Yarnell Hill Fire videos released

The Arizona State Forestry Division (ASFC) has posted on YouTube 21 videos recorded during the Yarnell Hill Fire The state received them on November 7, 2014 through a Freedom of Information Act request to the US Forest Service. The ASFD explained that “the videos are presented exactly as they have been received. The redactions were done before these videos came into the possession of Arizona State Forestry.”

On June 30, 2013 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots became entrapped by fire and died on the Yarnell Hill Fire south of Prescott, Arizona.

In portions of some of the videos, you can hear and at times understand radio conversations and firefighters near the cameras.

Below are links to the videos in the order that they were listed on the ASFD website. We embedded seven of them below the links with the corresponding video number. Like the ASFD said, the USFS provided absolutely no information about the videos, but they appear to be roughly in chronological order — this is not yet confirmed, however.

M2U00265 We posted a version of this video on YouTube on December 13, 2013,  but this one is higher quality and is about twice as long as the earlier edition. You can hear the radio traffic from the Granite Mountain Hotshots saying they are deploying their fire shelters.

M2U00266R — Firefighters discussing the radio traffic they heard earlier about the Granite Mountain Hotshots deploying fire shelters.

M2U00267 — Firefighters in an urban-interface area with scattered active fire. At 1:21 you can see what appears to be a propane tank venting, with the escaping gas burning.


M2U00268 — Shot from an ATV. Active fire can be seen at times.

M2U00272 — Firefighters near an ATV with active fire in the area.

M2U00273R — Shot from an ATV while travelling on a dirt road. It is possible that they are on a rescue mission to find the Granite Mountain Hotshots.

M2U00276R — Most of this video appeared to be shot from an ATV while it was traveling along a rough road, but at about 3:20 you can hear Blue Ridge, another hotshot crew on the fire, saying “18 confirmed”.



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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.

13 thoughts on “Yarnell Hill Fire videos released”

  1. On video M2U00276R @4:08, is that looking down into the deployment site? I think I can see some glints of light down in the flat.

  2. M2U00273R is Blue Ridge Captain leading a rescue/medical team into the area believed to be the deployment site. At 3:20 this is the cattle guard at 34.226559°N 112.762809°W and at 4:01 this the gate at 34.226028°N 112.765489°W. It corresponds to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8cEKBzlhws and Blue Ridge Statements, p.6 & 7, 1725 onward [https://wildfiretoday.com/2014/02/15/arizona-releases-statements-from-blue-ridge-hotshots-about-yarnell-hill-fire]. M2U00276R @ 1:35 ATVs are turned off and team starts walking towards the location that GM dropped off the ridge and into the canyon. I still can’t figure how a Polaris Ranger could negotiate its way down to the deployment site in 4-5 minutes.

  3. Seems these videos are different from what were said to be shown recently to the families? Curious and more curious.

    Any redactions should have an explanation given as to why. Post-burnover, it’s more plausible that some material may have no relevance beyond sensationalism. I still feel it quite likely that there’s more pre-burnover material that may fall out if the right branches are rustled. Likewise the gag of Blue Ridge seems less and less defensible. The relevance there is ensuring that the training and judgment issues are identified so that the same ones may be avoided in the future.

  4. Is anyone else interested in where these recordings were taken? I think these are correct locations for a couple of them:-

    M2U00266R: 34.22608, -112.7509
    M2U00267: 34.227323,-112.752942

  5. The question is how much was redacted and what was it. Left me with a lot of questions and not much more than we already knew.

  6. A bigger question is What information was redacted from the videos and Why was it redacted ? I watched all the videos and some of the later videos had blackouts and sound removed.

    1. I believe the times that are blacked out were blacked so as to not show the bodies. I respect that decision, there’s nothing further we’ll learn from seeing that last minute of video, and it seems (to me) to be respectful of the dead and their friends/family.

  7. FOIA from the USFS???

    Now there is a culture!!! A culture of not sharing or the lecturing to the gen real FFTR population that WE have to be more transparent, we as FFTR’s have to MEET the standard..yada yada yada

    Yep, I agree something fishy here. Lotta kahones at high places, yet the common sense and the forever FOUO over there at WO-FAM and the transparency factor coupled with the overuse of FOIA just goes to prove that a just and transparent culture is NATO…….No Action Talk Only

  8. The question must be asked, “Why does the Arizona State Forestry Division (ASFD) have to FOIA info from the Forest Service”?

    Something really stinks here and it looks more and more fishy!!

    Shame on the upper Forest Service management for putting in barriers and hoops in the way of learning and creating a safer fire community. Reminds me of the ongoing cover up of over 20 WCT deaths and THOUSANDS of documented injuries.


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