Chapter IV Comments

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Please begin Chapter IV  comments here:

Previous Comments:

Chapter I: http://www.investigativemedia.com/yarnell-hill-fire-investigation-ignored-major-mistakes-by-the-state/

Chapter II: http://www.investigativemedia.com/granite-mountain-hotshots-were-asked-if-they-could-protect-yarnell/

Chapter II supplement: http://www.investigativemedia.com/state-forestry-divison-fined-nearly-560000-for-mistakes-in-managing-yarnell-hill-fire-that-killed-19-hotshots/

Chapter III: http://www.investigativemedia.com/chapter-iii-for-comments/

Thank you, John

 

© Copyright 2014 John Dougherty, All rights Reserved. Written For: Investigative MEDIA

Comments

  1. Joy A. Collura says

    its wood post and 3 strand barbwire fence…to answer someone what I saw 6-30-13 and all my hikes to that area the past almost decade in the location of describing the fencing for the Helm’s-
    I confirmed it with another hiker and as well Yarnell local Buford-
    I knew it was that but Sonny threw me off trying to tell me it was stucco but I told Sonny that was the front gated area not the area in question-
    I hoped I answered the question I could not find and went with what Sonny told me to answer—
    I am not sure why I was asked that but Sonny said I needed to come and answer someone; I scrolled to find the question to put it in right spot but I am still so tired and cannot locate it. I don’t know why the fencing matters right by the Helm’s but I can tell you ANYONE who is respectful before the fire or even after would not go that close in the tight terrain area yet they would possibly curve around their hill there by the dry cattle ground tank and go up where they came down during daylight not dark—then you scale the base of boulders & tight terrain around to the old grader wash road- I feel bad that the terrain burnt away because the Helm’s had a lovely private spot and they lost that from that fire because not only is their tight green terrain not there but people sneak in the restricted area and at times people are on their land (Helm’s) not even realizing it. GOOGLE Yavapai Assessor and you will see they own outside the areas of that fencing as well but people do not do what I do and get written permission from land/home owners if I am hiking off state or BLM land- it’s a respect thing. I know who owns every spot I lay my feet.

  2. Gary Olson says

    and one more thing, I should have said see; the Loop Fire, the Battlement Creek Fire, the South Canyon Fire as far as hotshot deaths go, AND see, the YARNELL HILL FIRE.

  3. Connor says

    Has any one listened to Roberts Caldwells Second video. Im pretty sure this is the conversation between marsh and ops saying to hunker down and stay safe. Not sure if this has been mentioned yet. Way to many posts on this site with no real relevance to anything.

  4. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** THE SAIT DID USE THE WORDS ‘MOPPING UP’ TO DESCRIBE
    ** THE FIRE STATUS ON SATURDAY MORNING.

    This is a follow-up to a previous post where Sitta wondered if the
    words ‘mop up’ or ‘mopping up’ were ever actually used to describe
    the status of the Yarnell HIll Fire on Saturday morning… when all
    reports agree the fire was only 2-4 acres and showing ‘little to
    no fire activity’.

    As it turns out… that is exactly how the SAIT described it.

    Here is Sitta’s original question… and my initial reply…

    >> WTKTT reply to Sitta post on February 10, 2014 at 8:20 am
    >>
    >>>> Sitta wrote…
    >>>>
    >>>> Mop up may take place on quiet sections of a large, uncontained fire.
    >>>> Usually, though, the mop up phase doesn’t really begin until the whole fire
    >>>> is lined. I was under the impression that on Saturday the crews were
    >>>> still containing the fire (building line around it), not mopping up. Do the
    >>>> details or records exist that can more clearly tell us what was actually
    >>>> going on?
    >>
    >> Not really. There are some vague descriptions and clues and, of course
    >> the photographs from Saturday.
    >>
    >> ALL of the official reports ( and SAIT interviewees ) agree that on Saturday
    >> morning there was no visible fire, little or no smoke, and descriptions
    >> vary from ‘Fire was very minor’ to ‘Fire showing no activity’ and ‘Fire
    >> was only 2-4 acres’.
    >>
    >> They all also agree that everyone assumed the fire was ‘contained on
    >> all four sides’ and never grew in size all day… until it jumped the road.
    >>
    >> The ONLY report that even mentions what the DOC Lewis crew’s actual
    >> ASSIGNMENT was that morning is the ADOSH report which says this…
    >>
    >> “At 1100 a BLM helicopter transported seven firefighters to the top of the ridge.
    >> One helitack crew member and six DOC Lewis Crew firefighters hiked in the
    >> rest of the way ( for a total of 14 firefighters there at the 2-4 acre fire site ) to
    >> construct handline, cold trail and hot spot.”
    >>
    >> So the words ‘mop-up’ are never specifically mentioned, but the actual
    >> source for this quote and/or who ever said that was their actual
    >> assignment is also not mentioned in the ADOSH report, or
    >> anywhere else.

    As it turns out… that is an incorrect statement I made.

    The OFFICIAL SAIT documentation DOES say that one of the things DOC Lewis
    crew was actually doing on Saturday morning/afternoon was simply ‘mopping up’
    ( their words ) the Yarnell Hill Fire.

    The specific words ‘mopping up’ were written by the SAIT investigation team itself
    in their preliminary report that they released just 72 hours after the incident
    and after the first pass of interviews.

    That original 72 ‘summary’ report from the SAIT is still online here…

    http://www.azsf.az.gov/system/files/documents/files/Yarnell%20Hill%20Fire%20Summary%20Revised%207-18-2013%2016%2030.pdf

    It contains one of the only specific quotes about what the Lewis DOC crew’s
    actual ‘assignment’ was on Saturday morning, June 29, 2013.

    That quote is as follows…

    “A six man squad from Lewis Crew and one BLM helitack crewman were flown
    into the fire ( Saturday, 10:30 AM ) by the BLM light helicopter.
    ( An additional 7 members of the DOC Lewis crew ‘hiked in’ to the same spot
    for a total of 14 firefighters there at the 2-4 acrew fire showing little to no activity
    at that time. ) Firefighters made progress hot-spotting the few active areas and
    MOPPED UP (extinguishing burning material) along the two track jeep road.”

    NOTE: The SAIT specifically says they were just ‘mopping up’ AND that their
    focus ( all day? ) was ‘extinguishing burning material along the two track
    jeep road’. This is the very ‘jeep road’ where the fire would ‘escape’ more
    than FIVE hours later after these 14 men had been working up there all day.

    This preliminary SAIT report released just 72 hours after the Yarnell incident
    is also the ONLY official document that gives any detail at all about what
    happened later that afternoon… when the fire ‘jumped the jeep road’ and
    became the fire that would need to be fought on Sunday.

    That quote is as follows…

    “At about 4:30 p.m. a small unburned island on the east side of the fire
    flamed up and spotted across the two track jeep road on the east side
    (called a “slopover”).”

    That mention of a ‘small unburned island’ is never mentioned again in
    any other official report. All the (final) official reports simply said that
    sometime around 4:30 PM the fire that had been ‘fully contained on
    all sides’ for over 5 hours suddenly ( and inexplicably ) ‘jumped the jeep road’.

    So even though the SAIT specifically says the Lewis DOC crew was
    just ‘hot-spotting’ and ‘mopping up’ all day ( along the two-track jeep
    road ) there still is no evidence whether they were using any ‘indirect
    attack’ or ‘burnoffs’ of their own to accomplish that… or whether any
    such ‘manual burnoff’ might have been how the fire “accidentally”
    escaped over the jeep road circa 4:30.

    >> On February 15, 2014 at 3:16 pm, Observer asked…
    >>
    >> WWKTT- Why the quotation marks around “accidentally”?
    >> Are you still of the opinion that group was setting a line of
    >> fire that got out of control?

    Observer…

    Short answer: I no longer believe they were ever doing any large,
    organized ‘line burnouts’ that day… but YES… I still believe it is
    POSSIBLE that this documented flare-up of just a ‘small island of
    unburned material’ might have been manually ignited as part of
    the ‘cleanup’ and ‘mopping up’ the SAIT says they were doing up
    there all day.

    Longer answer…

    RTS and others have already pointed out that if they actually had been set
    up to do any kind of major ‘line burnout’ ( for over a mile as one of the rumors
    that was circulating later that night said ) then there would have most probably
    been a lot of ‘radio traffic’ about that ‘event’ and I now agree with everyone
    else about that…

    …but it might not have been such an organized ‘line burnout’ at all.

    See the quote from the SAIT itself in their preliminary report where the
    actual cause of the ‘escape’ was listed as simply a ‘small unburned
    island’ near the jeep trail…

    “At about 4:30 p.m. a small unburned island on the east side of the fire
    flamed up and spotted across the two track jeep road on the east side
    (called a “slopover”).”

    So that doesn’t sound like any kind of organized ‘line burnout’ event,
    planned or not.

    It was either this ‘small unburned island’ flaring up all by itself OR it
    was just a small ‘indirect cleanup burn’ that was manually initiated in
    order to ‘clear out’ that little ‘unburned island’ about an hour before they
    were supposed to all be air-lifted out of there.

    Russ Shumate’s original plan was to helicopter them out of there by
    15:30 that afternoon… so I still think it’s possible they might have
    decided themselves to just try and ‘clear out’ that little ‘unburned
    island’ themselves about an hour before they were supposed to
    finish their shift… and something went wrong.

    I also don’t think that, unlike a full planned ‘line burnout’, that that kind
    of simple burnoff/cleanup work just to clear out little ‘unburned
    islands’ would have been something that would have generated any
    radio traffic at all. It would have just been part of whatever they were
    doing up there that day.

    Don’t forget that these kind of little ‘burnouts down/back to roads’ was
    exactly what Granite Mountain was doing after they arrived at the exact
    same ‘anchor’ area the NEXT morning… and they felt no need to have
    management fully informed about every little fire they were setting on
    purpose. It was just part of Marsh’s chosen ‘indirect attack’ approach and
    they were just going about their business lighting back-fires and whatnot.

    There is no evidence that the Lewis crew ever did any ‘indirect attack’
    or ‘backfires’ or ‘small burnouts’ up there on Saturday at all… but
    then again… there is no real evidence WHAT they were EVER really doing
    up there that day… except eventually running out of chainsaw gas and then
    being able to get any more even after that ‘small unburned island’ flared
    up ( somehow ) at 4:30 PM and jumped the jeep road.

    It’s not all that likely they, themselves, caused the fire to jump the road…
    but I believe it’s still possible that might have been what actually happened.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Typo in second-to-last paragraph above.

      The DOC Lewis crew was UNABLE to get anyone to bring them
      any more chainsaw gas once they ran out… so they lost the
      use of their chainsaws BEFORE the fire suddenly ‘jumped the
      two-track road’.

      Whether that loss of the use of their chainsaws caused them to
      actually switch to using ‘small burnouts’ to finish their work
      before their shift was supposed to end at 1530 is probably
      just one more good question that needs to be answered about
      what really happened up there on Saturday.

  5. mike says

    The BR notes clearly indicate there were civilians still in town later than I realized, probably well after 1700. Does it not seem that the wind shift that killed GM might have actually saved lives in Yarnell? The shift it seems to me probably slowed the progress of the fire towards Yarnell just enough for people to get out. If the fire had continued running full tilt at Yarnell, it seems like it would have gotten there even quicker, and likely overrun some civilians. Correct me if I am wrong, but the recent comment (in one of the entities’ claims denial) that the evacuations were a success in that no one died is “head in the sand” to the max. That no civilians died is looking more and more like a blooming miracle.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to mike post on February 15, 2014 at 5:39 pm

      >> mike said…
      >> That no civilians died is looking more and more like
      >> a blooming miracle.

      Yes, it is.

      Have you not seen the scary video taken by a Glen Ilah resident
      as he was evacuating from deep within the Glen Ilah subdivision
      at pretty much the exact moment the deployment site
      burnover was taking place?

      That video is here on YouTube…

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_AjhL448ZA

      The first few ‘segments’ in the video were filmed from his
      house in Glen Ilah on Saturday night… and the fourth and
      fifth segments were shot from his driveway in Glen Ilah about
      3:45 PM on Sunday, June 30, 2013… but the SIXTH segment
      shows him evacuating in the nick of time on Sunday afternoon.

      As the ‘evacuation’ segment in his video starts… the resident is
      exactly (only) 1,382 yards due east of the deployment site itself
      at exactly 1648 ( 4:48 PM ).

      It is pitch dark. Houses are on fire all around him and fields
      fully ablaze as he follows a DPS Ambulance out to safety.

      I originally posted ALL the details about this video ( times,
      latitudes, longitudes of all the moments in the video, etc. )
      over in Chapter 3 of this ongoing discussion.

      Here’s a quick summary from that original posting…

      WantsToKnowTheTruth on January 2, 2014 at 10:13 pm said:

      ** VIDEO SHOT BY GLEN ILAH CITIZEN ON JUNE 30, 2013
      ** WAS TAKEN AT THE EXACT MOMENT OF BURNOVER
      ** OUT AT THE DEPLOYMENT SITE.

      A few days ago, Eric found some videos on YouTube taken
      in Yarnell on June 30, 2013.

      ONE of the videos Eric found, taken by a citizen of Glen Ilah
      ( which shows him evacuating his house in the nick of time at
      the western edge of Glen Ilah that afternoon ), has turned
      out to be quite important because of exactly WHEN and
      WHERE he shot this video.

      In this video, at +1:12, right after he says “There goes a
      neighbor’s f***ing house… Holy s**t”… the camera pans down
      for a moment and we see the fully lighted instrument panel in
      his car.

      An LED panel on the dashboard says…

      Time: 4:48 PM
      Temperature: 97 degrees F.

      4:48 PM is at or about the exact time of the burnover at the
      deployment site… and the camera is actually only 1,382 yards
      away from the deployment site itself at the moment he is filming
      himself evacuating. The sky is PITCH BLACK at that moment
      and it looks like the middle of the night.

      Here are the YouTube details on that video…

      YouTube title: Yarnell Fire
      Published on Jul 19, 2013
      By YouTube User: fathomsuperfly ( 5 videos )
      YouTube About Information: Yarnell Fire. This is my escape
      from Glen Ilah, neighborhood that got the worst of the fire.

      The first THREE ‘segments’ in the video appear to have been
      shot from the driveway of his home in Glen Ilah sometime just
      after sundown on Saturday, June 29, 2013.

      The next TWO segments appear to have been shot sometime around 3:45 PM on Sunday, June 30, 2013. Again… both of
      these videos are being shot from the driveway of his home in
      the western part of Glen Ilah… where we will then see him
      evacuating from in the next segment at 4:48 PM.

      The smoke cloud is building fast just to the north.

      The SIXTH segment begins the sequence of videos he shot
      while actually evacuating from his home at 4:48 PM the afternoon
      of July 30, 2013.

      That is pretty much the exact moment when the burnover was
      taking ( or had just taken ) place at the deployment site just
      1,382 yards due west of where he is now shooting video.

      It is TOTALLY DARK at that moment, in that area, as if it were
      the ‘dead of night’.

      As usual… with any latitude,longitude values shown below, just
      cut-and-paste the line with the comma separating the two values
      into the address bar of Google Maps, hit ENTER, and a GREEN
      ARROW will be pointing to the exact location.

      ** Segment: Start: +0:41 End: +0:43

      Late afternoon, Sunday, July 30, 2013. Circa 3:45 PM.

      Shot from the end of the driveway of his home, out near Ridgeway
      drive, and looking north/northwest down Ridgeway Drive.

      The wind is blowing pretty hard.

      Camera location is exactly here…

      22906 Ridgeway Dr, Yarnell, AZ 85362

      34.217616, -112.764221

      He is at almost the western edge of Glen Ilah and the distance
      from where he is standing ( his house ) to the center of the
      deployment site itself ( due west ) is…

      4147.74 ft
      1382.58 yards
      0.7 mile(s)

      The distance from the camera location, due west, to the center
      of the Boulder Springs Ranch is…

      2128.38 ft
      709.4 yards
      0.1 mile(s)

      ** Segment: Start: +0:44 End: +0:51

      Shot from almost the same location as the previous segment,
      just a few moments later.

      Shows the small white house with a grey roof that appears to
      be the camera operator’s actual residence.

      He is now standing IN his own yard panning the camera south
      instead of north.

      Camera location is exactly here, near the tree in his yard…

      34.217565, -112.764118

      ** THE START OF HIS EVACUATION FROM GLEN ILLAH
      **
      ** Segment: Start: +0:52 End: +1:10

      This is the segment that is later in the afternoon on June 30, 2013,
      but starts out completely BLACK because of the smoke cloud
      now overhead.

      He is evacuating now.

      We see him pulling out of the driveway of his home and about
      to head north on Ridgeway Drive.

      ** Segment: Start: +1:11 End: +1:17

      He has just left his driveway, is heading north on Ridgeway Drive
      and we see him taking a right-hand turn onto Westward Drive to
      head east and out of Glen Ilah.

      Visbility is almost ZERO at this point.

      At +1:12, right after he says “There goes a neighbor’s f***ing
      house… Holy s**t”… the camera pans down for a moment
      and we see the fully lighted instrument panel in the car.

      An LED panel on the dashboard says…

      Time: 4:48 PM
      Temperature: 97 degrees fahrenheit

      • sonny says

        There is other videos like this we have seen from people but has not been made public. We left much later than this man and saw much more damage before leaving that June 30th, 2013. These are videos I wish people who shared to us would share to you all or share to us in a way we can share to you all. Enough keeping this quiet. We believe what we saw that day plus others’ accounts is very important for you all here to properly assess this fire as Joy feels strongly about that people should do the right thing and share what they have no matter how tiny of information.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Reply to sonny post on Feb 16, 2014 at 5:22 pm

          Thank you, sonny. Totally agree.

          No detail is too small when it comes to piecing
          together ( for posterity’s sake ) exactly what
          happened that entire weekend in Yarnell.

