Granite Mountain Hotshots, in videos

Erick Marsh, Superintendent Granite Mountain Hotshots
Erick Marsh, Superintendent Granite Mountain Hotshots
Erick Marsh, Superintendent of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, in a screen shot from the 2010 video.

We just discovered these videos today that feature the Granite Mountain Hotshot crews of 2010 and 2012. I am surprised they have not received more attention.

The first video is a summary of their 2012 fire season, during which they worked more than 1,000 hours of overtime on fires. It shows some of the fires they fought, the crew at work, and some light-hearted moments as well. It was uploaded to YouTube by the City of Prescott on November 26, 2012.

The second video, below, was produced by the Prescott Daily Courier and describes some of the training the crew went through. It was shot in 2010 and was uploaded to YouTube on July 5, 2013, five days after 19 members of the crew were killed on the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona.

Typos, let us know HERE, and specify which article. Please read the commenting rules before you post a comment.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

11 thoughts on “Granite Mountain Hotshots, in videos”

  1. Mon, Jan 6, 2014 at 10:14 AM Shaun’s updated comment:
    I have had some family issues that have taken me away from my work for a day or so, but I will respond in the same manner as you made your request.
    Bill Gabbert- thank you for allowing us to update here for the locals and others to read here vs. us spending time to email plus it should be public information to keep CLARITY to that weekend.
    Bill, haven’t we all seen enough deaths that Y O U ( not you Bill; Y OU knows who they are) should have a grasp the VALUE of life— Aren’t their blood worth it? and all that have already died?
    So many have lawyered up making their focus on the weekend in whole yet since we came back our focus was details to 3:30-9:30pm 6-30-13. We have said time and time again we are so tiny to what Y O U can offer to this investigation. We do not request anyone to comment/reply unless proof/source/document with their answer–no guessing or theorizing needed. One question- Glen Ilah when we left was on fire spotted in areas and we met a couple in Wickenburg- the PAIN; the distress more external for the wife and internal for the husband as they shared their moment trying to save their animals—the horse trailer was on fire—the area and details is TOO MUCH for me to describe what they saw yet TODAY her pain is so visibly deep and I feel her pain. I deeply care to see clarity #1 for the very first person God shared to me following the journey away from the gates of hell we left behind. Joy’s husband refused any forest stays in a sleeping bag at that time and requested us to seek shelter at the YC Red Cross. We slept in the vehicle that first night as we’d use the bathroom indoors we would hear so many devastating accounts as they told us they knew they did not have a home to return to because they did not leave until their home was engulfed with flames- seem so surreal to hear the awfully sad accounts. Joy wept at the depth of the heart and love we saw from Robert and Patti Westfall who lost it all and they knew it. They paid Joy the highest compliment that first night and later as time went by- thank you both; we do these hikes for you/the community/the fallen 19/all prior fatalities. That couple began the journey of God showing Joy stuff beyond her understanding. To watch Sonny take care of Don A. as he wheeled him around and helped console so many- he is a mountain man loner and so unlike him. That was God. We had such a delicate humor in there and people would come to us and thank us for giving them hope and for the cot sheets stating “The Old Married Couple” (he’s old/she’s married)—it helped them get through it and we still hear how we made it memorable for them. Noone ever knew Joy was at the time caregiver to Sonny and Joy could of easily went home and let people figured it all on their own–never offering any photos or eye-witness accounts. That is not Joy’s style. The lady in the shelter does need to state what she told us to the world not us. I do not know Scott Hunt yet we both felt how is it this began on State and ended on State yet state man Scott Hunt got to form his own team to lead the investigation on his own area- it should of been someone besides him who could choose- someone who had no interest in it. So to this day due to that we felt the people investigating this should request the FOIA on his career files as well as others from that day. begin