Yarnell Hill Fire Report Released
Photo illustration by New Times
The investigative report into the Yarnell Hill Fire has been released.
Perhaps the most important part of the report is the disclaimer, "This report does not identify causes in the traditional sense of pointing out errors, mistakes, and violations but approaches the accident from the perspective that risk is inherent in firefighting."
While the report does provide a few new details, it fails to provide answers for any number of questions.
Why did the Hotshots move from "the black," the safe area, into the box canyon where they ended up trapped by the fire? Why were the Hotshots even deployed to the fire, even though dispatch logs showed the command center said the Granite Mountain Hotshots were unavailable?
The five firefighting officials running the press conference today in Prescott also failed to provide answers to many questions. Prescott Fire Department Wildland Division Chief Darrell Willis didn't answer any questions, despite being present, and didn't do interviews after the press conference, as other fire officials did.
Willis' public statements in the aftermath of the fire have proven to be questionable. For example, he gave an interview to ABC News, in which he claimed the Hotshots may have survived had they received all the air-tankers they ordered from the U.S. Forest Service to fight the Yarnell Hill Fire.
This is debunked in two prominent places in the report (pages 99 and 100).
More information to come.
The report can be found on the next page.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.