Yarnell Hill Fire: State Forestry Division Outlines Events Surrounding Hotshots' Deaths
The Yarnell Hill Fire on June 29.
Arizona State Forestry Division
The Arizona State Forestry Division has released an outline of the events surrounding the June 30 deaths of 19 firefighters in the Yarnell Hill Fire.
The timeline includes orders for resources to fight the fire -- orders that weren't necessarily filled -- and also mentions how people on the ground were notified of changing weather conditions.
This synopsis doesn't really provide any answers, and the investigative report on the fire still hasn't been released.
It says that the Granite Mountain Hotshots arrived at 8 a.m. June 30, and started working after an "operational, weather, and safety briefing."
The next note states that "competition existed from other fires, for airtankers."
"Two heavy airtankers ordered for Yarnell Hill Fire were diverted to the Dean Peak Fire near Kingman by SWCC [Southwest Coordination Center] at 9:40 a.m.," a later note states.
Throughout the afternoon, resources weren't showing up as ordered.
"Arizona Dispatch Center ordered two more heavy airtankers at 12:24 p.m. One heavy airtanker was assigned but the second was unable to be filled," the synopsis says. "The assigned heavy airtanker made multiple drops on the fire. Arizona Dispatch Center also ordered two more heavy helicopters. One helicopter was assigned, the second was unable to be filled. "
Those two heavy air-tankers ended up going back to Yarnell from Kingman around 12:30 p.m.
"Air Attack orders six additional heavy airtankers at 4:03 p.m.," the synopsis says. "SWCC unable to fill five of these air tanker requests. One heavy airtanker was committed out of Southern California (South Ops)."
The next note states that air tankers and helicopters were grounded due to thunderstorms and high winds around Prescott.
Then, at 4:47 p.m., word came in that an unknown number of firefighters had deployed their fire shelters. Those were the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots.
Aside from resources available, there have also been questions about what weather information was relayed to the Hotshots.
According to the synopsis, a Fire Behavior Analyst at the fire got word from the National Weather Service of changing weather conditions around the fire. The second update, given about an hour before the Hotshots died, warned of winds reaching 40 to 50 miles per hour.
"Information was passed on to Operations and each Division Supervisor by radio," the synopsis says. "Receipt of information was confirmed by Division Supervisors."
Again, this report doesn't include a great amount of information, so it's unclear what effect either of these conditions -- the fight for resources, and the communication of weather conditions -- had on the firefighting efforts.
Read through the synopsis below:
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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.
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