there. As we have hiked July-Dec. 2013 we learned many things and saw an agenda from one tiny hike we shared with Shaun McKinnon as we read his final article—in his career he may have to answer to editors or the papers’ lawyers yet in the end him and any of his people do have to answer to God- not us. Joy loves Arizona; she loves her extended community and no matter how we share our human perception to that weekend and someone can post here their email and we can send our private photo link to them that requires view only no sharing of the link and if you save photo to pc; fine yet if you ever use any publicly “courtesy credit” is all that is required. On John Dougherty’s link- xxxfullsailxxx has stirred some but not us. I want to post something I am about to type a hypothetical to show the damage it can do like narrating your article Shaun—ready—let’s say 8:07am was an incorrect time- phone error. Did you see. By us stating “let’s say 8:07…” now created a doubt being we said it not another saying it about us as we have seen but we did above…yet it’s facts that the very first time Joy saw the official later known to be Eric Marsh was near a boulder (can anyone answer how Eric Marsh went up; was it the old grader road or where Joy first saw him?)(Joy saw Eric near the old grader road so was he scouting already or did he come up that washy area Joy knows so well?) Joy did want to be less on her first and hopefully last visit with Eric Marsh that morning because Joy wanted to get to the top which was appx 3/4 mile left to go to the fire edge so she can get her photos for Ronda Carnes who first alerted Joy of the fire on Friday the 28th by phone. Anyone who knows the 2 hikers that week knew they put in a lot of walking incline/decline steep terrain in miles and that 6-30-13 was getting hot already and Joy had to use the bathroom. Her focus was get photos and go to the bathroom. Hard to do with not just Tex there but in the area GMHS crew, Eric Marsh and the mystery man in Joy’s photos with Eric Marsh still never no one has come forward naming themselves they are that person with Eric and not in the reports that I have seen yet- plus there was the many kinds of aircrafts in the air flying over; ugh so there was a delay for Joy to finally use mountain top huge boulders to do her thing near where we last saw the crew. As we headed on the ridge path towards Glen Ilah–Joy’s photos on page 2 show where we sat that day for the photo taken–Answers we seek in this for we feel the PAIN of the fallen loved ones and the community and really all prior fire fatalities—when we came back from the shelter we could of left the room fifteen being we had been looted from and just go forward in life with our hikes yet we stood strong and helped the Yarnell community including the off the grid folks, the state, the county and the firefighters and people interested in getting clarity to a weekend I heard recently and stuck on my mind and even used it in an email to two today because it was there subconsciously from another “it was chaotic and a bad thing happened”
    If we were in charge of investigating this weekend we’d have a HUGE map of that town and area they died and places photos/videos/time stamps/gps coordinates/interview names and accounts on the map and STAR the reliable areas for documented proof and specially mark MAYBE areas and do not disregard unreliable maybe due to incomplete time stamp or gps but leave it there on the map but cannot be used as reliable. I would go to every person homeowner or not; lost it all or not- off the grid folks too and get their accounts and place on map where they were that day. Some said the Shrine area could of been spared so I hope whoever investigates 330-930pm that 6-30-13 that they document if that is facts; could they have saved many homes? I say check every phone record including all business areas to that town and Peeples Valley including Model Creek phone systems. Too many folks have been LAWYERED UP from the start yet we have been pure and genuine and we now SEE after Shaun’s narrative why people lawyer up yet in the end Joy has hiked that area for almost a decade and there was no logic for Eric Marsh to state he was safe in the black to than he laid dead amongst the 18 ( why one moment the count was 18 than 19???) and he was a man who knew the terrain but maybe did not know how that canyon terrain was with its maze-like ways—either way we hope this stays mainstream to reach clarity. I am glad a lot of you care and are spending time trying to figure it out- means a lot to us. This was the lates update we got from AZCENTRAL about that Alone on the hill article.

