 2002 there were 44 large or heavy air tankers on exclusive use contracts. Today there are 9. The day the 19 Hotshots died, four military MAFFS air tankers had been activated days earllier, but of those potential 13 air tankers, some of them would have been on their day off. And some, or all of those on duty, would have been actively working other fires. There were 50 uncontained large fires in the United States that day. If they all needed air tankers, which is not likely, each of the 12 that were on duty (according to the AP) would have to be shared by 4 large fires.

In 2012 about half the requests for air tankers could not be filled according to data from the National Interagency Fire Center. Of the 914 requests, 438 were rejected as “unable to fill” (UTF), meaning no air tankers were available to respond to the fire; 67 were cancelled for various reasons.

Requests for large air tankers

Paramedic confirmed the Yarnell Hill firefighter fatalities

The Associated Press acquired records from fire officials disclosing that a paramedic confirmed the deaths of the 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew June 30 in Arizona.

Below is an excerpt from their article:

An Arizona state helicopter paramedic was calm and straightforward as he radioed in the first confirmation that 19 firefighters were dead in a blaze northwest of Phoenix, recordings released Thursday show.

Paramedic Eric Tarr called Department of Public Safety dispatchers after his pilot dropped him off near the site near Yarnell where the Granite Mountain Hotshots had deployed fire shelters on June 30.

After hiking about 500 yards to the site, Tarr radioed his dispatcher and asked her to tell his pilot, “I have 19 confirmed fatalities.”

Funeral plans for the Granite Mountain Hotshots

(UPDATED at 2:24 p.m. MDT, July 15, 2013)

Most of the funerals are over for the 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots that were killed on the Yarnell Hill Fire June 30. From information provided by the incident management team that organized the services, the firefighters are listed below.

19 Granite Mountain Hotshots

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(Originally published at 5:50 p.m. MDT, July 10, 2013)

Now that the memorial service is over for the 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots that died on the Yarnell Hill Fire, the attention will now turn to 19 funerals that are being held this week. We contacted the Incident Management Team that organized the memorial service to ask about the funerals, but they said no information can be officially released, due to the fact that some of the families want to keep the services low key.

We know that at least three will only welcome their family and close friends. But others, however, may allow the general public to attend. If you know of any families that will allow people they don’t know to be at their services, leave the details in a comment. But, be certain that the family is OK with publishing the information.

Information needed includes:

  • Name of the firefighter
  • Will the family allow the general public? yes/no
  • Name of the church or facility for the service.
  • Address of the facility.
  • Date and time.
  • Information for fire personnel, or departments who plan to bring fire apparatus; where & when to stage, who to contact, etc.
  • Remarks.
  • Web site for additional information.

Viewpoint established for Yarnell Hill Fire fatality site

Yarnell Hill fatality site
A flagpole marks the Yarnell Hill fatality site — as seen from the new Granite Mountain Hotshots Overlook on Hwy 89 in Yarnell, AZ. The scene appears to have been photographed with a long telephoto lens, so the apparent distance between the flagpole and the structure is very deceiving. (click to enlarge)

A viewpoint has been established near highway 89 in Arizona from which the Yarnell Hill Fire fatality site can be seen. The Granite Mountain Hotshots were entrapped by the fire, and 19 firefighters on the 20-person crew were killed June 30, 2013.

More info from the AP:

The 15-mile stretch of Arizona highway that runs past where a wildfire killed 19 Prescott firefighters has reopened, and the entrapment site near Yarnell is visible from a new public overlook.

Drivers who stop at the site alongside Highway 89 near Yarnell will be able to see a flagpole in the distance that marks the site where the Granite Mountain Hotshots were trapped by a fire on June 30.

InciWeb has some additional information.

Below is a photo of the entrapment site that we published July 6.

Yarnell Hill Fire fatality site, Arizona, 2013. Prescott FD photo by Wade Ward.
The entrapment site on the Yarnell Hill Fire. The dozer line was punched in after the incident to facilitate the removal of the bodies, which were at the end of the line. The photo was taken by Wade Ward of the Prescott FD, and is used here with permission. (click to enlarge)