Four years ago — Yarnell Hill Fire

Granite Mountain HotshotsFour years ago today, on June 30, 2013, 19 wildland firefighters were overrun by the Yarnell Hill Fire outside Yarnell, Arizona. One way to honor the service of the Granite Mountain Hotshots is for firefighters on this day to take 15 minutes and select one thing — one act, one task, one decision, one directive, or one action — that happened that day and discuss what it means to them. Just one. Don’t be tempted to point fingers, not today. Make it a positive learning experience.

Below is a short documentary produced by the Weather Channel that features the incident.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Perry.
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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.

4 thoughts on “Four years ago — Yarnell Hill Fire”

  1. I am correct in saying that unlike almost all municipal fire departments, the Federal Wildland system doesn’t have a procedure to declaring a mayday during a burnover?

  2. For me, its wondering if we need to train on how to manage rapidly expanding incidents better.


    My eyes heavy lidded and over flowing with thick sobby wet tears ..I am thinking that at 6:17am we were just approaching the same area the men died 4 years ago this day and how my mother called and I explained Sonny and I are arguing because he wants to go up this steep terrain but I want to scale the base where boulders and go around the boulder ridge.


    but when I think back I would ensure before ever going out that my men’s stamina was in check along with all my ongoing technology equipment and if I had a lot of monies like the government seems to spend than I would ensure all fire industry has able working radio equipment. I have hiked the area over the decades before and after and I myself would not as an avoidable person been okay with burning around me not knowing if flames hid on the other side…I am a worst case scenario gal so I would of kept moving towards the boulders by the cattle pond by Helms. If one or more of my men were injured (an incident within an incident) I would make it known to my Incident command center. If I was on the radio communication my trails I would clarify my left with north south west east directions or more detail to ensure a person knew what left meant. I would make sure to review and engrain the 10 and 18 and lces in my head and make sure not only I got it but my crew around me. If we all were scattered in strength and stamina I would pep talk the ones with energy to make sure we all make it out alive and ensure the decision I make and think it all out of worst case scenarios. I would be on my GPS of my cell and weather doing my own assessments. I would be aware of on the ground and all around including aerial. I would not allow my frustration of others tactics over ride my own decision making to ensure SAFETY is always first.

    I am sorry you all are gone but always will be remembered…it took me almost 3 weeks after June 30th 2013 to even comprehend what had happened for in the beginning I could not allow myself to connect and felt everyone’s got it covered…I had my own health stuff to concern to yet God took my hand and has had me on one tough journey as I have sat one on one with the loved ones and I always my entire life compartmentalized where I was not capable but these 19 men changed my life FOREVER and I will always persevere and be there to try and see change happen so SAFETY is always first and that LIVES DO MATTER!

    I am sorry nothing I ever do won’t bring back 19 fine men and it tears me up.

    Yet I will do anything to make sure it stops happening.

    This day will never be easy no matter the time that passes.

    My heroes…the GMHS


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