  2. towards the close of yesterday we did finally get an email from the one that did the article and he replied “My editors and I are reviewing these things and will reply as soon as we can. Based on the way you’ve made your demands and posted your comments online already, I do not feel like I can answer you without advice on my end. We will be in touch.”
    we do not feel any demands were made that were not reasonable. You can leave your opinion on Sonny even if Sonny perceived it as character assassination angle versus the story on the nineteen men who died and why not trying to tie togetherness/unity to reach the goal of clarity of why that day happened the way it did that lives were lost and homes/vehicles & such too. you have to see perception of the readers and by stating something like plural paths or different routes—that can be misleading and not accurate to that day and quite wrong to mislead on that area when there is the BIG QUESTION in many minds- why did they leave the black/the safe area to go to the most dense maze-like vegetation area into a box canyon out of view of the fire and no one knowing their exact location- not air or ground or fire management has been reported no one knew their location so yes that deserves a retraction and other areas. Perception is fine but narratives are not acceptable—it needs to remain pure as that day happened
    Sonny says he is seventy and does not pay it much mind what one views him to be or not to be and if a journalist wants to set the article that way about him which did not pertain to the 19 or hopefully getting answers and clarity to that day—why do that was all- yes, he in his lifetime is the old miner you read out of an old western novel and yes most miners drink—but why air it when the article was about the 19 about the cookie cutter thing unless you aimed to do a character assassination of him and why- you think his kids who live in the city want to see that perception on an article about a tragedy of the fallen 19 about their father. plus it was not like I sized someone up before talking because of some logo he wore or I was pulled aside- that made me look like I have a thing about officials and me Joy does not. I am the most legal respectful gal. very best to help the fallen and the community to reach the level of clarity- Number one, the lady at the shelter needs to speak up, the fire management needs to speak up and some local civilians so we can get more clarity to that weekend but everyone is so afraid of lawsuits and we should not be writing articles to diminish but connect us all as one—unity—-so lessons can be learned. I had to post the comments online because many have hiked with us and we have shared that day purely and your article did not share the same as others and some areas was narrative versus actual words spoken 6-30-13 and those people needed to know it was your perception of your short hike with us who did not go the full distance; I have gone the full distance on the hikes for EVERYONE even on short notice like you and others never saying no so it seemed not right to gather information but when did I ever tell you we left from Congress at 4am that day; you see what I am saying. People who know me knew the article was not correct yet it is important that my day be pure as it happened nothing more and nothing less—that third time we spoke to Eric- had you hiked it you would understand there was no pulling aside—you added that—anything I did not correct or Sonny is right to that day.

    We like you so it was disappointing to see an article that needed to be about bringing the 19 to a 6 month anniversary of not just narrative stuff from reports or articles or other media stuff—I truly thought you Shaun were going to focus to these men being heroes and realize as we lay in bed we cannot sleep until the answers come out because we think of the children and the parents and widows and their friends and ex granite mountain hotshots and what about the Yarnell community and how their lives changed…it breaks us up in tears so deep to think they were in the black you see- Why create any article that leads to anything but getting clarity and help these families and friends make sense to something that just rips us up. When I had my seizure/convulsions/anxiety in May 2013—that led us to two things; a police report that PROVES YCSO has an excellent gps program and reached me with that so if they can do that for a common civilian than why not 19 elite men if there was such a gap as they were seeing in communication on 6-30-13 and we also thank YCSO for that moment because it led our path to Gail Edwards from Prescott Valley and our 26 weeks setup with her has changed both our lives and we highly recommend if you have tragedy, trauma or need to kick off patterns like booze or such- she changed two lives here. Toll Free PHONE: (800) 510-9088. She truly knows us as two hikers and us as two individuals and you want to get the low down she is the one who can say stuff about us or even the man who is the only one out of all this that took the time out in a raw genuine way and that is Ered Matthew- who’s heart is in this for the long haul for all— listen to his song here in remembrance to the fallen 19.
    We hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve — Happy New Year!
    Someone asked us to let them know when Shaun replied so there it is—
    he did.