          People deserve to know.

          I believe the significant thing about the video
          posted above is that it was shot at exactly the
          time ( or just minutes after ) the burnover
          event out at the deployment site and will probably
          turn out to be the closest video to the actual deployment area shot around that time, unless
          the Boulder Springs Ranch security cameras
          were still recording video at that time.

          The camera was only 1,382 yards east of the
          deployment site and only 709 yards away from
          the center of the Boulder Springs Ranch.

          Question for you ( or anyone )…

          Does ANYONE know where Yarnell Fire Chief
          Jim Koile was all day on either Saturday ( June 29 )
          or Sunday ( June 30 )?

          Did he remain ‘in town’ that weekend and was
          he present at the Yarnell Fire Station… or out
          helping with evacuations when the time came
          on Sunday?

          There is some mention of him in the official
          reports regarding Friday, June 28… but then
          there is then absolutely NO mention of him at all
          for the rest of that weekend… or even for the
          days following the incident on Sunday.

          If Chief Koile was NOT there that weekend…
          then who was manning the Yarnell Fire Station?

  6. Bob Powers says

    Elizabeth — a little more specific would be better. If Hot Shots were being asked to take there trucks or ATV and make sure residences were being evacuated that’s possible and still work within the 10 and 18 as you move but not on foot assisting the Sheriff’s. Granit mountain was not in that position where they were. If your saying BR took there ATV and tried to find the crew that also is doable with Safety and not getting in a jackpot them selves.
    This whole statement seems to be trying to make a story that makes Granit Mountain Hero’s which dose not fit where they were what they were doing or how long it would have taken to get to town. If your talking BR Brown trying to find the crew follow his route he stayed in the BLACK during his search with the other 2 ATV’s. He was staying safe. Granit mountain was not in a position to help any one and should have stayed in the BLACK.

    • Bob Powers says

      OK read the BR statements. Fire Fighters for years have ran thru jumped thru flames to a safer location. Driving ATV’s on a road thru flames to the cold black at 25 to 35 MPH after checking the situation That’s not a violation of the 10 and 18 that I know of They had all the info to make that happen with out injury. They did not need LCES to do that.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Looks like ADOSH simply just got around to fulfilling all the
        pending FOIA requests and everyone simply got their
        CDs last week. The Blue Ridge logs are just the same
        REDACTED stuff that ADOSH got at the last minute
        before they released their report.

        I don’t know what else might be in the logs… but that
        simple Arizona Republic article doesn’t really tell us
        anything we hadn’t already figured out over here.

        Matter of fact… the article is actually still WRONG about
        some things.

        All THREE of the PNF hires Jason Clawson, Aaron Hulburd
        and KC (Casey) ‘Bucky’ Yowell had ‘joined’ Frisby and
        Brown with the other two UTVs… and not just two of them
        as the article is reporting.

        The only real ‘dangerous’ part was also what we already
        figured out over here… and that was making it to the
        St. Joseph Shrine parking lot and then the final 200 yards
        to the Youth Camp so they could then take a ‘left’ onto
        that cutover road that they already knew was fully
        bulldozed and would be ‘safe to travlel’ because that’s
        where Blue Ridge had been working all day.

        The rest of the trip was ‘hot’ ( with probably side of
        the road spot fires ) but essentially all ‘in the black’
        by that time.

        I wonder if the ADOSH release(s) this week were
        ONLY the Blue Ridge logs… or whether some people
        finally now have ALL of the material that we know they
        had before they published their report.

        I would be particularly interested to know if ADOSH
        released notes/transcripts of their known interviews
        with Justin Smith, Jake Guadiana and other members
        of the DOC Lewis crew who worked the fire Saturday.

        Justin Smith was the ICT4(T) trainee that Russ Shumate
        specifically hired on Friday to work the incident on
        Saturday. Russ was letting HIM ‘run the fire’ for most
        ( all? ) of Saturday… right through the ‘incident’ where
        the fire jumped over the jeep trail and became the fire
        that had to be fought on Sunday.

        Jake Guadiana was the DOC Lewis crew boss who
        was actually out there with the crew as they worked
        that small 2-4 acre fire all day Saturday… until it
        ‘accidentally’ escaped over the road around 4:30 PM.

        I’d also love to see the FULL Blue Ridge logs ( or at least
        have an idea of what was redacted… and WHY )… but
        looks like that might only be available after the trials,
        if ever.

        • Observer says

          WWKTT- Why the quotation marks around “accidentally”? Are you still of the opinion that group was setting a line of fire that got out of control?

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            I don’t believe it as much as I did at first
            when studying what happened on Saturday…
            but yes… I still believe it’s a possibility.

            I’d still like to hear more from the people that
            were actually out there that day.

            We KNOW that ADOSH has interviewed
            all the DOC Lewis Crew bosses and some
            of the crew that were actually out there
            that day… but the ADOSH report never
            really reported any details from those
            interviews. Even the ADOSH report
            doesn’t say exactly what happened
            that afternoon.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Followup…

              Observer… see a longer answer
              to your question up above which
              also contains new information
              about the SAIT itself describing
              what the Lewis Crew was doing
              as ( their words ) ‘mopping up’.

              That post is now just up ABOVE
              this one since the thread itself
              just seemed to have changed
              to listing ‘last postings first’.

              It has the following date and title…

              On February 15, 2014 at 11:04 pm
              WantsToKnowTheyTruth said:

              ** THE SAIT DID USE THE
              ** WORDS ‘MOPPING UP’
              ** TO DESCRIBE THE FIRE
              ** STATUS ON SATURDAY
              ** MORNING.

  7. gary olson says

    And one more thing…I was asked almost 10 years ago to donate a Happy Jack Hotshot crew t-shirt to the WFF, and I called around and found a never worn shirt that a friend of mine had in a trunk that I sent to them, which you can see on display if you ever visit their museum. In addition…I offered other Happy Jack and Santa Fe Hotshot crew memorabilia I had to them in the process. So…as you can see, I have been a supporter and believer in the WFF mission for a long time myself, but I am concerned about Brendan’s overall future…even if I would like him to tell us what he knows.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      The more I read all the investigation notes and compare them
      with other ‘tidbits’ from the three ‘official’ reports released… the
      more I think that Brendan might not be the only one who has
      some of the answers. ( I’m leaving Willis out of the equation
      for the moment ).

      I think it’s possible that Prescott FF Marty Cole also knows more
      than he has ever said to anyone.

      It’s still sort of a mystery what was actually going on with
      Brendan once Marsh broadcasted his “We are deploying”
      message. About the only thing we know for sure is that
      Brendan was there in the Ranch House Restaurant parking
      lot along with everyone else… and he STAYED there
      throughout all of the anxious moments following that last
      transmission from Marsh… and on up until the point where
      Ranger 58 thought they had ‘found them’ up at the anchor
      point, the ground rescue team was organized, and that’s
      when Brian Frisby got with Brendan and obtained the actual
      GM Crew Manifest for the day directly FROM Brendan.
      Frisby gave it to Captain Trueheart Brown before they left
      on the ground rescue mission. It was physically in Brown’s
      possession when they all finally ended up at the ACTUAL
      deployment site.

      After that ( Brendan giving Frisby the GM crew manifest in the
      parking lot ) the only thing we know is that Marty Cole met up
      with Brendan and Cole says he ‘collected’ Brendan and was
      then ‘taking care of him at that point’.

      I find it inconceivable, given the circumstances at that moment
      ( no one was still really SURE where the heck they deployed ),
      that Marty Cole didn’t at least ask Brendan some simple/relevant
      questions like….

      “What happened?”
      and/or
      “Do YOU know why they left the black and where they were going?”
      and/or
      “Do YOU know where they might really be right now?”

      I would also find it equally inconceivable that if Marty Cole had
      even asked Brendan these kinds of simple ( but important )
      questions… that Brendan would have said…

      “No comment”.

      So yea… it’s perfectly possible that PNF FF Marty Cole and
      anyone else who was near Brendan ( even BR guys ) as
      the tragedy unfolded ( and there was NOTHING more important
      at that moment than determining WHERE they might REALLY
      be )… possibly heard Brendan say some things that haven’t
      surfaced yet.

      • gary olson says

        I keep focusing on Brendan (and yes, I leave Darrell Willis out of it for obvious reasons), because it was his crew that died. Marty Cole is a true insider in the Prescott Fire Department and he is unlikely to cross the “Red Line”, which is very similar to the “Blue Line”, only for firemen…I’m just sayin’.

        I don’t think the Blue Ridge Hotshots or anyone just standing near Brendan would have the information.

        • mike says

          So Elizabeth gets the BR unit logs and they confirm her belief that Granite Mountain was moving in order to possibly save lives. Setting aside the merits of that, how could she say such a thing? The only way that really makes sense is if BR was asked to do the same thing. So was there a request to BR that indirectly tells us what was requested of GM?

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Well… if you read carefully to Elizabeth’s
            ‘codetalk’… I think what she was really
            trying to say ( including that stupid question )
            is that she now has proof that a Type 1
            Hotshot who was in Yarnell that same day
            would ‘ignore the rules’ in order to save
            lives ( E.g. Fellow firefighters in trouble ).

            That’s the interpretation she is probably
            putting onto Frisby or Brown’s statement
            in a Unit log about going on the ground
            rescue mission when they describe that
            moment with ‘Fuck it… let’s go for it’.

            That seems to be the ‘translation’ of her
            comments above… but I’m not sure I
            have the full hang of her style of
            ‘speaking in riddles’ yet.

            If that is what she is talking about… I think
            she fails to grasp that ( while certainly
            risky ) the decision to go on the rescue
            mission was actually NOT going to ‘violate
            standard WFF rules’ nearly as much as
            what GM did.

            They were going to ‘travel in the black’
            out to that ridge… and nothing else. I’m
            sure if they hadn’t been able to do that
            ( all the way ) they would have turned back.

            Ranger 58 was hovering right over their
            destination and had ‘eyes on them’ the
            entire way. We still don’t know for sure
            whether Ranger 58 advised them that
            the trails were ‘all black’ out that way
            before they even left on the mission.

            It was a risk… but the rules WERE in place.

            • mike says

              Nope, not buying that. She is a lawyer and words mean things. Saying that GM was moving to save lives because BR was later willing to do the same is a non sequitur, would be jumping to a conclusion without evidence. Now she was hinting there was evidence for GM’s motivation in those logs. She specifically said the logs confirmed her view that GM moved to save lives. She was using the later example to refute the suggestion that WFF do not do that. if it involves breaking the rules.

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                Okay. Whatever.

                Not going to play THIS game.

                There are enough ‘riddles’
                to go around without someone
                now just ‘hinting’ at something
                in a Unit log and leaving us
                to guess what she really
                means.

                I guess we’ll just wait and see
                if she really ever DOES say
                exactly what she meant.

                I hope she does.

                • mike says

                  This is covered in the Az Republic today. Their story is about the rescue mission solely. The logs came via ADOSH, and were significantly redacted by the USFS. Wonder if these will be posted anytime soon.

                  • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                    Well… it’s exactly
                    what I thought,
                    then. The log
                    just describes
                    some of their
                    incremental
                    decision making
                    as they worked
                    they way out
                    to where Ranger
                    58 was hovering
                    over what they
                    first thought
                    was the
                    deployment site.

                    This article doesn’t really tell us anything we hadn’t already figured out over here.

                    Matter of fact… the article is wrong about some things.

                    All THREE of
                    the PNF hires Clawson, Hulburd and Yowell were with Frisby and Brown, and not just two of them as reported in the article.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Copy that. The reason I leave Willis out of this
          particular equation is because even though it’s
          also perfectly possible Willis heard the same
          ‘everything’ that took place from (say) 3:50 to
          4:20 PM over the intra-crew frequency…

          …we KNOW ( for sure ) that Brendan did.

          It’s possible Willis only heard SOME of it… but
          we KNOW Brendan heard ALL of it.

          At the very least… I wish Brendan would come out
          and tell us we are all full of shit… and that he
          never heard anything other than what he has
          already reported hearing… and that even the
          official reports are WRONG when they say he
          heard ALL of the crucial ‘decision making’
          that day.

  8. gary olson says

    FYI – In the article I read a few days ago in Prescott, it said than Brendan would remain in Prescott for his new job with the WFF, which is what my post said.

    I have some real concerns about Brendan. From everything I have picked up on to date, Brendan has not told anyone, or at least anyone who is making the information public, everything he knows about what happened on the Yarnell Hill Fire.

    The reason I mentioned Brendan in my previous post was an attempt to put more of the spotlight on him, and to remind everyone that Brendan knows things he isn’t hasn’t made public, and I think he owes it to his crew, and everyone who was paying his salary on the Yarnell Hill Fire to report everything he knows about what happened on that fire. To the public…to you and to me, period.

    Elizabeth has commented in the past that we should be careful about putting anyone who was there that day on the spot to tell what they know. I on the other hand, do not think you can make an omelet with breaking some eggs, and I am willing to break as many eggs as necessary to get the truth. The public both needs to know what happened on the Yarnell Hill Fire, and the public has a right to know everything that happened on the Yarnell Hill Fire. Period.

    I did not intend to put a big spotlight on the WFFF, yes…I am really glad they are doing what they are doing…kudos to them. But no…I don’t believe setting Brendan up from Prescott, to travel around the country to raise money through donations by continually reliving his experiences or putting him forward as a grief counselor for future wildland firefighting victims is the right thing to do…for anyone. It is just my opinion, and this is after all, an opinion blog.

    Secondly, the most important (I thought) part of my comment was to address to BOMBSHELL that RTS dropped in his previous comment about Eric Marsh. Especially the part of his comment that stated he has more examples to come of Eric Marsh being willing to take risks that no other hotshot crew bosses were in order to make some dumbass line overhead happy.

    The implications of those revelations, in conjunction with conclusions that both WTKTT and I arrived at regarding the significance of Eric Marsh’s recent employee evaluations is, I believe, the answer to the question we have all been asking, “Why did the Granite Mountain Hotshots die?”

    And I want to state one more time, my absolute conviction based on all of my experience, training, and background that the employee appraisal that Eric Marsh got was the beginning of his permanent removal as GMHS Superintendent, and quite possibly the termination of his employment with the Prescott Fire Department, if he did not change his ways ASAP as far as Darrell Willis was concerned. And that meant accepting the fact that Darrell Willis, Chief Fraijo and the City of Prescott was playing fast and loose with the rules. Darrell Willis was going to replace Eric Marsh with Jesse Steed because Jesse Steed was willing to play ball and sign what Willis put in front of him. Period.

    Finally, I did say in my comment that “I presumed” Brendan was surrounded on a daily basis by a “support group”, and that was one of the big reasons why I thought he should have stayed with the Prescott Fire Department. And none of the former Granite Mountain Hotshots who are now full-time Prescott firemen were qualified to be firemen when they were on the hotshot crew, but that is the point of the GMHS, they were a training and recruiting platform for almost all future Prescott firemen. I have the impression there are a couple of dozen former GMHS who are now firemen.

    And I don’t think anybody told Brendan he did not have a future with the Prescott Fire Department. Prescott, Arizona, and the surrounding area loves the Granite Mountain Hotshots, their memory and their sacrifice. I don’t think any chicken shit city manager would have risked the wrath of the community by not doing the right thing by Brendan. But hey…once again, that is just my opinion…for whatever it is worth.

    • gary olson says

      Besides, the wrath of the Citizens of Prescott is beside the point. Law enforcement and fire fighters take care of their own….period. The Prescott Fire Department would have taken care of Brendan. Just as almost every other uniquely identifiable group almost always takes care of their own.

  9. Elizabeth says

    Two things, unrelated to asparagus:
    1. RTS, I am sorry that I offended you with my post a couple of days ago. I was not trying to be “Queen” – I only offered my comments because I know that so many of the families of the men who died read on-line media sources like this one, and I thought I had a few relevant comments to share. I apologize for offending you, RTS. I have the highest respect for you, and I remain grateful that you share your time and insight.
    2. For the *current* Hotshots reading this thread, here is a question: Would YOU personally be willing to violate the 10 and 18 if your grandmother was in danger of burning to death if you did not violate the 10 and 18 to try to get to her to save her?

    • Bob Powers says

      That is the stupidest question I have ever heard. The 10 and 18 deal directly with wild land Fire not saving people or buildings.
      If the people you are responsible for are in trouble you would do what you could but violating safety would just add you to the fatality list. Untrained and unequipped people running into a building usually don’t come out. You make that decision on your own you don’t drag a crew with you. I do not know of any wild land fire where anyone tried to save some one and broke the rules. They are not designed for that scenario……….

      • mike says

        However, a related scenario might have been in play at the YHF. Was Granite Mountain asked to move to Yarnell for structure protection, or for evacuations AND structure protection. The exact nature of Musser’s request is not known publicly. No, they were not going to run into burning buildings, but being asked to help with evacuations might have increased the pressure to move to Yarnell.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          I believe this question has gone around the room
          before and while we still do NOT know the exact
          nature of the request(s) that went out to
          Marsh/Steed/crew ( but we know they did )… I
          think the consensus before with regards to ‘helping
          (specifically) with evacuations’ was…

          How in the heck are 19 guys on foot with heavy
          packs and chainsaws and pulaskis supposed
          to help ‘evacuate’ anyone… without becoming
          just 19 more people without transportation
          that would then need to be evacuated as well?

          If they really needed help with ‘evacuations’… then
          all the resources to do that were NOT 2 miles
          away sitting on a ridge… they were all assembled
          in the Ranch House Restaurant parking lot, a
          stone’s throw from where they were needed.

          4 empty Hotshot Crew Carriers ( could hold
          at least 40 people ).
          1 other complete Type 1 Hotshot crew
          ( Blue Ridge – 20 guys ).
          About a dozen other ‘fire vehicles’.
          Water trucks, engines, etc. etc.
          Dozens of other firefighters.

