Remembering the Granite Mountain Hotshots

Granite Mountain Hotshots

Today marks a year since all but one of the 20 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed while fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona, June 30, 2013. A great deal of controversy still surrounds the incident, and the first two lawsuits were filed last week. But today I hope we can put those things aside and simply honor those 19 firefighters.

The media likes to call hotshot crews “elite”, and it is true — they are the best of the best. They are highly trained, extraordinarily physically fit professional firefighters, and excel as working as a team. That made it all the more shocking that they were suddenly taken from us.

Today let us grieve, again, for the loss. Our loss, their friends’ loss, and most of all the loss that their families will feel every day for the rest of their lives. Let us thank those 19 for their service, and pause for a few moments to honor their memory.

Granite Mountain Hotshots
Nineteen white hearses brought the Granite Mountain Hotshots back to Prescott, Arizona, July 7, 2013, An Honor Guard escort accompanied each Hotshot. Photo by Bill Gabbert.
Thousands of mourners said goodbye to the Granite Mountain Hotshots
Thousands of mourners said goodbye to the Granite Mountain Hotshots, June 9, 2014. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

19 Granite Mountain Hotshots


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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.

2 thoughts on “Remembering the Granite Mountain Hotshots”

  1. The past 2 days were difficult turning down many media requests and I saw Sean—CBS Morgan Loew camera guy coming out from my medical massage yesterday and because Morgan and Sean hiked both the GMHS trail areas and the way Tex (Sonny) took me and saved our lives but 19 men—correction; heroes did not make it out and we did—I honored Sean’s request to speak to Greg but I noticed Sean you did not air that but you did get my first time break down and I am sorry it was publicly shown but the past annual I saw the faces of these men from 6-30-13 not ever looking at media pics of the men really. Walking by and seeing the faces just brought it all back to the very spots I saw them 6-30-13 throughout the day. I just had a real decent medical massage and felt very balanced and in control especially my emotions until the end of the memorial as I passed the faces—I do not know HOW the families and loved ones who knew them do it—I am so heart broken. After walking away numerous stations wanted to talk and I was so in a daze I just answered their questions but I am very blessed to have spent the evening around love— the first person I ever met who told me the photos I had taken were of the GMHS Joanna Dodder and her husband Bruce and my last ever hike that had author Michael Kodas present as well as the Prescott Mayor and his family and some loved ones/friends of the GMHS—in honor of the 19 and Sonny who was not present we all drank Tullamoore Dew/Jameson/Jack Danielson and I had as well 3 Shirley Temples and many had guiness beer! Today is my birthday so I am not going to be online but I had to say thank you to all the support I saw from the Prescott Firefighting Community and thank you Wade Ward for I needed you at that very moment. It helped me a lot. I just looked at the photos and bawled—and kept thinking this should of never happened. I know I got the calls that people saw me on tv for that raw emotion and I am sorry for that because I hiked so many this past annual to the 19 area and all my tears were shed alone at the spot area the died not in some Courthouse public area and that was humiliating for me but I guess I just unraveled as I saw their faces. I wish people did not think about “lawyers” and “book sales” and there was a public area people can share their photos/accounts/videos freely so this YHF can be properly assessed because as much as I like Mike Dudley as a speaker on that recent youtube video—what a disservice him and Karels are doing—as I said to Storm King Technologies Jim Posh and his wife yesterday—it is about science and safety and common sense and as well people building in dense vegetation to carefully design their landscape look with some sort of defensible space in mind. I am very hurt deep inside that these children, widows and loved ones no longer have them yet until I pass on anyone who meets me will know about these heroes; the GMHS…I hope in God’s time for clarity and for the GMHS to continue on—and less politic rivalry in the firefighting community. Those are my hopes—
    Thank you to the loved ones of these fine men who came up to me and spoke to me or I recently hiked privately—that was a God thing—every day you all are on my mind— every second and not just the 19 but all affected by the YHF as well as all fallen heroes—

  2. Today I grieve for the families and friends of the GMIHC. Today I wish I would have maintained contact with Eric Marsh after he left NC for AZ. RIP!


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