    it has to come forward somehow why did Eric Marsh say he was ok in the black and did not want to go down to than 19 dead including him. You got to feel the HOLE. Don’t you? I mean, there is answers so need to make an article out like I don’t like authority and was pulled aside when reality is Eric Marsh was kind and cordial and on the 3rd talk even if his voice seem more father-like he was calm and concerned to his voice that they could not drop retardant until we left the area and we were not geared up with uniform and helmets and such so he asked us to start heading out—as we walked away Joy said to Sonny “better him to say than someone else” and Eric Marsh stated “yes, better me than the authorities”—no pulling aside. any questions to what you wrote- ask…we truly like you but so important to us this does not become versions or stories and remains raw and you can look at page one with your editors and see our account for that day in writing as well- we hope this helps and we still hope one day you do get to hike it—once you do—your life will change.

  3. “We are not nameless or faceless,” Marsh had written. “We are not expendable, we are not satisfied with mediocrity, we are not willing to accept being average, we are not quitters.”—REPLY; you see- this is reason enough for us all to stick at this—these men were not expendable and not satisfied with mediocrity like we all saw from the SAIR report- the OSHA helped but we need Y O U to finally get it and come forward please with the facts, the documents THE TRUTH—these men deserve at least that much—

  4. They carried the packaged, military-style “meals, ready to eat” on the line, though they always hoped they would be spared from eating the stuff. Marsh liked to carry cans of Spam just in case. He’d sometimes heat it with an ignition fusee and slice off hunks to share. This time, there would be no chow line.====REPLY; since when did military style packages include fried shrimp- I did not get that when I was in the military yet retired firefighter Holly Neill discovered that in the lunch area near the fire edge when we took the retired smokejumper/nation’s best lead fire fatality expert Ted Putnam and retired firefighters who worked under Willis at one point in their career and they educated us to many areas on that hike and one was one of the men did not pack spam or military rations.

  5. We have had excellent journalism from Bill Gabbert here and John Dougherty to get some clarity to 6-30-13 and I guess we were hoping the same from your area since I did my best to help Michael Chow and many of your folks as we took our time out to hike you into the area- near the deployment zone. Your article had inaccuracies throughout the article but isn’t this generally the case with your articles? Thank God for Bill Gabbert and John Dougherty, et. al. who have covered this tragedy with careful investigative transparent efforts. We were some what disappointed by the article and we liked your original video you had not too long ago that we seen- Than what can you expect. We suspect you did the best you could even without making the whole hike.

  6. The third time, he wasn’t alone anymore.
    there was a mystery man on top of the mountain at that 2nd and third visit but no crew yet made it to the area—

  7. Sonny was an old prospector, a bourbon hound who sometimes lived in a tent or a cave. He spat contempt for what he called the cookie-cutter lives of townspeople.===-===REPLY: correction needed in article-
    I am not a bourbon hound nor do I spit contempt toward anyone. All my kids are city kids. But you are right, about me living in caves and tents and you used past tense and I did like a shot or 2 after a long shift as a miner of good whiskey- ok or Guiness stout. I do not need an apology. I am too old for that. I am very grateful to have made seventy years but I do laugh at people like you who can make judgments at a whim. Sorry you could not make it up the mountain and I hope our efforts to help you understand the situation the 19 faced-
    Happy New Year’s-
    we hope you are in better health next year.

  8. ALONE ON THE HILL is the title of that article yet 19 men were there and Joy and Sonny were there and BR was nearby and there was HOW MANY aircrafts we took photos of—so not sure I understand the title because even though media has not covered it Y O U do know there is more to this 6-30-13 and I just wish when you read the inaccuracies in the article that you can now come forward and do the RIGHT thing versus what is being glazed—alone on the hill.
    That would of been Joy had she stubbornly stayed when Tex (Sonny) left—she would of been alone on the hill but how is nineteen men equal “alone”????