          The list goes on.

          If someone really did insist that 19 guys 2 miles
          away were somehow needed for evacuations
          with all that horsepower already in town that
          ended up just standing around in a parking lot
          not doing much of anything ( because everyone
          pretty much did get out safely before GM got
          anywhere near that ranch where they, themselves
          would have just been trapped even if they made
          it there )…

          …then why didn’t they also ‘call them off’ when
          it became obvious they weren’t going to be
          needed?

          That all comes down to communications, of
          course ( or lack thereof ) and the mystery that
          remains from that day which is WHY ( no matter
          what the reasoning was for moving ) they felt they
          needed to be almost purposely ‘secretive’ about
          what they were doing.

          Brendan himself might not even have ALL the
          answers here… but he surely has some that
          we haven’t heard yet.

          • mike says

            I don’t know all the answers to your questions. One might be BR said no. On the other hand, ask Gary. He has said the same thing, so I doubt it is a ridiculous thought. To this day, Gary says “evacuations and structure protection”.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              mike… it’s all still possible. Yarnell
              was a known ‘retirement’ area.
              Everyone in that part of Arizona knew
              the saying about Yarnell…

              “It’s a place where the 70 years olds
              take care of the 80 year olds and
              the 60 year olds take care of the
              those in their 70’s”.

              So yea… it still may be all about
              what fire command THOUGHT
              might happen ( total disaster )
              without maximum evacuation
              from support from any FF who
              could walk and was at least
              wearing some Nomex.

              The biggest head-scratcher for
              me throughout ALL of this struggle
              to find out the real motivations
              that day is WHY anyone would be
              so afraid to admit that that is
              exactly what was going down
              that afternoon.

              Sure… it would change the post-accident conversation to
              all about whether WFF should
              EVER be pretending to be
              structural… but why would anyone
              think it would DIMINISH the
              memory of those 19 men?

              For most of the public at large I
              would think the knowledge that that
              is EXACTLY what they were trying
              to do would do nothing but make
              them even greater ‘heroes’ than
              the honors already bestowed.

              So I really don’t understand all
              the secrecy… and all the reluctance
              to talk about June 30, 2013.

              I really don’t understand what
              everyone is so afraid others might
              ‘find out’.

              Nothing brings them back… but
              their living relatives, children,
              and future grandchildren still
              deserve to know what was
              really going on that day.

      • Elizabeth says

        Bob, perhaps I was unclear. Allow me to try to explain things differently:
        I just received today the Unit Logs from the Blue Ridge Hotshots. These documents confirmed my view that the reason why the GM guys left the black is to try to save some human lives.

        Some people claim that the Granite Mountain Hotshots violated the 10 or 18 by leaving the black (and leaving the black without a lookout, without well-working radios, etc.), so my question was designed to ask:
        Would you leave the black if you thought you could be saving someone’s life by getting to them more quickly by virtue of leaving the black, *and* you thought that you could beat the fire through the valley (because you did not realize that the wind would shift 180 degrees)?

        Apologies – it is still a very awkward question.

        • mike says

          Elizabeth –

          I had this same discussion about 3 months ago with RTS and Bob. I was told then the idea of “risk a life to save a life” was something structural firefighters might do, but not really the case for WFF. But I suspect you might get a range of responses. But I bet nearly all if not all hotshot supers would say no.

          Your comment obviously raises the question – did BR get asked and turn them down. Remember Marsh or Steed initially told Musser no, ask BR.

          • Elizabeth says

            Mike, the most recent documentation that I have unearthed will refute RTS and Bob.

            “Fuck it – let’s go for it.” That is a direct quote from a very senior Hotshot crew leader (not Marsh or a GM guy) who was about to take a huge risk (seemingly in violation of the 10 and 18) to try to save someone’s life.

            • mike says

              If you are talking about the YHF – that means BR (hotshot, not GM). That likely means Frisby or the captain (Trew?). Are you talking in reference to trying to save GM or going into Yarnell – sounds like it could be referring to the former.

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                One of the things I’ve been
                taking notes on here ( but
                wasn’t quite ready to post
                about ) is more followup
                on the PNF Helmet-Cam guys
                Hulburd, Clawson and Yowell.

                I’ve been trying to nail down
                EXACTLY when the ‘ground
                rescue’ party was either
                requested and/or launched.

                Near as I can tell so far… that
                moment happened when the
                Range 58 DPS chopper
                THOUGHT it had found the
                deployment site out there
                near the anchor point… but
                the DPS chopper pilot did
                not consider it safe to land
                at either the original helispot
                ( still too hot ) or anywhere
                else nearby.

                I think THAT is the moment
                the coordinates were sent
                out over the radio… and at
                that moment it was either
                someone try to reach them
                on the ground or wait an
                unknown amount of time
                until it was safe for Ranger
                58 to land at the helispot.

                So yea… given that
                scenario… I could imagine
                all FIVE of those men who
                would take the risk ( Frisby,
                Brown, Hulburd, Clawson
                and Yowell ) ALL saying…

                “Fuck it… let’s go for it.”

                If anyone was alive… they
                could be the ones loading
                the lift-gurneys up as the
                THREE Medevac choppers
                that were actually already
                arriving up at the helibase
                hovered overhead.

                It was worth the risk… but
                only Frisby and Brown really
                knew the way up there…
                so they led the way.

                It was not that irrational a
                decision. Frisby and Brown
                had worked that area all day
                and they knew they could
                take it in ‘steps’.

                If they could reach the Youth
                Camp… they could then get
                onto the cutover road that
                they were dozing/clearing
                all day.

                If they could make it to
                the Sesame area… they
                could make it up to where
                Sesame trail met the clearings.

                Then they could just take
                every part of the trail west
                one bit at a time… and could
                still turn around if they had to.

                They knew the way.
                They had a visual that day
                all the way to where Ranger
                58 was ‘hovering’ over what
                it thought was the deployment
                site.

                No one wanted to die that
                day. Not even them. It was
                a reasonable risk with
                just incremental decisions
                to make on the way and
                so they went for it.

          • gary olson says

            I would have said, “no”. Nothing was more important than the safety of my crew and although I have said I was conditioned to “fight fire AGRESSIVELY but provide for safety first”, I never wanted to go home to face Richard Allred or Orlando Romero without the hotshot crew they entrusted to me intact (a few medevac’s here and there were unavoidable, but that was acceptable).

        • Bob Powers says

          I am responsible for 18 other guys we are a line building crew not a engine crew or a sheriff department search and rescue. Wild Land Fire Fighters do not have the equipment or training to deal with structure Fires or rescue operations. That is why Urban interface is causing such a problem. It has to intermingle two types of Fir Fighting each one has a separate responsibility.
          Granit Mountain was not responsible for the building fires they were not equipped to do so.
          Also a good 2 hour hike to town. Taking that kind of risk is not what wild land fire fighters are trained to do. So my answer is NO all hot shot crews are trained in wild land fire and the 10 and 18. Its not like 911……………..

  10. Robert the Second says

    Regarding Marsh and the ALLEGED GMHS bad decsions with good outcomes attitude, the two fires where two separate HS Supts commented on Marsh seemingly always wanting to ‘ONE-UP-YOU’, they were the 2009 Station Fire on the Angeles NF and the 2011 Gladiator Fire on the Prescott NF.

    The Supt. on the Station Fire said that Marsh and the GMHS was doing some fairly unconventional and unsafe tactics and GETTING AWAY WITH IT. He said they should have known better. He said he counseled Marsh on what he was doing, but it appeared that it did no good because he/they kept at it.

  11. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to gary olson post on February 14, 2014 at 3:58 am

    >> gary olson said…
    >>
    >> Those survivors, or the families of those victims, will have their own
    >> friends, family, clergy, peer counselors, and communities to turn to.
    >> Do you think Mr. Donut has the mental, emotional, educational, or
    >> professional background, experiences or training to be a traumatic
    >> event counselor?

    I believe the answer there would obviously be no… unless Vicki’s
    organization is also going to sponsor Brendan for a complete round
    of classes to obtain the training/degrees normally required/needed
    for any kind of direct (professional) grief counseling.

    Actually… not to cast any asparagus on Vicki’s organization… but looking
    at her ‘staff’ page… it doesn’t appear as if the kind of professional training
    or degrees normally expected for such a declared profession are that
    much in evidence anywhere… and that itself perhaps brings up another
    possible ‘lesson to be learned’ from the Yarnell tragedy.

    If Brendan felt he had to turn to THIS organization to get ‘the help he really
    needed’… and there weren’t any other ‘professional’ alternatives readily available
    to him via either the Prescott Fire Department or the WFF organization(s)…

    …I would say that’s a problem that needs to be addressed right there.

    Look at this published ‘outreach/counseling’ page at the Wildland Firefighter
    Foundation website.and just read some of the actual ‘professional’ advice
    they are trying to give to someone who just lost a loved one in a fire…

    http://www.wffoundation.org/SectionIndex.asp?SectionID=11

    Direct Quotes from this published ‘professional’ advice…

    “Choose a trigger word that feels somewhat like a reprimand to you.
    Mine is bogus which reminds me that it is bogus to practice negative behavior.
    When you catch yourself daydreaming, slap your hands together sharply and firmly say your focus word. The hand clap will sting a little, the noise of your hands clapping provide audio as well as your voice saying your trigger word giving you a clear reminder that you had checked out. Practice doing this now. The action will bring you back into focus quickly.”

    Are you kidding me?

    If this really is the accepted ( or the ONLY? ) ‘go to’ organization for WFF
    incident survivors… I would say this is a situation that needs some
    attention all by itself.

    Vicki saw a need in the WFF community… and she set about filling that
    need in an honorable way. Kudos to her ( and her son, who helps her
    run the organization ).

    But if that’s supposed to be the OFFICIAL ‘goto grief counseling’ organization
    for all of the WFF firefighting community… well… there’s ANOTHER big problem
    that needs to be solved right there… right NOW.

    >> gary also wrote…
    >>
    >> Being a sympathetic victim only goes so far. Does that
    >> sound like a healthy thing for him to be repeatedly doing, or a viable long
    >> term plan, or realistic career path?

    Only Brendan can answer that for himself, I suppose… but I hear ya.

    Simply having ‘gone through’ something does NOT automatically mean
    you are qualified to ‘help others get through’ a traumatic event.

    Something tells me that the ‘stay in Prescott and be a hero’ scenario
    you were imagining for Brendan simply wasn’t being offered… and he
    had to do SOMETHING.

    He wasn’t qualified to be a structural firefighter… and as soon as it became
    obvious the GM Hotshots will NOT be reconstituted I think he was being
    gently informed he might need to seek some other employment.

    Speaking of ‘gently informed he might need to seek some other employment’…

    Everyone DOES realize that that ’employee evaluation’ with the not-so-subtle
    WARNINGS in it that Willis shot Marsh’s way just 57 days before the
    Yarnell incident was issued WHILE Marsh was already ‘relieved of his
    duties’… right?

    Willis’ direct request/directive to Eric Marsh in his May 3 Employee Evaluation…

    “I also would like you to begin the mentoring of Jesse Steed as your
    replacement giving him opportunities and the freedom to lead the crew and you
    take a more hands off approach.”

    So on May 3, 2013, Willis is TELLING Marsh that he wants him to BEGIN
    the ‘mentoring’ process for Jesse Steed to replace Marsh as the ‘Supervisor’
    for Granite Mountain.

    That would indicate that Willis himself thought ( even on May 3, 2013 ) that
    Steed had a ways to go before he would be ‘ready’ to be the Granite Mountain
    Supervisor…

    …but on that very date ( May 3 )… Jesse Steed was ALREADY the ‘acting
    Supervisor’ for Granite Mountain and was ALREADY the one who Willis trusted
    just 10 DAYS earlier ( April 23 ) to sign the ‘certification’ document that Marsh
    had been refusing to sign.

    Willis has said in subsequent interviews and emails surrounding this
    ‘document signing’ frap that on April 23, when the certification document
    was signed, Steed was ‘fully qualified’ to be the (acting) Supervisor for Granite
    Mountain and ( also according to Willis ) fully qualified to be signing the
    ‘certification’ documents for that group…

    …but just 10 DAYS after Steed signed that document on April 23, here
    he is telling Marsh he wants him to ( sometime soon ) simply BEGIN the
    ‘mentoring’ process so that Steed WOULD be qualified as his replacement
    at some point in the future.

    If Willis really didn’t believe Jesse Steed was already fully capable of being
    the Granite Mountain Supervisor and not in need of someone to ‘BEGIN
    the mentoring process’ for that…

    …then why would Willis have been OK with Jesse actually being appointed
    to that very position on April 18, 2013, when Eric Marsh was ‘relieved’ of
    the position because of an injury and placed on ‘light duty’?

    Willis also saw to it that Prescott FF Tom Cooley was also designated
    ‘Temporary Captain’ for Granite Mountain while Steed was the ‘acting
    Superintendent’. That also seems to mean that Willis didn’t think any
    of the current GM ‘squad bosses’ were either capable or qualified for
    the ‘Captain’ position, either… which is why he must of felt the need to
    bring Cooley ‘from the outside’ for that temporary ‘Captain’ assignment.

    It is ( was ) a very strange situation.

    April 18, 2013 – Marsh had been refusing to sign a GM certification document,
    suffers a motorbike accident, and is relieved of his position as ‘Superintendent’
    for Granite Mountain. GM Captain Jesse Steed is appointed ‘acting Superintendent’
    for the Granite Mountain Hotshots, but no one from inside GM is promoted
    to ‘acting Captain’. Willis goes ‘outside’ GM and brings in Prescott FF
    Tom Cooley to be the ‘acting Captain’ instead.

    April 23, 2013 – ( 5 days later ) – The GM ‘certification’ document is signed by
    ‘acting Superintendent’ Jesse Steed. It is also signed the same day by
    Darrell Willis and Chief Dan Fraijo.

    May 3, 2013 – ( 10 days later ) – Willis types up his ‘Employee Evaluation’
    of Marsh and specifically tells Marsh he wants him to BEGIN the process
    of ‘mentoring’ Jesse Steed to (someday) be able to replace Marsh as
    the GM Superintendent… even though on this very day Steed is
    ALREADY ‘acting Superintendent’ for GM and has already signed the
    GM ‘certification’ document(s) for 2013. So ( in Willis’ mind? ) Steed
    WAS ‘fully ready’ to be a Type 1 Hotshot supervisor to the point where
    he would sign the documents Willis wanted him to sign… but Willis
    also felt he was NOT ready to ‘actually lead the men’ and wanted
    Marsh to BEGIN the ‘mentoring process’? Weird.

    June 18, 2013 – ( 1 month+ later ) Eric Marsh is no longer on ‘light duty’ and
    is again ‘acting Superintendent’ for GM as they work the Doce Fire.

    June 30, 2013 – ( 12 days later ) – GM agrees to accept an assignment on
    their scheduled day off and work the Yarnell Hill Fire where Darrell Willis
    has already been hired as a ‘Division Supervisor’ the night before and will
    be working as SPGS2 on Sunday on the same fire.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Yes. Sorry. That wasn’t a typo. I just thought everyone would ‘get that’.

        Actually… I probably didn’t say near enough up above about how Vicki deserves all the kudos in the world for what she is trying to do. She saw a genuine need in the WFF community and she has set about trying to fill that need with honor and every best intention.

        My only point was that if her organization is now considered the primary goto group for professional grief counseling following WFF fatalities… then that situation probably needs to be looked at.

      • Elizabeth says

        Shit, at least I am not casting asparagus in my posts on this thread…. 🙂 (I believe WTKTT was the guy who criticized ME for not reading my draft posts before posting them here.)

        Also, WTKTT, I am not a therapist, but I think the technique you cited and then strongly criticized from the WFF organization is a valid behavioral therapy or CBT technique. I have not “googled” it to be sure I am correct, but I am pretty sure it is a valid technique used to deal with struggles with recurrent/pervasive thoughts, for example. So, for example, if I am dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and one of my symptoms is that I get “stuck” in my own mind and start reliving the fire and saying to myself “if only I had done [x],” and I cannot break out of that line of thinking, such that I am no longer doing well functioning hour by hour, minute by minute, and I am instead stuck in my mind, reliving that day and those thoughts, one way to try to stem those “intrusive” thoughts can be the technique apparently posted on the website that you then cited and critiqued.

        Again, I am not a therapist or a trained mental health professional, but I vaguely recall one of my close relatives who is a psychiatrist telling me something about this technique and “intrusive”/obsessive thoughts.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Reply to Elizabeth post on Feb 14, 2014 at 1:16 pm

          >> Elizabeth said…
          >> Again, I am not a therapist or a trained mental
          >> health professional,

          Neither am I… and (apparently) neither is anyone
          listed as being ‘on staff’ at the Wildland Firefighter
          Foundation ( see their website ).

          Also… the ‘professional advice’ quote at the link
          above is not even ‘attributed’ to anyone or
          signed by anyone… even though it is written
          from the first person.

          The organization probably DOES have access
          to professional therapists and whatnot… or at
          least could probably help someone find someone
          to help them in that way if needed… and
          they do not directly advertise themselves as being
          in that (specific) business… but in case you
          missed the point of my post…

          If this particular agency is being identified as the
          primary ‘goto’ place by the WFF community for
          people who have just suffered a fire-related
          traumatic event I think that would be
          mis-characterization of even what THEY say their
          intended ‘mission’ is.

          It’s a wonderful organization. It really is.

          I probably didn’t say enough up above about what
          Vicki has been able to do with the best of
          intentions. She saw a need in the WFF community
          and she went right about filling it with all the
          good intentions she could muster. Kudos to
          her ( and her son who helps run the foundation ).

          I really mean that.

          But it is what it is… and it’s not what it’s not.
          I hope people don’t confuse the two.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to RTS post on February 14, 2014 at 9:37 am

        >> RTS said…
        >>
        >> ” not to cast any asparagus”
        >> you meant aspersions right?

