January 21, 2017
The people spoke today.
Chapter I, Chapter II, Chapter II supplement, Chapter III, Chapter IV, Chapter V, Chapter VI, Chapter VII, Chapter VIII , Chapter IX, Chapter X, Chapter XI, Chapter XII , Chapter XIII, Chapter XIV, Chapter XV, Chapter XVI, Chapter XVII, Chapter XVIII, Chapter XIX, Chapter XX, Chapter XXI, Chapter XXII, Chapter XXIII and Chapter XXIV.
The Southwest Coordinating Group this week released an updated guideline for fighting wildfires in the “Wildland Urban Interface” and for structural protection.
“SWCG’s first and foremost intent is to protect human life (i.e. keep our firefighters and the public safe),” states the June 17 memo sent to Southwest Agency Administrators, incident commanders and zone chairs.
“Secondly, once firefighter and public safety has been established, firefighting responders and resources will work aggressively to keep any wildfire away from structures and communities.
“All strategies and tactics will be based on this intent; fully understanding we will not be able to protect structures in every situation.
“Management of risk to responders, fire behavior, resource availability, and other critical factors will all dictate and/or contribute to the appropriate strategy/strategies implemented.”
The memo was sent to the Arizona State Forestry Division, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, New Mexico State Forestry Division, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service.
The memo concludes stating: “Wildland fire resources across the Southwest generally do not have the responsibility per policy as well as the the capability and training to perform structure fire suppression actions.”
The Yarnell Hill fire investigation conducted by the U.S. Forest Service deliberately ignored information provided by a former hotshot superintendent that the leader of the Granite Mountain Hotshots had a documented history of making bad decisions in violation of basic wildfire safety rules, federal records and interviews reveal.
A second former hotshot superintendent also contacted the Forest Service investigation leader, Mike Dudley, and reported that his conversations with Yarnell Hill wildfire supervisors immediately after the fire pointed to human error by the crew’s leaders as the only plausible explanation for what happen.
The communications are among 2,400 pages of records obtained by InvestigativeMEDIA from a 2014 Freedom of Information Act request. The records were released earlier this year and are heavily redacted even though the investigation was completed in September 2013.
Granite Mountain Hotshot Superintendent Eric Marsh’s decision-making was called into question by men who had directly worked with Marsh, or were aware of his reputation with other hotshot superintendents, in the weeks following the June 30, 2013, tragedy when Marsh and 18 members of his crew were overrun by fire. [Read more…]