  9. you can read about the GMHS on the link in here-

    I have to redo it John with his statements and break with my reply-
    delete other message.
    I do not have nor am I going to get facebook just to comment corrections but there is areas needing correction to the paper online that my brother-in-law saw-

    as follows:

    Joy Collura and Sonny “Tex” Gilligan set out from Congress before 4 on Sunday morning
    =====I never stated that to you Shaun- we came from Oak Park #15 and left and parked and began our hike on Foothill at 3:48am.

    Joy had moved to Congress 10 years before and bought a house with her husband.======I said I moved from Chandler to here in 2005 so about ten years.****

    But as they tried to get a closer look, the chaparral above Yarnell blocked their path at nearly every turn.======that is your narrative because it was the hill itself not vegetation that blocks views. *******

    Manzanita reached up 6, 8, sometimes 10 feet.=====again your narrative because we did not go through any tall- just chest high vegetation yet there was some in the distance in areas that height. I did not even talk about this on your sound recorder where you can say out of context- we did not walk through tall vegetation- **************

    He was tying ribbons to trees as he walked.=====bushes not trees. *****

    “What are you doing up here today?” the man asked.

    Joy studied him. He seemed pleasant enough, even though he seemed to be wearing some sort of official insignia.*****====
    listen I have no hang ups on any person so EVEN THOUGH he wore any official anything I am respectful and right to all- not liking how this was worded- inappropriate to who I am now Sonny is another story but do not make it out to me. ====****

    “I’m a hiker,” she said. “I wanted to see the fire for myself.”
    ====never said that on first conversation- ever.*******

    The man nodded. “So you know the area pretty well?”

    The three talked about different routes, paths up the mountain, before parting ways.======never happened. Eric asked me which we planned to head out on all conversations and never was there a talk/discussion about different routes- this is a misleading statement and should be omitted/retracted from article and I may contact a lawyer to have it retracted because that is very shady as it is left. Joy simply said on all talks the way they were headed “south on the mountain top than drop down in Glen Ilah and on first talk Joy never mentioned going to the fire or her intent to the area just that she was the hiker only and once on top she did mention wanting to see the fire since up there out of curiousity and there was no paths discussed just Sonny stated the old fire break- take that to the top to the fire when Eric asked best way to fire from our point”*****************

    The third time, he wasn’t alone anymore.=====he was alone when we spoke to Eric though- the men were soon to arrive- again misleading. ******

    A full crew of other men in yellow shirts headed up another trail – firefighters, lugging their gear==============.same trail not another trail-misleading again. *****

    The man they had first met took Joy and Sonny never hiked it and you do not know but again no Eric did not take us aside- ridiculous- Eric commented as he came down the hill the third time as we were already walking away never was pulled aside.*************

    “It’s better if I tell you this instead of someone with more authority,” he said. “You’re not geared up and you don’t have uniforms on. We can’t do retardant drops as long as you’re here. You need to get back to town.”======he never stated we had to get back to town ever- you narrated that- he did see we had to leave that area so they could make the drops because they cannot until we got out of that area. ************************

    Joy snapped a few photos before turning back. She watched the men as they headed up. To her, they looked tired, worn out.======more so to Sonny and Joy agreed because Sonny said to Joy they had the look that they were on their death march- ****************

    It would be more than a day later that Joy would learn she and Sonny had met Eric Marsh and the Granite Mountain Hotshots.====how about Joanna Dodder gets credit here and it was when she did her story when we learned about who they were-*******************

    To make headway, they would crawl under the manzanita, against the dirt, and then reach a dead end and have to retrace their steps. They saw evidence of a bear and a mountain lion, which could move easily through the thicket.==========that was in the morning not the afternoon- to save Joy’s life we had to go to the other side where there was huge boulders to slide down into tight vegetation but no crawling to a dead end on the Congress side.********

    But for them, the brush was like a maze.=====to anyone- really Shaun- you would of been tucked in bed not even knowing of the maze and you did not even complete the hike to see a sample but ANYONE would of had that same thought because its facts not perception. by the way I liked the original video I saved not the one there-


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