        Yes. I did. Sorry. It was not a typo. I don’t know where I
        first picked that phrase up but I guess I thought most
        people would understand what I meant.

        And I did mean it.

        I am NOT casting ‘aspersions’ on the Wildland
        Firefighter Foundation. I think it’s a wonderful
        organization that fills a need in the WFF community…

        …but all the talk lately has made it sound like these
        people are professional therapists themselves… or
        directly engaged in that line of work… and that is
        simply NOT the case. That’s not what they do ( or
        even advertise as one of their services ).

        • mike says

          First of all, Elizabeth is absolutely correct about the trigger and clap technique. It is a variation of a well-known behavioral modification psychological technique. While it sounds a bit silly, it probably does work to some degree. Patients learn they do not have to be controlled by their negative thoughts.

          I do not think the WFF has ever presented itself as an alternative to professional psychiatric advice. Rather it seems to be a place that provide some funds, a place to help find resources, and a place for firefighters and families to connect with another so they do not feel so isolated. During the aftermath of the tragedy, I noticed how many wildland firefighters recommended the WFF as a place to send donations. I did so, and I was pleasantly surprised by 2 things. First, I did not receive some useless trinket or T-shirt. Second, I have NEVER received another fundraising request. I am already inclined to donate again.

          Finally, I think Brendan McDonough probably felt the need to escape Prescott. Imagine being somewhere where everything reminded you of the tragedy and everyone felt sorry for you and wondered how you were. It would not take long for it to drive you nuts. Ironically, I do not think he will get that pity at the WFF. Too many others in the same boat. And he won’t be a professional counselor, but just someone to talk to and relate to. I hope he does some real good there.

  12. gary olson says

    WELL RTS…if that story is true, it certainly would cause me to re-evaluate everything I have ever said or thought about Eric Marsh. I am not saying I doubt your veracity or the veracity of those who told you the story…I am only leaving the door open to the possibility that what happened may have been misinterpreted on misreported somewhere along the line by somebody. ESPECILLY if you have more examples…OMG!

    Which goes to prove what I have said before, and what I have thought numerous times…I regret ever getting involved in this controversy in the first place, because I don’t have a clue what really happened on the Yarnell Hill Fire. Only a couple of people do, and apparently they aren’t talking.

    Speaking of people who aren’t talking. I do have some thoughts about Mr. Donut and his new job. Let me see if I have this straight? He quit a job where he had the very real possibility, if not the guarantee of becoming a full time Prescott Fireman with health benefits, a dental plan, a pension, early retirement, status within the community as a professional who gets to ride around in a big red fire truck with his status as the Lone Survivor, and the town hero? He was not only surrounded by a support group (I presume) on a daily basis, but he would never had to return to the fire line. I can’t believe the Prescott Fire Department is ever going to field another hotshot crew…brush disposal crew…maybe, it depends on the availability of federal grant money, and their lack of shame…but who knows? In any case, Mr. Donut would never had to go out again, he would have been riding around in a big red fire truck checking smoke detectors or fire hydrants for water pressure or waxing the big red fire truck or whatever.

    And he went to work for a 2 person (?) wildland firefighter charity in Boise, Idaho, from Prescott Arizona? What exactly will he do for the WFF when he wakes up tomorrow morning…take calls or make calls to potential donors? Sure, he will travel, OCCASIONALLY…to repeatedly tell sympathetic groups around the country about his experiences on the Yarnell Hill Fire (like a traveling sideshow or a 2 headed firefighter) to solicit donations for the WFF while he waits for the next wildland firefighter tragedy so he can offer his support? And good luck getting hired by the Prescott Fire department again. The assholes down at city hall closed the book on Mr. Donut with a great sigh of relief…one problem…GONE!

    Those survivors, or the families of those victims, will have their own friends, family, clergy, peer counselors, and communities to turn to. Do you think Mr. Donut has the mental, emotional, educational, or professional background, experiences or training to be a traumatic event counselor? Being a sympathetic victim only goes so far. Does that sound like a healthy thing for him to be repeatedly doing, or a viable long term plan, or realistic career path?

    I know I am a negative person by nature. Not only do I see the glass as half empty…but I think you shouldn’t drink it from it because somebody probably pissed in it. BUT…I am never disappointed by life…and sometimes I am actually pleasantly surprised when things actually go well, or work out for the best in the end. So who knows? I am obviously clueless, I give up!

  13. Eric says

    For the Arizona residents in here; as a matter of jurisdiction, can anyone tell me what responsibility the local municipal fire department has in fire suppression on state land in Arizona?
    I ask this because, where I live here in the east, (New York State) we have no un-incorporated areas. Every inch of the state is covered by some form of municipal fire department. Maybe paid or volunteer or a combination, but even in remote areas there is a local level municipal fire department receiving tax money to provide fire suppression services for it. (State pays land taxes on it’s holdings to local government)
    We have some significant tracts (hundreds of thousands of acres each) of state lands and even on those tracts, the local municipal fire department is obligated by state law to respond to a fire there. (We have a very minimal amount of federal lands) The State does by law require itself to maintain a firefighting force (Minimal) to respond to wildfires, however the initial attack agency will almost always be the local municipal fire department.
    The local fire department is not required by law to transfer command to the State when they arrive, however most will simply because the State then becomes responsible for the financial cost and legal liabilities. “Deeper Pockets”.

  14. Robert the Second says

    Elizabeth,

    OMG> So, it sounds to me that you are kinda claiming Queen-of-the Hill status and have self-appointed yourself as the ultimate arbiter of what we should or should not bring out into the open.

    It’s pretty clear that you’re referring to me as the “at least one person on this thread” bringing into the open instances of PRIOR BAD DECISIONS WITH GOOD OUTCOMES or however you chose to describe it.

    And as far as the psycho-babble goes, there is NONE of us current or prior WFF “OVERESTIMAT[ING] any missteps made by those who died that might have led to their deaths while UNDERESTIMATING the normal or typical compliance with the rules, guidelines, best practices, etc. that are alleged to have been violated by the victims of the tragedy.” Nope, not doing that because we all EXPERINCED ithem and saw them, and CAUTIONED them on SEVERAL occasions. But to no avail. As TWO separate HS Superintnedents on TWO sepaprate fires put it “it was always like Marsh was trying to ‘one-up you.’

    The ATV issue? If it was in that bad of shape and that unreliable and that unsafe, then they should have never taken it on the fireline. That shows to me more of the PRIOR BAD DECISIONS WITH GOOD OUTCOMES mode they operated in. And it speaks to their attitude toward safety in general. Like the sleeves rolled up issue, it’s an ATTITUDE thing.

    I chose and choose to be anonymous and to REMAIN anonymous for good reasons, so get over it. It ain’t gonna happen!

    I have no problem bringing this stuff up and airing it. The SAIT and SAIR completely ignored these HUMAN FACTORS issues. I’m sure the families, friends, and loved ones of those men would much rather know the truth rather than the lies and coverups the SAIT presented.

    I have no idea what HS you’re taking to but it was pretty well known by many of their peers regarding their continuing pattern of BAD DECISIONS WITH GOOD OUTCOMES.

    For example, I ALLEGE that on the 2011 Horseshoe Two Fire, several HS Crews, including Marsh and GMHS, were given a downhill line construction with fire below assignment (Watch Out #9). All but one of the HS crews refused the assignment (with an optional tactic). And gues which HS Crew was the one HS Crew that did not refuse the assignment? It was the GMHS. I once again ALLEGE that Marsh’s comment to the other HS Supts. was “hold on now, let’s reassess this one, I THINK WE CAN PULL THIS OFF.” CLEARLY, this suggests PRIOR BAD DECISIONS WITH GOOD OUTCOMES. They’ve gotten away with it before, so let’s try it again.

    I’m using inductive logic at this point. Inductive reasoning is reasoning in which the premises seek to supply strong evidence for the truth of the conclusion. Furthermore, unlike deductive arguments, inductive reasoning allows for the possibility that the conclusion is false, even if all of the premises are true. Source: Wikipedia.

    ” the fact that I have not heard a single tangible, non-anonymous thing about any sort of specific prior or pattern of dangerous/risky act(s) says something.” Really? Just what DOES it say?

    I have NO problem making these ALLEGATIONS. Stand by for others.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      RTS… I think it’s almost eerie that you use the phrase…

      “I think we can pull this off.”

      I have listened and listened and listened to the communications
      that were accidentally captured that day and at some point I
      became sure that if Christopher MacKenzie’s video had lasted
      but another 20 seconds or so…. we would have heard Marsh
      or Steed ( or BOTH ) say…

      “I think we can pull this off… but if we’re going we better
      go right now”.

      There are still ( at least ) two people still alive that can probably
      verify whether anything like that was spoken just prior to them
      leaving the safe black at 4:04 PM.

      Brendan McDonough ( known to be listening at that time. )
      Darrell Willis ( said he was listening at that time ).

      • mike says

        The phrase that got me (assuming this is close to a quote) is “hold on now, let’s reassess this one….”. Sounds like what have been his thought process after initially turning Musser down.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          mike… you may be exactly right.

          We first learned of Musser’s request to GMIHC
          to “spare resources for Yarnell” in the ADOSH
          report following THEIR interview with Musser
          ( the SAIR never mentioned it ).

          However… even the ADOSH report says that
          Musser did NOT know “exactly who he was
          talking to”. According to Musser, it might have
          been Marsh saying “we are committed to the
          black… call Blue Ridge”… but it might have
          been Steed.

          ADOSH page 18…

          Shortly thereafter, Operations Section Chief 2
          Musser radioed GMIHC and asked if they could
          spare resources to assist in Yarneil. Either Marsh
          or GMIHC Captain Steed responded that they were
          committed to the black and that Musser should
          contact BRIHC working in the valley (during his
          interview Musser stated that he wasn’t sure who
          he was talking with).

          Let’s assume for a moment that it WAS Steed
          who actually “shot back” to Musser before
          Marsh had a chance to say anything.

          Steed had already heard OPS 1 Abel tell BOTH
          of them to “Hunker and be safe ( in the black )”
          and Steed didn’t hear Marsh disagree or voice
          another plan… so when Musser called out
          directly to GMIHC ( and not DIVSA )… Steed just
          shot back quickly and told Musser what he
          he really, truly understood their current plan to be
          from what he had heard OPS1 Abel tell them to do.

          Then, all of sudden, ( and right after Steed’s
          response to OPS2 Musser ) Marsh calls Steed on
          the private intra-crew and PERHAPS says
          something like…

          “Hold on now… let’s reassess this one.”

          THAT is when the whole ‘comfort level’
          conversations began which eventually led to
          to the ‘alternate decision’ ( E.g. I think we can
          do this ).

          It WOULD explain what happened, and the
          series of conversations that we DO know about.

          Marsh had been fulfilling Darrell Willis’ directive
          to him from the employee evaluation and had
          been (quote) “letting Steed run the crew” all
          day… but that call from Musser was a ‘direct
          request’ from an OPS at the fire command level.

          Maybe Willis’ other “I expect excellent performance”
          directive from the same employee evaluation just
          57 days earlier was now “ringing in Marsh’s ears”.

          Maybe Marsh thought Steed’s quick response
          to an OPS level request was ‘too hasty’… and
          now here come all the private “Hold on now…
          let’s reassess this one” and “let’s see what your
          comfort level really is” discussion(s).

          There may have then been even ANOTHER
          request in there from someone else just
          shortly after that ( Willis? Someone else? )
          which just ‘upped’ the pressent and then led to
          Marsh’s known statements to Steed…

          “I could just feel this comin’, ya know”.
          and…
          “That’s why I called you BEFORE to ask you
          what your comfort level was”.

          The “called you BEFORE” quote from Marsh to
          Steed still indicates that MacKenzie captured
          the SECOND ‘comfort level’ discussion that day.

          They talked about this ‘comfort level’ MULTIPLE
          times, not just once.

          Caveat: This is obviously all conjecture and
          an attempt to ‘fill in the blanks’ in a known
          series of conversations and ‘decision making’,
          but it would make sense.

          Marsh called for “let’s reasses this” after Steed
          shot back to OPS 2 Musser (quickly) before Marsh
          could jump in and before ‘consulting’ with him first.

          Again… Brendan McDonough would most certainly
          know if this is the way it really went down that day.

  15. Elizabeth says

    DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING EVERYONE SAYS……
    One of the key questions in all of this is: “Why did the Granite Mountain Hotshots go down into the unburned valley where they ultimately died?” At least one person on this comment thread has indicated his view that the deadly descent can be explained (at least in part) by Eric Marsh’s or Jesse Steed’s alleged excessive risk-taking or “prior dangerous acts,” implying that Eric Marsh and GM had a history of doing unreasonably unsafe or needlessly risky things from which they escaped unharmed, such that they became “emboldened” or such that an abnormal and unreasonable level of risk-taking became their norm, in which they then developed misplaced confidence. While it is possible that this issue or factor could have been at play, I want to make a few points to try to help ensure that this theory is not blindly, prematurely, or relatively factually-baselessly accepted as truth at this point, prior to the revelation or discovery of verifiable facts that would suggest that this actually a factor at play:
    1. Cognition: It is generally well-accepted among behavioralists and social scientists/researchers that, in the wake of a tragedy like the Yarnell Hill Fire, there can be a tendency among others in the relevant peer groups (e.g. current or former Hotshots, firefighters, emergency professionals) to OVERESTIMATE any missteps made by those who died that might have led to their deaths while UNDERESTIMATING the normal or typical compliance with the rules, guidelines, best practices, etc. that are alleged to have been violated by the victims of the tragedy. Out of respect for the deceased men, I urge you to keep this well-documented cognitive bias in mind, to avoid the tendency to decide prematurely that the “prior dangerous acts” notion is the right one to believe.
    2. Verification: Unless and until someone who is NOT anonymous can point me to one verifiable instance in which Marsh did something that a majority of the reasonable Hotshots with whom I now have e-mail contact would view as needlessly and abnormally risky, I personally believe that it is irresponsible if not needlessly disrespectful to the families of the deceased men to give credit to the “prior dangerous acts” narrative. Lest anyone try to cite GM’s burned UTV/ATV/whatever as evidence of prior or a pattern of risky decision-making, note that the one living person who was *there* when the GM UTV/ATV/whatever burned in a fire does not describe it in a way that suggests “dangerous or risky act.” Rather, as I understand it, the UTV/ATV was in lousy condition, it had been crapping out, and it died the day it burned. When the fire started moving toward it (as it sat there, dead, refusing to start), the GM guys decided that, rather than scamper to figure out how to move it since it would not start (and it was in a relatively inopportune location and it was heavy), they would just leave it, and, if it burned, it burned. Given that it was already non-operational and likely on its last leg, leaving it was not an “accident” or needlessly risky move that bit GM in the ass.
    3. Confidentiality: The men who claim to have “inside” information about prior bad or dangerous or needlessly/unreasonably risky decisions by GM know who I am, they know how to reach me (elizabethreyarnell@gmail.com), they know my bona fides and qualifications (and I can provide references across the nation), and they know that, if they share verifiable information with me about prior bad acts, and they tell me that they want to remain confidential, I view myself as risking my own professional license if I turn around and violate that confidentiality deliberately. Given my licensing, I believe that I have a far, far more serious obligation to respect any agreed-upon confidentiality than even a reporter or journalist has. Therefore, the fact that not a single witness nor even a single iota of verifiable data or evidence has come to my attention that would suggest “prior dangerous or risky acts” (that I can then try to track down and verify) suggests to me that no such pattern of conduct exists. Everyone knows that I have no dog in this fight, and that my primary goals are to (a) help the folks in the community most directly impacted by the Yarnell Hill Fire get information and transparency so that they can try to process it and get some modicum of closure, and (b) help compile or unearth relevant information for purposes of current hotshots being able to learn all possible lessons from this tragedy to avoid similar tragedies in the future. Given these goals and given that I have a *provable* commitment to confidentiality, the fact that I have not heard a single tangible, non-anonymous thing about any sort of specific prior or pattern of dangerous/risky act(s) says something.

    In a quasi-related vein, be aware that every single nationally-known audio forensics expert I have tracked down since Maclean’s, Neill’s, and Gabbert’s horrifying January 19th “news” blog came out has essentially confirmed my view that it is basically a fool’s errand to try to claim “conclusively” the types of things Maclean, Neill, and Gabbert published regarding the 161620 video clip and the Yarnell Gamble video clip. My professional view is that people who are otherwise viewed as credible regarding wildfires (e.g. Gabbert, Maclean, and Neill) have the OBLIGATION to be incredibly careful about publishing what they tout as “new” or “contrary” information, given the emotional toll such pronouncements can have on the grieving families and communities. I am still shaking my head over that debacle, and my heart goes out to the families of the GM guys. I would almost rather they have radio silence than be subject to the emotional roller-coaster of getting “new” and “contrary” information that they then later find out is neither new nor contrary.

  16. mike says

    Over on Wildfire Today, someone recently commented on an old thread about a video entitled “Everyone goes home – stories of the Storm King survivors.” It still is on the front page in the comments. The video is about 30 minutes long, but worth your time. It was made in 2012 I believe, and sounds a hopeful note about lessons learned that Yarnell Hill blew all to hell. But it is riveting for its description of the harrowing events. And to hear the superintendent of the Pineville Hotshots describe his feelings on realizing he had lost 9 of his crew – well I already said I would not want the job. He has lived with that for 20 years, and nothing will ever make it go away.

    • Gary Olson says

      Mike, I’m afraid there are some nuances to my comment that I did not explain very well…or at all. In addition to the general problem that this format does not lend itself to this discussion as well as a face-to-face exchange of ideas would.

