The creator of a new fire shelter says his product can withstand temperatures hotter than the flames that killed the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots in the Yarnell Hill Fire in June.
Jim Moseley, who developed the SunSeeker Fire Blanket, says the shelters can withstand temperatures of about 2,500 degrees -- about five times more than the shelters used by wildland firefighters today can withstand.
The Granite Mountain Hotshots were exposed to temperatures of about 2,000 degrees, according to the official report on the fire.
The father of fallen hotshot Travis Turbyfill showed up at the news briefing on that report, asking for an explanation about the shelters the crew deployed, which he claimed were inadequate.
Those shelters start to break down when exposed to temperatures around 500 degrees, and so many of the shelter's layers had burned away that investigators weren't sure whether Travis Turbyfill was able to fully enclose himself in his shelter before the flames came. The disintegrated shelter was found underneath his body.
Turbyfill, 27, died right next to 21-year-old crewmate Kevin Woyjeck, whom investigators determined did encase himself completely in his shelter. Much of Woyjeck's shelter burned away, too. His pants and part of his shirt also burned away, and his gloves were charred and shrunken. Half of his helmet melted. Neither Woyjeck nor any of the other men stood a chance of survival.
Turbyfill's father, Dave, didn't get any answers, although he did claim that better fire-shelter technology was being produced.
However, the SunSeeker company isn't producing these new shelters at this point -- the company's currently soliciting donations on its website.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.