      There is nothing in the conclusions I stated above that makes me (or I hope anyone else) think any less of Eric Marsh or Jesse Steed as the leaders of wildland firefighters, and those who were ultimately responsible for the safety of their crew. Just as the Pilot-in-Charge (PIC) is ultimately responsible for the safety of the aircraft under their command, or as you have pointed out, the Doctor-in-Charge is ultimately responsible for the patients under their care. I think we all accept the fact that Eric Marsh and Jesse Steed were ultimately responsible for the safety of their crew, that is the obvious factor and perhaps the most important one…but my goal here is to identify as many other casual factors as I can.

      What I meant to say is that I do not believe that Eric Marsh, Jesse Steed and to some extent the squad bosses, and senior crew members on their crew believed that their maneuver would place the crew in imminent danger from the flaming front of the Yarnell Hill Fire. Although I’m sure they knew there was some element of risk to their plan, I believe they thought that risk was well within the limits of an acceptable risk, given that wildland firefighting is an inherently dangerous job.

      The following is more or less what I think they thought at the time they chose to go down the chute where they ultimately perished.

      1. They believed the fire was still moving in a primarily southeast direction directly towards Yarnell rather than burning rapidly in a southerly direction down the valley where it would ultimately intersect with them given their direction and rate of travel.

      2. They agreed, decided, chose to go, to the backside of Yarnell to help with evacuations and begin engaging in structure protection even though they knew that was not a “proper” (for the lack of a better word) mission for a hand crew on foot equipped with only hand tools to be doing, especially under those circumstances and conditions. But they allowed themselves to be ordered, talked into, encouraged, strongly suggested to, that it would be a good thing to do under the circumstances to prove their worth to the Good Citizens of Prescott and the cities leaders to reduce the chances their program and jobs would not be axed.

      3. They placed to high of a priority on protecting the structures in Yarnell, especially given the fact that very few people had bothered to be “fire wise” and clear a defensible space around their own structures. I believe this was in part due to their priority mission of creating defensible space around structures in Prescott when they weren’t fighting fire. I think this view of the world and their place in it was amplified because they worked for a structural firefighting organization that apparently placed a very high value on a running into burning buildings and laying down your life for structures because you believe that would be the right thing to do as Darrell Willis has repeatedly explained. Darrell Willis’ thoughts, values, and philosophies most certainly did play a very important and probably even a dominating role in creating their culture.

      4. They experienced “tunnel vision” due in part to the rapidly escalating situation, the evacuation of Yarnell, and the calls for their help. Their perception of the danger they were actually in and their “situational awareness” (as explained by Dr. Ted Putnam in the “Collapse of Decision Making on Strom King Mountain”) was not able to keep pace with their rapidly changing environment, and the exponential growth of the danger they were actually in. In other words, they thought they could safely reach the ranch based on what they believed the direction and rate of spread of the fire was, rather than what it actually was.

      5. They chose to go down the chute (even though chutes have a long and tragic history with wildland firefighters because they are natural chimneys for wildfires) because they believed it was the quickest way to reach the ranch and ultimately the backside of Yarnell where they could help with evacuations and begin structure protection and thereby reach Yarnell ASAP, as they were asked to do. Even though this was most likely not the case because the brush was so thick and the road ultimately curved around to the ranch. I believe this bad decision was caused in part because of their poor briefing, and the fact that no maps, shift plan or overall strategy had been developed to fight the fire. Everyone was going in different directions without any clear supervision or management, (such as the dumb ass from Oregon State Forestry dumb ass who unilaterally overruled a ground commander and dropped on their backfire). I think to say that the fire exceeded the fire’s management teams expectations is a gross understatement. Everything everyone did that day was in reaction to the fire. The fire and chaos was in charge and running the show, and nobody ever got a handle on what was actually happening in real time.

      6. I don’t think the deaths of the Granite Mountain Hotshots were caused by any single factor, this tragedy was like almost all other tragedies, and it was a culmination of compounding, cascading, and successive bad decisions by a lot of people, many of which were beyond the comprehension of Eric Marsh and Jesse Steed given their positions and situation in a dynamic and rapidly escalating situation. In short, the management of the fire was a cluster **** from day one, and the Granite Mountain Hotshots and those who loved them paid the ultimate price, not only for their mistakes, but for everyone else’s mistakes as well.

      And I believe Eric Marsh and Jesse Steed were squared away wildland firefighters who deserved better management and a better organization to work for other than the Prescott Fire Department.

      • mike says

        First, in reference in Bob’s comment above, somehow I don’t think Eric Marsh was interested in advancement in the PFD. The idea that he would even want Willis’ job is almost funny. And the idea that the powers that be would have given it to him probably is too. Remember, his widow said he was 90% hotshot, that was what he wanted to do.

        Gary, I can agree with virtually everything in the above comment. And the small things I might not totally agree with are debatable. I am done making comments about the errors that Granite Mountain might have made, I’ve already made too many. I think the people that matter will figure things out, no matter how useless the SAIR was. They were good men trying to do their best. And I know there are a lot of people that miss them very much.

          • Bob Powers says

            I have and still Agree with the same things that Gary stated in his above items.
            I have said and will say again There were many factors that caused the fatalities.
            They were my brothers as all Hot Shots current and passed and I morn there loss.

            Mike-You know well as a Doctor the physical demands of a 43 year old get harder with every passing year. The job Marsh was in was more and more demanding every year. Most Hot Shots have moved on by the time they are 40 and 45 begins to push the limits for most. I am sure Marsh was starting to look for his next step no matter what that was, PDF or some where else. Having been there I can say time has a way of catching up with you. Leaving a job you love is never easy and assumed pressure to do so can way heavily on you. My thoughts.

            • mike says

              So I guess 50 isn’t the new 30. No doubt Marsh was nearing the end as far as being a hotshot. He just did not seem to be the paper pusher type.

              • Bob Powers says

                Mike –I can guarantee you that I was ready to retire at 50.
                When I hit my 40’s I no longer was line overhead. I was still healthy as to day but 16 hour shifts and hiking mountains were getting old. As my Dr. always told me I did not take very good care of my body in the past. That’s also why it is mandatory age 55 retirement for wild Land Fire Fighters, or 50 with 25 years. At 50 I had 33 years. No 50 is not the new 30 maybe for a small few.

    • David Crain says

      I posted that video on my FB about 2 weeks before Yarnell. Also posted a video of our yearly shelter deployment using an airboat to simulate the wind

  17. Gary Olson says

    As I have stated before, I worked for the federal government from 1974 – 2006, starting at the bottom of the pile and working up to where I could at least see the top of the pile. Throughout this process, I had just about every kind of supervisor personnel training materials prepare you to be, or prepare you for. In addition, I was a supervisor myself from the time I made hotshot squad boss until I retired as a Supervisory Criminal Investigator working for the USDI BLM Washington Office of Law Enforcement & Security.

    That being said, I strongly agree with WTKTT’s assessment of the, “reading between the lines” of Darrell Willis’ narrative. I also agree with other former and current wildland firefighting employees that supervisors can range from marking everything with a mid level grade with a few exceptional marks to marking everything with exceptional marks with a few mid level grades. So not too much should be read into the letter or number grade. That is too easy and more or less automatic depending on the supervisor. In other words, a “mid level” grade from one supervisor can mean a lot more than an “exceptional” grade from another, and it easy to check the blocks. What is highly unusual based on my experiences, is the excessive (a lot more than should be expected) content, and the detail of the narrative. That is not “easy”, or “automatic” for a supervisor to do.

    And I don’t think what I am writing here is unique to the federal government or to wildland firefighters. I think what I am saying is probably more or less the same no matter what profession you are in. Supervisors HATE to do employee appraisals and employees HATE to get employee appraisals.

    What I do find very unique in the appraisal Willis gave to Marsh are the detailed specifics of the narrative. There are far more specifics in that narrative than I ever got, gave, saw, or heard about in any appraisal during my career, unless that employee (or I) was being put on “notice.”

    I don’t know about everybody else out there is cyber space…but if I was Marsh and got his appraisal, I would think I had one foot out the door and the other one on a banana peel (as one of my BLM supervisors told me once, actually, several top managers told me more or less the same thing more than once, most notably, “Gary, you do good work…but you leave to many bodies on the trail!”) and I would start looking for another job, or writing a grievance.

    In other words, and I don’t think this is too strong of a word, I am SHOCKED at what Willis wrote about, and to Marsh. It is hard for me to read the appraisal narrative in any other way than it was the first step in separating Eric Marsh from his employment with the City of Prescott, or at the very minimum as a “shot across his bow” that he needed to start playing the game according to former Chief and current Wildlands Division Chief Darrell Willis’ rules OR ELSE. And not only that, but that Division Chief Willis himself had also been put on notice by Chief Frajio, that he had better get a much shorter leash on Marsh because the city manager, mayor, city councilors, or all of the above were right on the verge of deleting the entire division because of Eric Marsh’s endless complaining, and repeated end-runs around them to personnel bitchin’ about crew benefits, and positions or the lack thereof, and implying, if not downright threatening, he was going to use their failure to meet minimum federal hot shot standards to up the ante.

    I am willing to listen to everyone who has ever had a boss, or has ever been a boss, to weigh in on this issue. Like I have already said, I think the relationship of all supervisors and employees are more or less the same. What do you think? I don’t think I am giving some unique wildland firefighter inside opinion here.

    I will tell you one unique wildland firefighter inside opinion here however. As I have previously stated in comments way-way-way back there, Darrell Willis and I were at one time “friends”, in a very loose sense of the word, and acquaintances in a more accurate sense, as we had mutual friends in the business, and I have a long history and association with Prescott. As you have probably already picked up, ex-hotshot crew bosses from my generation dominate the federal wildland firefighter management ranks (although more and more are retiring each day and have been for some years now), and I know or knew a lot of them, including Tony Sciacca from my days on the fire line.

    So here is my inside information, since I am already on anybody who thinks Darrell Willis is a squared away wildland firefighter, and a credit to the wildland firefighter community Grade A **** list. Darrell Willis did not just retire as the Prescott Fire Department Chief, Darrell Willis retired from the Prescott Fire Department after he got cross-ways with the City Manager and was in effect “fired.” Being re-hired after his retirement and removal as fire chief is a typical “golden parachute” that was offered in exchange for his going quietly into the good night, which would allow for a smooth and controversy free transition to a new chief. And just for the record, I think that if I knew of the specifics of his removal, I would probably side with him, since it was probably some chicken-**** politics from some chicken-**** city manager, mayor or city council person that caused his removal, not because he was doing a bad job or had done anything wrong.

    But here is my point in all of this blah, blah, blah. Darrell Willis was probably hyper-sensitive to city politics, and scalp hunting city managers, mayors or city council persons, both because of his normal survival instincts (he didn’t make Chief in the first place because he was tone-deaf to city politics) which were without a doubt magnified by his own personal experiences. And as I just want to AMPLIFY my agreement in the strongest possible way with WTKTT when he or she said, “Perhaps…. but perhaps a certain fair portion of the ‘situational stressors’ that were in play that day really have always been (and are, even now) just ‘hiding in plain sight.”

    SOMEONE GIVE ME AN AMEN, CAN I GET AN HALLELUJAH? When it comes to pressure being on Darrell Willis, Eric Marsh, Jesse Steed, (and probably every senior crew member on the Granite Mountain Hotshots who was on the “inside” of crew politics) the day they walked in front of the flaming front of the Yarnell Hill Fire. My God…there is the answer why they went down that death chute in an effort to get to the backside of Yarnell to help with evacuations and begin structure protection in spite of their training, experiences and common sense!

    And I want to weigh in on one more point in this discussion. Any talk or thoughts that Darrell Willis was “grooming” Eric Marsh to be his replacement is 100 percent BULL****! Let me state one more time. Darrell Willis retired (under duress) as the Prescott Fire Department Chief! He was than rehired at more than $90,000 a year to manage the Wildlands Division, which meant for the most part, supervising Eric Marsh and driving around in the new or nearly new extended cab pick-up truck the City of Prescott bought with grant money from Uncle Sam, had coffee with his buddies, played city politics as necessary, and ordered free stuff for the crew from a big book the USDA-Forest Service sent him that was paid for with the money they saved by implementing the Incident Command System (see my previous lengthy and somewhat bitter comment, although not for myself, I did very well in the system thank you, I was one of the very, very, very, few who did, not because I was such a great employee, I was just in the right place at the right time more than once, and I had a habit of swinging whatever tool a supervisor handed me as hard as I could until I was told to stop, and I got luckier than most, although I have noticed in life that the “harder I fish, the luckier I get.”) and eliminating a large percentage of their own professional wildland firefighting force.

    Darrell Willis is NOT going to give that job up, until they carry him out in a pine box (or he gets fired, this time for real), he can’t retire a second time, and leaving that position will be a net loss of more than $90,000 a year, and he is a relatively young man. And given his history, I find it hard to believe he was getting ready to move up the departmental ranks into a higher position. Are you kidding me? He had already hit the retirement JACK POT AND LOTTERY COMBINED! Darrell Willis had already moved from being the Emergency Services Coordinator for the city, which was his original “golden parachute” job, at a salary of more than $120,000 a year to the Wildlands Division Chief job. Probably because all he had to do in his new job for the most part, was supervise Eric Marsh and drive around in the new or nearly new extended cab pick-up truck the City of Prescott bought with grant money from Uncle Sam, have coffee with his buddies, play city politics as necessary, and ordered free stuff for the crew from a big book the USDA-Forest Service sent him that was paid for with the money they saved by implementing the Incident Command System, and eliminating a large percentage of their own professional wildland firefighting force.

    And in case anybody is wondering, “Why would somebody willing move from a job making more than $120,000 a year to one making “only” more than $90,000 a year?” Well it’s simple math. As the Wildland Division Chief, not only did he have to work less, and play far fewer city politics, he made a LOT MORE MONEY! Why? Because of the “Portal to Portal” (door to door, paid for 24 hours a day, not just when you are working) pay STRUCTURAL FIREMAN get (because of their strong unions and weak city leaders) whenever they go on wildland firefighting assignments, which if you are the Wildlands Division Chief, and your only jobs are, see my previous list, you can go ALL OF THE TIME, whereas the Emergency Services Manager has to stay in Prescott and more or less take care of business and the Citizens of Prescott.

    Now…if I got any of that wrong, those of you out there who are more “in the know” than I am, can write in and correct me. And if anybody doesn’t like me jumping to conclusions out there in cyber space…tough. See my previous statements that referenced the fact that I had to care what everybody thought about everything for more than 30 years (and have my facts right all of the time) and now I don’t care what anybody thinks about anything. And if anybody wants to sue me, I live in Flagstaff, Arizona, and I will be easy to find (I stand out in most crowds, except for those of retired football linemen). I will be waiting for you. What happened to the Granite Mountain Hotshots really, really, really, makes me mad…and reckless.

    • Gary Olson says

      Oh, and one more thing as long as I am sharing. I might as well tell you the second most notable thing a top BLM manager told me, “What are you going to do now Gary, call 60 Minutes?”

      • Gary Olson says

        Actually, what I should have said is, “And if anybody doesn’t like me shootin’ from the hip out there in cyber space…tough. I can still add, and 2 plus 2 equals 4.” This isn’t a court of law, it’ a cyber blog.

    • mike says

      Gary,

      I do think there had been a big blow-up and I do think that employee evaluation was unusual. Reading it you can sense unresolved tension.

      HOWEVER, the implications of the scenario you have laid out just tears me up inside. To imply that Marsh knew it was a bad call… He was not just responsible for his own life, but the lives of 19 others, many who were basically kids. With their whole lives in front of them, with their hopes and dreams, their wives, girlfriends, mothers, children. To say that Marsh put his own job ahead of that, or even the continued existence of the crew. Suffice it to say, if that is how it went down, the great sympathy I have had for Eric Marsh would vanish. I do not think that is what happened. From everything that has been said about him, Marsh had too much integrity to let that happen. Gary, what you have alleged would fit with the known facts, although we really do not have evidence for it at this time. But God, I hope you are wrong.

      • Bob Powers says

        Mike— We have been saying for some time that Marsh took a calculated risk. He got away in the past with bad decisions with good out comes same thing. Pressure of his position in a small city Fire force not much room to advance and a whole lot of politics. What Gary said straight out is the facts with out any dressing. There is not many other ways you can explain it. It’s the shits– but why else do you violate every thing you have been taught and go were no one else would have gone?

    • Rocksteady says

      If Marsh was not being groomed (your financial evaluation about Willis may be spot on), there is the possibility that there could be several reasons for the comments in the evaluation:

      1) Willis let Marsh take the reins, but Marsh stirred up some higher up manager, who unlike most firefighters, has “feelings” and may not have appreciated truthful, to the point, blunt discussions. (WFF are a pretty rough bunch, as an occupation. Not known for their touchy feely people skills….)

      2) Maybe Willis was trying to point these things out to Marsh , so that he (Willis) could do even less managing of the crew and spend more time hob-knobbing with politicians…

      WHO KNOWS??? Hint… Willis does…

      Several other points I have, this format for the forum is not friendly to going way way back up the thread to post comments that actually get read…

      The 3 Div Sups that were ordered came on a forecasted need (They identified that it was gonna get bigger and more fireline positions would be required) It is not unusual, to be deployed to an incident as a certain capacity (DIV, for example) but when you arrive and get tossed into the mix, that the tentative organization chart has changed and you end up being a spare body. If you have other credentials (lets say HEQG supervisor) and one of those roles needs to be filled, Plans re-assigns you. I have been launched as an FBAN, but due to weather change, ended up being a DIV, and vice versa.

      The other comment that I have to make is way up the page someone said “How can a fire just blow up like that when it seems to be contained on all 4 sides?” It is quite easy actually… Early, Mid or late morning, things are quiet and fairly benign… Humidities are higher, temperatures are lower and usually winds are less. The peak of the burning period is 16:00 hours.. That is usually when temperatures peak, humidities bottom out and winds (diurnals) usually are at their peak. Especially in extremely flashy fuels (like chaparral, etc) things can change in a matter of no time. Once a critical threshold has been crossed, aggressive fire behaviour can be seen.

      Here in Canada we use the 30/30 cross. Other agencies call it the black cross or crossover. When your temperature is greater tahn your relative humidity, fire behaviour can be expected to become aggressive (without the wind factored in). So, when our temp reach 30 C (86 F) and relative humidity is less than 30% agressive fire behaviour may be observerved…. So when you look at the data for that day 104 F and 10% RH, its a no brainer that things are gonna get exciting… Now add in a wind of 10 or 20 miles and hour, plus the drought situation that the area has experienced, pretty easy to figure that if 1 juniper bush candles, tossing embers over teh “two trackroad” that you are back to square one.

      The fire Commanders on this incident should have known, been informed, realized that there was potential for this fire to go rock and roll crazy, and adjusted their plans, resources and tactics accordingly..

  18. Robert the Second says

    WTKTT,

    In regard to the June 30th Lewis Crew blunder, you posted something about the “beginning of the ‘second Yarnell Hill fire’…” There was NO second YHF, only the one. The fire names GENERALLY keep the original name, with very few exceptions. You don’t number them based on how many escapes you had. Sitta and I both pretty accurately recognized the potential for escape based on fuels and weather. And like I posted earlier, there would have been all kinds of radio chatter if they were doing a large burnout. It would have been (be) best to have interviewed the Lewis Crew.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      RTS… roger that. I am with you. I think those of us posting
      here just did what this free-form PUBLIC forum is meant to do.
      We looked at whatever PUBLIC evidence is available
      regarding a pretty important aspect of the incident, and we
      discussed something calmly, gave our opinions, and it’s up to
      others to now decide what they think.

      After your comments ( and other comments) on this… I am less
      inclined now to believe the ‘flare up’ WAS totally man-made.

      All I know is something ‘strange’ happened on Saturday.

      Whether it was man-made or totally natural causes… it’s
      very weird that a fire that everyone seemed to think was
      ‘fully contained’ for multiple HOURS… to the point where
      important resources were allowed to leave the area…
      but then suddenly ‘flares up’ the way it did and even the
      14 guys who were up there trying to ‘catch it’ were out of
      chainsaw gas an no one seemed to be able to help them…
      was an unusual event and it will forever be part of the ‘story’
      of what happened in Yarnell that entire weekend.

      As for my referring to what happened on Saturday as the
      ‘second Yarnell Hill fire’… you are also right. There was never
      any ‘officially’ designated ‘second fire’. That is just my own
      reference to what happened on Saturday… but I believe it’s
      an accurate description. Everyone thought the ‘Yarnell Hill
      Fire’ was pretty much a ‘done deal’ on Saturday ( for hours )
      and then all of sudden… it wasn’t. There was a ‘second fire’ that
      got away from them and then became the one everyone
      was trying to fight on Sunday.

      I do think there are ‘lessons to be learned’ from Saturday alone
      that have been largely ignored so far.

      Maybe someday we will know more about Saturday.

      As it turns out… I was wrong about whether any Lewis
      crew people were ever interviewed by anyone.

      Some very important members of the ‘Lewis’ crew that were
      up there all day ( and spent the night ) WERE, in fact,
      interviewed by ADOSH ( but not the SAIT. AFAICT ).

      There are actually records of these interviews taking place
      at the TOP of the ADOSH report… but there is no real
      indication in the report itself about what any of them really
      had to say other than the general ‘the fire escaped’
      summary similar to the other reports. No real details.

      ADOSH also did, in fact, interview this ‘Justin Smith’ person who
      was, in fact, the ICT4(T) Trainee handling things on Saturday.

      Maybe one day those actual interviews conducted by a
      PUBLIC taxpayer supported agency ( ADOSH ) will actually
      be made available to the PUBLIC.

      From the top of the ADOSH report…

      ** Interviews conducted by ADOSH…

      ICT4(T) Justin Smith, Division Supervisor, Crew
      Coordinator-AS PC Perryville;

      Arizona Department of Corrections Interviews – AZDOC:

      Sergeant Joe Barreras, assigned to Division Alpha, ASPC-Lewis
      Inmate hand crew;
      Correctional Officer II Leo Vasquez, assigned to Division Alpha,
      ASPC-Lewis inmate hand crew;
      Jake Guadiana, Crew Coordinator, assigned to Division Alpha,
      Arizona State Forestry Division, ASPC-Lewis inmate hand crew;
      Sergeant Chad Blackwell, Structure Group 2 resource (Double
      Bar A Ranch, Model Creek Subdivision, Peeples Valley),
      ASPC-Yuma inmate hand crew;
      Sergeant Parker, assigned to Incident Command Post initially,
      ASPC-Florence inmate hand crew;
      Sergeant Paulson, Structure Group 2 resource (Double Bar A
      Ranch, Model Creek Subdivision, Peeples Valley), ASPCGlobe
      inmate hand crew.

      There is also definite proof in the ‘Incident Logs’ that it was
      Russ Shumate himself who wanted to hire Justin Smith
      as an ICT4(T) trainee for Saturday.

      The logs show Shumate REQUESTING Justin be hired as
      ICT4(T), then it shows that order taking place, and then him
      arriving at the fire and beginning work in that capacity.
      Justin himself then appears in the logs handling resource
      orders and whatnot.

      There is even a moment in the logs when someone from
      Dispatch with initials ‘CH’ is asking for a direct confirmation
      from Shumate if Justin Smith is working the fire as ICT4(T)
      trainee and Shumate VERIFIES this.

      Justin disappears from the logs when things started to hit the
      fan and Russ Shumate started ramping up the ordering
      for Sunday.

      From the Incident (Dispatch) Logs for Saturday…

      http://www.azsf.az.gov/system/files/documents/files/Yarnell%20Hill%20Dispatch%20Log%207-5-2013.pdf

      Entry Date/Time, From, To, Details

      06/28/2012 19:19:21, RUSS, KM, INACTIVE, NOT MUCH OF A
      THREAT. NOT TAKING ACTION TONIGHT. GIVE THE LEWIS
      CREW THAT WE’RE GOING TO HAVE THEM IN PRESCOTT
      AT 0800. AT MY OFFICE UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
      ORDER JUSTIN SMITH AS AN ICT4(T).

      06/28/2013 19:22:52, CH, JAKE, ORDERING LEWIS CREW TO
      GO TO THIS INCIDENT BY 0800 TOMORROW AND MEET AT
      RUSS’S OFFICE // COPY

      06/28/2013 19:27:09, KM, JUSTIN, LEFT VM (Voice message)

      06/28/2013 19:30:43, KM, JUSTIN, RUSS WOULD LIKE YOU
      AT HIS OFFICE AT 0800 TO GO OUT AS AN ICT4(T). I’LL EMAIL
      YOUR RESOURCE ORDER TONIGHT // OK

      06/28/2013 21:05:48, Russ, WR, need Lewis to be @ Peeples
      Valley Gas station @ 0800 and Yuma Crew to drive up around
      0500 and be here @ Peeples Valley Gas Station and both
      crews be double sack lunched // copy // also need Prescott
      Armory open for both crews tomorrow and need Justin and Jake
      here @ 0800 // copy we will call them and advise them.

      06/29/2013 07:48:35, CH, 1-4, I HAVE YOUR SPOT WEATHER
      FORECAST AND I HAVE A COUPLE QUESTIONS FOR
      YOU // I’LL HAVE YOU READ THE FORCAST TO JUSTIN HERE
      IN A MIN. // ARE YOU GOING TO BE THE IC FOR THIS FIRE
      AND JUSTING FOR THE IC TRAINEE? // YES I WILL BE IC AND
      JUSTIN AS IC TRAINEE // WHAT TIME DO YOU WANT THE
      ARMORY AND FOR HOW MANY? // PLAN FOR 1900 AND
      FOR ABOUT 40 COULD BE MORE OR LESS.

      06/29/2013 09:08:45, JUSTIN, CH, WE NEED THE AIR TO
      GROUND FREQ. // IT IS A/G 16 159.3450N Tone 192.8 Tx/Rx

      06/29/2013 09:46:27, JUSTIN, CH, I’M GUNNA NEED AN S
      NUMBER FOR THE GOLDEN CORRAL FOR 48 PEOPLE
      FOR DINNER AND ALSO AN E NUMBER FOR THE PEOPLES
      VALLEY TYPE 6 ENGINE WITH LIC# G583EZ, ENGB JAKE
      MODOR // OK WE WILL CREATE THOSE ORDERS

      06/29/2013 09:53:00, JUSTIN, RLH, REQUEST S# FOR ICE
      AT THE MOUNTAINEERS MIN MART, PEOPLES VALLEY,
      WILL CALL BACK HOW MUCH AND PAYMENT METHOD.

      06/29/2013 10:21:17, JUSTIN, WALTER, 34 13 21.5N X 112 44
      44.4W LANDING ZONE // COPY

      06/29/2013 10:48:44 AA, ALH, H-4HX DROPPED 6 HELITACK
      OFF 1/4 MILE FROM RIDGE TO HIKE IN. – WILL GET LAT/LONG
      FROM HELITACK FOR LZ.

      06/29/2013 10:56:38, AA, ALH, THE HELISPOT LOCATION
      IS 34 14.11N X 112 47.64W

      06/29/2013 18:13:32, WR, IC, DO YOU NEED JUST PAUL
      ( MUSSER ) OR DO YOU NEED MORE OVERHEAD? // 1 DIV 3
      TASK FORCE // WHAT ABOUT GETTING A STATE TYPE 2
      OR 3 TEAM // I’LL CALL JIM AND DISCUSS THAT

      06/29/2013 19:04:25, NT, IC, ADVISED OF HALL, MUSSER
      AND JIM CARLSON HEADING THAT WAY

      06/29/2013 19:20:57, GEYER, NT, GO AHEAD AND GE JOKI
      AND ALSO ORDER CLOSEST DIVS AND TFLD.

  19. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to Sitta post on February 10, 2014 at 8:20 am

    >> Sitta wrote…
    >>
    >> Mop up may take place on quiet sections of a large, uncontained fire.
    >> Usually, though, the mop up phase doesn’t really begin until the whole fire
    >> is lined. I was under the impression that on Saturday the crews were
    >> still containing the fire (building line around it), not mopping up. Do the
    >> details or records exist that can more clearly tell us what was actually
    >> going on?

    Not really. There are some vague descriptions and clues and, of course
    the photographs from Saturday.

    ALL of the official reports ( and SAIT interviewees ) agree that on Saturday
    morning there was no visible fire, little or no smoke, and descriptions
    vary from ‘Fire was very minor’ to ‘Fire showing no activity’ and ‘Fire
    was only 2-4 acres’.

    They all also agree that everyone assumed the fire was ‘contained on
    all four sides’ and never grew in size all day… until it jumped the road.

    The ONLY report that even mentions what the DOC Lewis crew’s actual
    ASSIGNMENT was that morning is the ADOSH report which says this…

    “At 1100 a BLM helicopter transported seven firefighters to the top of the ridge.
    One helitack crew member and six DOC Lewis Crew firefighters hiked in the
    rest of the way ( for a total of 14 firefighters there at the 2-4 acre fire site ) to
    construct handline, cold trail and hot spot.”

    So the words ‘mop-up’ are never specifically mentioned, but the actual
    source for this quote and/or who ever said that was their actual
    assignment is also not mentioned in the ADOSH report, or
    anywhere else.

    There was no documented Incident Action Plan that day where we might
    be able to read what their ‘actual’ assignments were, and no one from
    the actual DOC Lewis crew was ever interviewed by any official entity.

    BELOW is a ‘synopsis’ from ALL the official reports and the SAIT investigation
    notes that only pertain to Saturday morning, what everyone thought the situtation
    was, and then on through the moment in the afternoon when the fire suddenly
    ‘jumped the jeep road’.

    Things to NOTE in the ‘synopsis’ below…

    ** A TRAINEE WAS IN CHARGE ON SATURDAY?

    It was the SAIT interview with Nate Peck, ICT4 and FFT1 with Moki Helitack
    NE Washington; Coleville NF assistant Engine Operator
    that says ( on Sauturday morning )…

    “Fire at the time was very minor. Perfect fire for an ICT5 trainee.”

    …and then goes on to say that later on, after the fire escaped,
    the ‘trainee’ was asking for Nate to ‘take over and cover OPS’.

    ** DEAN FERNANDEZ (BLM) WANTED CHOPPER / PUMPKIN SUPPORT

    Dean Fernandez ( BLM rep ) was the one who saw the need for
    more chopper water dumps to ‘get it over with’… and he tried
    to get a ‘pumpkin’ set up since the only chopper there could
    only carry 50 gallons… but it never happened. He asked Shumate,
    at one point if Shumate wanted him to ‘take over the fire’ and
    Shumate’s only response was “Why… am I doing something wrong?”

    ** JUSTIN SMITH (ASFD) WAS DIVSUP FOR THE (DOC) LEWIS CREW

    Oddly enough… only the WFAR report mentions who was (supposedly)
    actually in charge of that (DOC) Lewis Crew out there on Saturday.

    By ‘odd’ I mean that the WFAR report was contracted by ADOSH and
    the WFAR report does mention him… but the actual ADOSH report does not.

    Here is exactly what the WFAR report says about ‘Justin Smith’…

    “( Shortly after jumping the jeep road )… The Yarnell Hill Fire was (then)
    estimated at six acres by ASFD Crew Coordinator Justin Smith who was
    assigned by Shumate as the Division Supervisor for the crew on the hill.”

    **
    ** SYNOPSIS FOR SATURDAY FROM ALL FROM OFFICIAL REPORTS
    **

    ** From the SAIR ( page 12 )…

    Saturday, 29 June 2013

    ICT4 assesses the fire then reports to Dispatch that little smoke is showing and
    they will drop retardant to hold the fire until crews arrive. At 0651, he requests
    two Single Engine Airtankers (SEATs). They arrive mid-morning and drop fire
    retardant on the south and west flanks until about noon, each making two
    retardant drops.

    Just before 1100, a BLM helicopter transports seven firefighters to within one
    quarter mile of the ridge. The one helitack and six Department of Corrections
    firefighters hike in the rest of the way to construct handline ( for a total of
    14 firefighters there at the 2-4 acre fire site ).

    The fire is holding on all four sides and none of the other starts from the day
    before shows smoke.

    At 1442, ICT4 advises Dispatch he is releasing Air Attack.

    At 1540, he releases the BLM brush engine and a local Peeples Valley fire engine,
    because the multiple fire starts he had expected do not materialize. ICT4 releases
    the two SEATs for new assignments and the State of Arizona Aviation Officer
    orders them to reposition to the Wickenburg SEAT Base.

    ( Two hours after releasing Air Attack… )

    The fire eventually jumps the two-track road ( circa 1630 ) on the east flank
    and grows to about six acres by late afternoon.

    ** From the ADOSH report…

    At 1100 a BLM helicopter transported seven firefighters to the top of the ridge.
    One helitack crew member and six DOC Lewis Crew firefighters hiked in the
    rest of the way ( for a total of 14 firefighters there at the 2-4 acre fire site ) to
    construct handline, cold trail and hot spot.

    At approximately 1225, Shumate reported that the fire size was
    (only) about two acres.

    At 1442, Shumate released the Air Attack and the SEATS
    due to the fire holding on all four sides.

    At 1540, Shumate released the BLM brush engine and a local Peeples
    Valley fire engine due to the lack of multipie fires.

    At 1630 ( 2 hours after releasing the SEATs ), the fire jumped the two-track jeep road.

    ** From the WFAR… ( NOTE: Almost word for word same as ADOSH )

    At 1100, a BLM helicopter transported seven firefighters to the top of the ridge.
    The one helitack and six DOC Lewis Crew firefighters hiked in the rest of
    the way into the fire ( for a total of 14 firefighters there at the 2-4 acre fire site ).

    At approximately 1225, the ICT4 (Shumate) reported the fire size was
    (only) about two acres.

    At 1442, the ICT4 released the ATGS and the SEATs because the fire was
    holding on all four sides.

    At 1540, the ICT4 released the BLM brush engine and a local Peeples Valley
    fire engine that were being held in the event any new fires from the lightning
    on June 28 appeared.

    At 1630 ( 2 hours after releasing the SEATs ), the fire jumped the two-track jeep road.

    The Yarneil Hill Fire was (then) estimated at six acres by ASFD Crew Coordinator
    Justin Smith who was assigned by Shumate as the Division Supervisor for the
    crew on the hill. At some point near this time Shumate learned that the Lewis
    Crew was out of chainsaw gas which seriousiy hindered their ability to be
    effective in chaparral.

    ** From SAIT Interview notes ( regarding Saturday, June 29, 2013 )…

    Interview with Dean Fernandez ( BLM rep )…

    Saturday morning went to Weaver Mtn Helibase and went in the helo and
    scouted the fire, it looked good, innocent. They landed ( at the Yarnell
    Fire Station ) and picked (DOC) people up and took the crew members
    out ( to the fire ). I ( Dean ) was acting as a Rep and suggested several times
    to get a pumpkin set up, but it wasn’t happening… later on the fire picked up
    which was a surprise. It jumped the line,

    Interview with Nate Peck, ICT4 and FFT1 with Moki Helitack NE Washington;
    Coleville NF assistant Engine Operator…

    On the morning of the 29th we were up in Payson for severity.
    Flew to Weaver Mountain helibase.
    Plan was heli for overhead recon.
    Fire at the time was very minor.
    Making contact w/ IC in Yarnell, requests placement of firefighters on the fire.
    He gets dropped off at helispot around 1000.
    Informed of 3 loads of firefighters coming up and he was to stay w/ the crew to assist.
    By 1030 everyone on the hill. Little to no activity on the fire.
    Perfect fire for an ICT5 trainee.
    About 1330/1345 picked up a little spot
    Spot is building rapidly around 1445 no more shuttles.
    Crew boss states that he will act as DIVS because of activity.
    FL of 10-20ft hoping that jeep trail will hold the fire.
    AA comes with SEATS as 1st load of Moki Helitack arrive.
    Fire is just walking down the slope, very intense burning SE winds, trying to
    hold SE corner.
    Name of IC? Yarnell Hill IC, no name never knew the IC’s name.
    (Must have been Russ) this is around 1630.
    Phone call to IC, answered by IC trainee.
    Still fussing about air tankers, go by title of
    DIVS A to talk to AA. Size 10-20 acres. Winds still out of SE, fire backing.
    Lots of radio traffic, lookout helping him w/ communication.
    IC trainee show up, wants him to cover Ops.
    Nate said no, keep process simple.
    Stayed on the clock with crew all night. I have struggled with the IC and process.
    AA on scene @ 0730, helo on @ 0800 config for back haul.
    Shuttles started ( removing crew from ridge ) soon after.
    Started running retardant on SE corner.
    He and IC trainee to go out ( back to Yarnell ) on last load.
    Heard conversation of GM hiking in, saw someone standing by sling location.
    Thought he spoke w/ Eric Marsh at that time he was asking excellent questions about conditions.
    Someone made the comment that he’s really on it.
    Mentioned that the fire had really blown up yesterday afternoon.

    Interview with Russ Shumate…

    Two crews ordered for next morning.
    Inmates – planned for day shift
    0700 (Saturday) Back in Yarnell – no smoke showing. No smoke from FS.
    AA from Tonto – Sized up fire, no smoke
    To fire – 1 helitack type 4 – 2 AFS crew boss, crew boss(t) – 4 inmates
    Size up – not much heat – can cold trail
    About 1400 – getting creep on the west side
    Can handle – moving that way
    Helicopter could only get about 50 gals to the fire. Asked “do we want retardant?”
    More creep moving – do we need retardant or water:
    Plan to fly six helitacks/12 bladder bags to fire.
    Pocket to eastside spreading possible spot hiking
    Guy on spot picked up by helo
    13 guys spent night on fire
    Approximately 10-15 acres at sunset
    Didn’t get helicopter from Prescott due to weather.
    About 2-3 fires spots across the road.

    Interview with Darrell Willis…

    Russ said they thought fire was done deal ( on Saturday), then fire got out and
    he was unsure where it was.
    Heard rumor that the crew fired about on mile of line.

    >> Sitta also wrote…
    >>
    >> It would be very easy to get an unexpected burst of activity in the
    >> Yarnell fuels, even without any wind. Perhaps some duff ten feet into
    >> the interior was smoldering, the embers crept into a nice pocket of
    >> loose, light material right under some oak, and whoosh — suddenly
    >> you have twenty foot flames. Those flare ups create their own little
    >> convection currents, which can carry burning leaves across a road.
    >> ( Another reason why even informal lookouts are important! )

    Well… unless it can be proven that the Lewis crew really did try to do
    some ‘burnoff’ of their own down to the jeep road ( and screwed it up )
    then that pretty much HAS to be explanation for the beginning of the
    ‘second Yarnell Hill fire’…

    …the one they ended up fighting on Sunday, June 30, 2013 ).

  20. Sitta says

    Marti Reed on February 4, 2014 at 11:16 pm said:

    “I believe those of us who have contributed mucho mucho time out of out lives need to figure out how to make this relevant in order to make sure all this work isn’t wasted. And I, frankly, don’t know how to do that. But I am not evenly remotely going to connect another damn dot until we find a way to make sure our work isn’t being done in vain.”

    Marti, (in case you are still reading here) THANK YOU for all you’ve done. You deserve to try to get back to work (as I have been). Your work will not go away.

    I’m not really sure what to do with all of this, myself. I hope WTKTT is right (“this is not going away.”) But what it will take to motivate the agencies to make changes — I have no idea. All I can think of is to: A) nudge my legislators toward sane fire policy — I can do this, being in a western state; B) keep the discussion factual and relevant during our wildland fire training sessions; C) bring our concerns up with all my coworkers and supervisors, and network with others I find who don’t want to let this go; and D) be open to any opportunities that arise to take this further. If there does end up being any groundswell of interest, this forum (and your research, Marti) will be an excellent resource.

    That said, I remain frustrated. I worry that this incident (and the SAIT) will lead our wildland fire culture in the direction of complacency instead of better practices. We will never feel as shocked by the deaths of 19 hotshots again. Will we just adjust to a new reality, and accept firefighter deaths every summer? The nation seems to have adjusted to a new normal of perpetual deployment in the Middle East, and the deaths that come with that. We go about our lives and try not to think about it too much.

    How do I know we won’t just accept firefighters dying to save houses in the WUI every year, and get used to the funerals, and the heroes in the obituaries, until it’s not even newsworthy anymore? The SAIT implies that these things just happen. I know we all disagree with that conclusion here, but I’m not hearing it protested enough elsewhere.

    My only comfort is that the work done here will not go away. I won’t forget what I’ve picked up here. And if there ever is a USFS or BLM research team, or some other safety oriented group with a bit of clout and a mandate, there is a lot they can learn on this forum.

  21. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to mike post on February 7, 2014 at 12:06 am said:

    >> mike said…
    >>
    >> Obviously there was tunnel vision in play that day.
    >> The ultimate tunnel vision had to be in how the behavior of that fire
    >> was assessed.
    >> …
    >> Why the tunnel vision?
    >> …
    >> Was it due to external pressure from above, the pressure of the culture
    >> of the PFD, or was it just a bad read?
    >> …
    >> Trying to identify all the stressors that lead WFF to have tunnel vision
    >> may be an enormous task.

    Perhaps…. but perhaps a certain fair portion of the ‘situational stressors’ that
    were in play that day really have always been ( and are, even now ) just
    ‘hiding in plain sight’.

    Example: I’m not sure a lot of people have ever really read Darrell Willis’
    entire ‘Employee Evaluation Report’ on Eric Marsh, written and signed
    by both men on May 3, 2013… just 57 days before they would both find
    themselves working in DIVS/OPS level positions on the same fire in
    their own backyard ( The Yarnell Hill Fire ).

    Likewise… I don’t think a lot of people have ever really read Eric Marsh’s
    own ‘Employee Self Evaluation Report’ written in response to Willis’
    evaluation on the same day in May… just 57 days before Yarnell.

    They are both fascinating documents and tell you a LOT about the real
    employer/employee relationship between these two men and the
    PERFORMANCE EXPECTATIONS that were DIRECTLY imposed
    on Marsh just 57 days before Yarnell.

    I don’t think many people have read the entire documents because they
    are simply ‘photographs’ taken of the documents themselves and they
    have never been ‘searchable’ PDF files or valid scanned images.

    On page 2 of Willis’ evaluation… someone’s THUMB is even photographed
    in the top left, just holding the document in front of a camera.

    So for the sake of making these 2 documents ‘searchable’ and recorded
    somewhere other than deep in the SAIT FOIA/FOIL package… Below is
    a ‘searchable’ TEXT version of both of those documents.

    ** SUMMARY OF THE DOCUMENTS

    NOTE: Opinions expressed are my own. Your mileage may vary.

    The ‘itemized’ checkbox section for Marsh was filled out by Willis with
    mostly the ‘Exceeds standards’ checkbox choice… ( basically an ‘A’ grade ),
    but out of the 34 separate line items that Willis was ‘grading’ Marsh on
    Willis obviously chose to give Marsh the inferior ‘Meets standards’
    choice ( basically a ‘B’ grade instead of an ‘A’ ) only 5 times.

    So Willis basically gave Marsh 29 ‘A’ grades… and just 5 ‘B’ grades.

    Those 5 ‘B’ grades are actually pretty ‘telling’ about what was going on
    between these 2 men because they are all pretty ‘similar’ and it seems
    obvious what Willis was telling Marsh he needs to ( in Willis’ opinion )
    ‘work on’ in the coming year.

    Those (only) 5 ‘B’ grades Willis gave Marsh are the following…

    Communicates effectively ( verbal and written ) – M
    Analyzes decision before acting – M
    Willingly cooperates with co-workers and members of management – M
    Adapts to and supports change in a positive manner – M
    Communication with staff is timely, clear, and continuous – M

    So I think that makes it pretty clear that while Willis was NOT totally
    ‘dissatisfied’ with his employee Eric Marsh… he was also clearly
    indicating that HE thinks Marsh has ‘communication’ issues ( with HIM
    and others ) and that Marsh needs to not ‘knee-jerk’ in some of his
    decision making and then refuse to listen to / cooperate with (quote)
    ‘members of management’.

    Willis goes on to pretty much clarify that is what he meant in the checkbox
    section with the following statement/directive in the ‘comments’ section….

    “I would like to be involved up front on all planned events that the crew is
    involved in to add my expertise to ensure that the event goes off in an
    excellent manner.”

    So Willis is implying that some other ( recent? ) ‘events’ that the GM crew
    were involved with ( fireline events? ) did not ‘go off in an excellent manner’
    ( according to Willis’ definition ) and Willis believes it was because he
    wasn’t ‘in the loop’ and being consulted about what they were doing.

    That sounds like a pretty heavy directive.

    Paraphrased…

    “I am your boss and I’m unhappy with some decisions you have made
    on your own so please consult with ME FIRST from now on.”

    or… even simpler…

    “I don’t fully trust your decision making. Talk to me first from now on
    so I can ‘add MY expert input’ to (all) your decision making.”

    Again… that’s pretty heavy stuff and creates an obvious level of distrust
    and a clear expectation that this employee needs to be running his
    future ‘decision making’ through this employer.

    Willis doesn’t even stop there.

    He immediately ALSO tells Marsh that he apparently doesn’t trust all of
    his specific decision making with regards to STAFFING issues, either.

    Willis immediately adds…

    “I am requesting that you notify me anytime you need assistance from HR on
    hiring issues and that all inquiries that are made to HR are run through me first.”

    Again… pretty heavy ( and specific ) stuff.

    Willis is telling Marsh that ALL INQUIRIES made to ‘Human Resources’,
    specifically, are ALSO now to ALWAYS go through HIM FIRST.

    He doesn’t want Marsh going ‘behind his back’ anymore ( as Marsh apparently
    had already done at some point ) over the whole Granite Mountain full-time or
    seasonal staffing issues. ( E.g – The Robert Caldwell benefits issue ).

    Again… adds even another level of ‘tension’ between Willis and Marsh
    just 57 days before Yarnell.

    Then Willis says this which actually foreshadows part of what was GOING
    to happen just 57 days later in Yarnell…

    “I also would like you to begin the mentoring of Jesse Steed as your
    replacement giving him opportunities and the freedom to lead the crew
    and you take a more hands off approach.”

    Unless there was already a ‘promise’ between these two men ( Willis and
    Marsh ) that Marsh would be transitioning into either Willis’ job, or some
    other capacity at PFD… then this sounds an awful lot like a ‘for the sake
    of the department and the division please make sure you are replaceable’
    sort of ‘gentle’ warning.

    NOTE: After the incident… Willis DID say in public that he, himself, had been
    ‘mentoring’ Marsh as his replacement…. but there is no other real
    documented evidence of that and Willis’ statement to Marsh documented
    above was 57 days BEFORE the Yarnell fire. Was this ‘mentoring’
    agreement ( and the implied automatic promotion ) already FULLY verbalized
    AND understood between these two men on May 5, 2013, at the time this
    documented exchange took place?

    Willis ends his ‘comments’ with another BIG (two-part) warning to Marsh…

    “Finally, I believe it is imperative for you to maintain a positive attitude
    in everything you do, you have 20 people looking for leadership everyday, the
    department is looking at our Division everyday and the City as a whole is
    evaluating our performance, goals and service. we need to lead up front and
    realize the Division’s future is in our hands.”

    ** Part one of this two-part warning from Willis to Marsh…

    “Work on your attitude. No negativity ( as I have seen lately ).”

    ** Part two of this two-part warning from Willis to Marsh…

    “Not only am I going to be watching YOU… the entire Department and City of
    Prescott itself is closely watching BOTH of us and the actual PERFORMANCE
    of this Wildland Division. The future of the whole thing depends on YOU
    and ME now. Let’s PERFORM! ( …but don’t forget to run your decision
    making through me, as I already requested above ).”

    Again… this is just 57 days before Yarnell.

    So… the 64 dollar question…

    Does everything documented above, just 57 days before Yarnell, amount
    to Eric Marsh being a man who felt he was now being ‘closely watched’
    by his direct supervisor… AND by the entire City and Department he
    worked for… and who was TOLD by his direct supervisor ( Willis ) to
    ‘run all your decision making through ME from now on’?

    Are these ‘stressors’ that MIGHT have been fully in play on June 30, 2013,
    with BOTH of these men actually working the SAME FIRE at an
    operational / command level?

    I think, at the very least, it documents an ‘odd’ employer/employee
    relationship that had devolved into a fair level of MISTRUST… but the
    direct supervisor was trying to get a handle on that with direct
    requests to ‘run your decision making through me, please’.

    The tragedy of the Yarnell Hill Fire is still deeply rooted in ‘decision making’,
    and who did or did not PARTICIPATE in that fateful decision making that day.

    Here are the ( searchable ) TEXT versions of both of those ‘photographed’
    original documents in the SAIT FOIA/FOIL package…

    *** DARRELL WILLIS’ EMPLOYEE EVALUATION FOR ERIC MARSH
    ***
    *** MAY 3, 2013 – 57 DAYS BEFORE THE YARNELL FIRE

    Document in SAIT FOIA/FOIL package: ASF000042-INV to ASF000384-INV.pdf
    Page 250 ( of 343 pages )

    City of Prescott
    Handwriting: 1051 230
    Stamp: MAY 13, 2013
    EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL

    EMPLOYEE NAME: Eric Marsh
    DEAPARTMENT: Fire/Wildland
    POSITION TITLE: Superintendent
    SUPERVISOR NAME: Darrell Willis
    EVALUATION PERIOD: 04/10/12 – 04/10/13
    EVALUATION TYPE: Annual

    RATINGS E=Exceeds Standard M=Meets Standard I=Improvement Needed

    * Quality and Quantity of Work

    Thoroughness and accuracy of work – E
    Being proactive – E
    Prioritizes and meets established deadlines – E
    Communicates effectively ( verbal and written ) – M
    Adheres to safety programs and assigned tasks – E

    * Dependability / Attendance

    Demonstrates reliability and responsibility by following a job
    through to completion – E
    Takes responsibility for a job – E
    Reports to work on all scheduled days, adheres to break and meal schedule – E
    Begins work, meetings and appointments on time – E
    Provides appropriate notice when requesting time off or calling in sick – E

    * Core Beliefs

    Acts with integrity – E
    Works as a team – E
    Personal commitment and loyalty – E
    Solves problems – E
    Takes pride in excellent results – E
    High level of productivity – E
    Being nice – E

    * Decision Making / Initiative / Problem Solving

    Performs with minimal supervision – E
    Analyzes decision before acting – M
    Looks for better ways to perform job – E
    Appropriately utilizes resources – E
    Makes practical, routine decisions – E

    * Teamwork and Interpersonal Relationships

    Willingly cooperates with co-workers and members of management – M
    Treats others with respect and consideration – E
    Demonstrates support for the City, department mission, and policies – E
    Accepts constructive criticism positively – E
    Adapts to and supports change in a positive manner – M

    * Supervisory Positions Only

    Evaluations are accurate description of employee behavior and are
    completed on time – E
    Communication with staff is timely, clear, and continuous – M
    Monitors work of direct reports to ensure quality standards are met – E
    Gives specific and constructive feedback to expand on professional
    development – E
    Consistently and creatively demonstrates appreciation for a job well done – E
    Leads in a way that promotes a positive work environment – E
    Empowers others to make decisions and suggest changes – E

    * Goals / Objectives Met

    All met.

    * Goals / Objectives for Next Evaluation Period

    1. Build capacity and succession plan for GMIHC to maintain NWCG qualifications
    if any FTE ( Full Time Employee ) leaves.
    2. Continue to develop relationships, teamwork and cohesiveness with all
    department divisions and personnel.
    3. Develop a fuels treatment plan that includes how and when fuels projects will
    be completed based upon grant requirements.
    4. Support fire administration and City leaders on decisions related to staffing and finances.
    5. Continue to learn and implement all budgeting and financial processes.

    * Summary of Performance by Evaluator

    Eric, 2012 and the beginning of 2013 has been a challenging and exciting time for
    the Wildland Division. You have weathered the storm and kept the Division intact.

    You have done a great job with the budget this year, the crew is intact with a major
    disruption in staffing just a few days prior to the seasonal firefighters starting.
    This issue shows the resilience of the you and the Division to meet the challenge.
    I would like you to work on some things that can use improvement this year.

    I would like to be involved up front on all planned events that the crew is involved
    in to add my expertise to ensure that the event goes off in an excellent manner.

    I am requesting that you notify me anytime you need assistance
    from HR on hiring issues and that all inquiries that are made to HR are run through
    me first. I also would like you to begin the mentoring of Jesse Steed as your
    replacement giving him opportunities and the freedom to lead the crew and you
    take a more hands off approach. I would also like you to put together a succession
    plan that addresses the succession of all FTEs within the crew. Eric, one area
    that I sense some frustration in is the area of staffing of two lost positions. Chief
    Fraijo, you and I have done everything we can to address this issue, we have spent
    a lot of time and energy trying to fill the positions, it is now time to let the system
    work, realize that we have done our best and make the best of the situation.

    I appreciate how you have reached out to the other Divisions within the
    department and are trying to integrate the Wildland Division into the department
    as a whole, this is going to be a long process, please continue leading out in
    this area. Finally, I believe it is imperative for you to maintain a positive attitude
    in everything you do, you have 20 people looking for leadership everyday, the
    department is looking at our Division everyday and the City as a whole is
    evaluating our performance, goals and service. we need to lead up front and
    realize the Division’s future is in our hands. Thank you for another exceptional
    year.

    * Signatures

    Employee Signature and Date
    Eric Marsh – 05/03/13

    Supervisor Signature and Date
    Darrell Willis – 05/03/13

    Department Head Signature and Date
    Dan Fraijo – 05/09/13

    Employee signature indicates that this appraisal has been reviewed and
    discussed and does not necessarily indicate agreement with the contents.

    *** ERIC MARSH’S OWN EMPLOYEE SELF APPRAISAL DOCUMENT
    ***
    *** MAY 3, 2013 – 57 DAYS BEFORE THE YARNELL FIRE

    Document in SAIT FOIA/FOIL package: ASF000042-INV to ASF000384-INV.pdf
    Page 252 ( of 343 pages )

    City of Prescott
    EMPLOYEE SELF APPRAISAL

    EMPLOYEE NAME: Eric Marsh
    DEPARTMENT: Fire
    POSITION TITLE: Superintendent
    EVALUATION TYPE: Annual

    * Summary of workplace accomplishments performed over the year

    Successful recruitment and training for the 2012 and 2013 season. Safe and
    successful season. Accomplished a lot of crew member training objectives.
    Met projected targets for the fuels program/grants. Continued to provide
    succession training to crewmembers. Continued my own succession training.
    Provided the City/Department with training and manpower to meet multiple objectives.

    * Greatest workplace challenges over the last year

    It is challenging to run a nationally recognized program with minimum standards
    and requirements that I am unable to meet. It is frustrating when I know that I have
    the answers to anyone’s questions about the program but can’t communicate with
    the decision makers to engage in an educational dialogue. I believe things are
    starting to change, however I still have some big questions that need answering
    about staffing.

    * Provide an assessment of your success in reaching the goals set at
    * the beginning of the evaluation period.

    I have continued my training with the Wildland Division budget and other
    administrative duties. I was able to oversee a successful fuels program
    that got more crew members involved in ownership of the program.

    * Do you have any suggestions for the Department / City to consider for
    * streamlining processes or improving efficiency?

    I feel that encouraging by-in of the current direction the department is going will
    foster a supportive and productive work environment. Supervisor training for
    effective performance evaluations would be nice.

    * Additional Employee Comments

    I am encouraged by many things that are taking place organizationally.
    It is always easier to weather the storm if there is support and shared vision.

    * Signatures

    Employee Signature and Date
    Eric Marsh – 05/03/13

    Supervisor Signature and Date
    Darrell Willis – 05/05/13

    • mike says

      I would be careful about reading too much into this document. Different bosses handle these things differently, and a document where everything is marked excellent is usually worthless. I have no doubt there was some tension, but I think it was likely around staff and benefits issues. Marsh I suspect had taken these matters into his own hands, and probably pissed some people off, and Willis had to smooth it over. My gut tells me this was not about fireline issues that Willis was asking Marsh to run by him.

      The “M” rating that might stand out is “analyzes decision before acting”. Hard to know what Willis was referring to here. Also hard to know how much thought Marsh put into that decision that day. Was it a rash decision, or did he think about it, but came to the wrong conclusions? We do hear him discussing it with Steed apparently, so maybe it was the latter.

      • Rocksteady says

        I agree, with only 3 choices. Excellent, Meets or Improvement, there is a huge range of actual assessment.

        Even if Marsh had every single one of his tick boxes as a “meets requirements”, that would not be a red flag..

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          That’s true… but even with no obvious ‘red flags’
          in that evaluation ( Williis was generally pleased
          with Marsh, fer sure ) there is still, I think an
          obvious ‘message’ that Willis was trying to convey
          to Marsh.

          It’s not that Willis only chose to give Marsh a
          ‘B’ grade out of the 34 possible ‘A’ grades…

          It’s the fact that those 5 ‘B’ grades were all
          ‘of a kind’ and had shared implications.

          Attitude, decision making, respect for management.

          Backed up by Willis’ direct comments about
          those same things… I think there was a clear
          ‘message’ being sent to Marsh…

          …just 57 days before the Yarnell incident.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        mike… totally agree. This was generally an ‘excellent’
        employee review… but I don’t think I am ‘reading too much
        into it’. What I see there is a not-so-subtle message
        coming OUT of the document.

        I think it’s pretty obvious Willis was using this once-a-year
        opportunity to send Marsh a pretty clear ‘message’, also
        knowing that Chief Dan Fraijo would be reading it.

        Willis even addresses Chief Fraijo directly in his
        comment section ( and not Marsh ) since Willis KNEW
        that the Chief would be reading what he was saying
        to Marsh. Willis turned it into a ‘three-way’ conversation.

        I’m also going to disagree that Willis’ direct
        request / directive to Marsh to ‘run your decision making
        through me from now on’ was all about the obvious
        ‘behind the back’ incident with regards to benefits for
        the full-time employees. ( Ashcraft, etc. ).

        My reasoning there is that Willis directly related that
        ‘directive’ to something that Willis says resulted in
        ‘less than excellent performance because I wasn’t
        in the loop’.

        I’m not sure some background frap about Marsh
        contacting Human Resources directly over a
        benefits issue would have generated this ‘excellent
        performance’ concern that Willis was talking about.

        That ‘excellent performance’ part of Willis’ directive
        seems to suggest he was more concerned about
        something that happened ‘in the field’ that he felt
        didn’t result in the ‘excellent performance’ he ( Willis )
        was ‘expecting’ from the entire GM outfit, or something.

        So you may be right… all the ‘run things through me
        from now on’ MAY have been all administrative stuff…

        …but I’m left with a nagging feeling about that
        ‘excellent performance’ thing meaning that Willis wanted
        to be ‘included in decisions from now on’ that were
        going to be taking place while the crew was actually
        ‘on the job’ somewhere (like Yarnell… only 57 days later?).

    • Sitta says

      Although I wish there were great insights to be revealed in employee evaluations, I’d suggest you take the scores with a grain of salt. I went through a string of supervisors who just gave everyone straight 3’s, because it was easier and quicker. I was fairly shocked the first time I had an evaluation with anything else.

      Also, supervisors and hires are supposed to go through the expectations at the beginning of each employment period, then the evaluation at the end. In my experience, this rarely happens (I’ve had the “expectations” review perhaps twice, and have had to bug supervisors to give me my evaluation before leaving). Don’t trust any signature dates on an evaluation form. 😉

      However, the narrative is interesting. I’m impressed that Willis took the time to write it, and to include such specific recommendations and future goals. Two themes that resonate in both Willis and Marsh’s texts are Marsh’s frustration with lack of support from above (by the “decision makers”) and keeping the crew intact and qualified. If Prescott is hoping to have another hotshot crew, I’d want to make sure these issues were addressed.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        It also remains VERY interesting that Marsh, himself, did
        NOT say it was ‘difficult’ to meet the ‘minimum’ standards
        for his organization…

        …Marsh specifically says his ‘challenge’ was that he
        was UNABLE to meet those ‘minimum standards’.

        That remains pretty much an admission, in writing, that
        Eric Marsh KNEW that Granite Mountain was ‘faking it’,
        (in some way)… even just 57 days before Yarnell.

        Yes… I know… all of that was ( supposedly ) looked at
        and all the ‘qualifications’ were ( supposedly ) met
        ( on paper, anyway ) …but there is still ( and always
        will be ) that statement from Marsh himself…

        Eric Marsh – May 3, 2013 ( 57 days before Yarnell )…

        “It is challenging to run a nationally recognized program
        with minimum standards and requirements that I am
        UNABLE to meet.”

        • Elizabeth says

          Investigations Basics 101: Never ignore a credible whistleblower. NEVER.
          Marsh was whistleblowing in this performance evaluation. I have no doubt about that.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            I think that employee evaluation was a
            ‘two way warning’. Willis was trying to
            ‘warn’ Marsh that if it didn’t cool it with all
            the calls to Human Resources behind
            Willis’ back… and include Willis in more
            of the ‘decision making’… there was
            gonna be trouble…

            …but Marsh countered with his ‘challenge’…
            that he was being asked to maintain a
            group that had national ‘minimum’ standards
            that he was UNABLE to meet… and if
            that didn’t resolve soon… well… there
            was gonna be trouble coming from his
            direction a well.

            It was all very friendly… but the messages
            ( in both directions ) were clearly there…

            …just 57 days before Yarnell.

  22. Bob Powers says

    Elizabeth—574 Delta could have been the converted crop duster that the now use as a small Air Tanker I saw it in 1 of the early pictures that GM took. It may be the one that was dropping on there line firing early in the day. It would probably be in the early IA orders and a close air port Air Tanker contract Like Prescott ? Maybe not the Id number you are looking for.

    WTKTT— The positions above that you refer to as Hired are actualey resource ordered overhead. The only hired people on fires are contractors like equipment, Fire camp cooking units There are some contract crews for fire camp jobs.
    Also the FS people you speak of would have been in pay status when they left there home base and stayed on pay until the fire finance put them off duty or off shift. If they were on the Fire Line as it sounds they were on duty.
    They would also be qualified for lower assignments if they were Division Bosses,
    Strike team Leaders—( Cats, Engines, Crews or a combination ).
    Hope that helps it dose not sound like they had a specific assignment.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Mr. Powers… thanks.

      Yes… it sounds like Hulburd, Clawson and Yowell just sort of
      got ‘caught in the confusion’ between the Type 2 team and the
      ordering of the Type 1 team. When Roy Hall asked Bea Day
      to just ‘get him some people’ from Prescott early on Sunday,
      even he didn’t know that he would be ordering a Type 1 team
      just a few hours later.

      By the time these fellas got there… not only had the Type 1
      ordering started… things were just simply going sideways.

      I still believe they were all ‘on the clock’, however, from the
      time they arrived in Yarnell… through the time they were on
      Shrine Road trying to ‘tie in’ with Sciacca and accidentally
      capturing GM’s last radio transmissions… right on through
      their participation in the actual ground rescue effort.

      Clawson, Hulburd and Yowell were all hired ( according to the
      ROSS ordering report ) as DIVS… but whether any or all of
      them were ever given any actual DIVS assignments when
      they arrived in Yarnell is still unknown.

      I still wonder what Tony Sciacca’s own SAIR interview notes
      mean when he said he was there on Shrine road and ‘tied in’
      with Clawson, Hulburd and Yowell.

      ‘Tied in’ for what?

      Had Sciacca himself already been given an official assignment
      and since he was also PNF… Clawson, Hulburd and Yowell
      were told to just go ‘tie in with him’?

      To do what?

      These are all still questions that need to be answered.

      All we know right now ( finally ) is that PNF personnel Clawson,
      Hulburd and Yowell WERE there… they WERE doing a LOT of
      things ( in some official capacity ), they were in a position to
      hear ( and witness themselves ) some pretty important things…

      …but not ONE of them has ever been interviewed by any
      official agency tasked with investigating what happened
      that day in Yarnell. Very strange.

      Also very strange is that the ROSS public record for that day
      still says all of these men ( AND Darrell Willis ) remained
      ‘assigned to the Yarnell fire’ for the full 12 days… but I really
      don’t think that is the case. Whether that was actually reflected
      in any final invoicing still remains to be seen.

      Question: If there is an ‘incident within an incident’ like this…
      would personnel who are then re-assigned to that incident
      still be considered on ‘Active duty’ for the length of the primary
      incident itself… even if ( as is the case this time ) their duties
      really became ‘off site’ things like making funeral arrangements
      and all the other things that go with such an ‘incident
      within an incident’?

      When does an ‘Incident within an Incident’ such as this one actually
      END… as far as the official reporting goes? When all the bodies have
      been removed… or only when any personnel originally assigned to
      the secondary incident have completed ALL related tasks?

      What I am saying is… maybe ALL of these men really did
      deserve to be listed as being on ‘active duty’ for the
      entire ‘Yarnell Fire’ if they then became actively involved with
      all those other things that needed to be done ‘off site’ as
      related to this particular ‘Incident within the Incident’.

      Or… maybe it’s just a mix-up in the ROSS system as to
      who was actually on the Yarnell Hill fire for how long.

      More to come on all this, I suppose.

      • Bob Powers says

        As far as Willis I would bet he was sent home to deal with the personnel grief the fatalities and the families of his unit and did not work on the fire again. That is a normal process.
        12 days on that fire would be a long period sounds like a stretch for out of area resources.

  23. Robert the Second says

    Sonny,

    You posted a ways up there about being a ‘tour guide’ for the YHF. I will take you up on that if you’re interested. Myself and a few other WFF will be in Yarnell on Thursday, February 13th. We’re meeting at the Ranch House restaurant, cafe at 0900 (9:00 am).

    I would be honored and most appreciative.
    Let me know. Thanks.

    • Robert the Second says

      Sonny,

      DISREGARD the above post regarding February 13th. The other folks backed out. Another time maybe.

      • Sonny says

        ok. I just now read this. Best way to reach me is snail mail for fast reply. P.O. Box 42 Yarnell Arizona 85362.
        I am not online much. I have not been to the library to check here. I briefly skimmed for my name. Saw this. With Joy’s current health, I need a heads up that I can reply to you all and without her I cannot get to email area or phone. That is why I posted my mailing address. I am glad to see you postponed. I would of been too late. 3-4 hours too late.

  24. Robert the Second says

    WTKTT,

    They could have worked in any position even though ordered as DIVS, hence the Misc. Overhead, like task Force Leaders, Strike Team Ldrs, Dozer Boss, etc.

    Don’t know anything about ‘the list.’

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      You mean… like ‘Safety Officer(s)’?

      Roy Hall’s own interview says Bea told him these guys were
      ‘on the move’ ( headed to Yarnell from Prescott ) circa 1:40 PM,
      so they could have been in Yarnell as early as 2:00 PM or so.

      Their vehicles ( all THREE of them ) were photographed up
      at the ICP and parked ( and UTVs absent from trailers ) at
      1515 ( 3:15 PM ). So counting the time it would have taken
      to unload the UTVs… we KNOW they were all there by at
      least 1510 ( 3:10 PM ).

      Marty Cole, the only officially hired ‘Safety Officer’, was still sitting
      in Prescott until 3:30 PM or so. He wasn’t even going to head
      down there until he saw the official work order show up and
      never even arrived that day until just before the deployment.

      So it seems to me that… since the fire had already
      transitioned to a Type 2 ( long )… and there was still no
      required ‘Safety Officer’ on duty… that any one of these
      guys hired as DIVS could have been fulfilling that role on
      the fire until Marty Cole actually showed up… yes?

      Maybe that IS what happened.

      Maybe there WAS at least a ‘designated Safety Officer’
      on duty long before the deployment.

      Unless more documentation is uncovered about what the
      heck was really going on at that ICP that afternoon… or
      someone finally gets around to interviewing…

      Jayson Clawson
      Aaron Hulburd
      KC (Casey) ‘Bucky’ Yowell

      …it’s all conjecture.

      I still find it unbelievable that neither the SAIT or ADOSH
      even bothered to interview any of these guys… when they
      are the ones that captured GM’s final moments and were
      also the ones out there looking for them… and eventually
      standing right there at the deployment site and confirming
      all 19 deaths to fire command.

      I wonder what else any of them might have heard that
      day while up at the ICP… or at any other time?

      Maybe the Prescott lawyers blocked all three of these guys
      from even talking to the SAIT.

      The SAIT obviously KNEW about them… unless Hulburd
      just sent that Helmet-Cam video to them anonymously,
      or something weird like that.

      Actually… that even begs another question.

      Aaron Hulburd was there for hours and hours.

      Are we supposed to really believe that those few moments
      in the Shrine Parking is the ONLY time that day he was
      recording anything with his Helmet-Cam?

      I wonder if it’s possible he had his Helmet-Cam running
      at any time brefor or after the only video we have seen or
      even (possibly) during the ‘ground rescue’ mission itself?

      • Robert the Second says

        WTKTT,

        NOT Safety Officers. None of them is Red Carded as a Safety Officer. They are all Red Carded in the Operations realm.

        And regarding the Lewis Crew blunder. I still contend it was a leadership and quality control issue. Scrub oak brush is EXTREMELY volatile , especially brush that hasn’t burned in almost 50 years. It has heavy dead leaf understory and a great deal of dead component which acts as kindling. And could easily exhibit fire behavior as you described just based on reduced relative humidity and a little wind along with alignment being fully exposed to solar heating.
        A burnout that you refer to would have drawn a lot of attention and chatter on the radio.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Reply to RTS post on February 9, 2014 at 8:51 pm

          >> RTS said…
          >> NOT Safety Officers. None of them is Red
          >> Carded as a Safety Officer. They are all Red
          >> Carded in the Operations realm.

          Ah… okay… thanks.

          As Mark Twain has said… “We are all ignorant…
          just about different things.”

          My ignorance here was that I was simply assuming
          that anyone who is fully qualified to be an OPS
          level Line Division Supervisor would ALSO
          ( automatically ) have the horsepower to also
          function in the capacity of ‘Safety Officer’, if needed.

          That just seemed to make sense to me.

          I guess there’s yet another set of classes ( and
          ‘tests’ ) just for that position designation.

          So even if anyone realized that a ‘Safety Officer’
          was sorely lacking at some point that afternoon,
          these ‘under the radar’ DIVS hires from Prescott
          National Forest were NOT an option and
          they still had to wait until Marty Cole got there
          because he was the one ‘carded’ for that
          and ‘ordered up’. Got it.

          >> RTS also wrote…
          >> And regarding the Lewis Crew blunder. I still
          >> contend it was a leadership and quality control
          >> issue. Scrub oak brush is EXTREMELY volatile,
          >> especially brush that hasn’t burned in almost 50
          >> years. It has heavy dead leaf understory and a
          >> great deal of dead component which acts as
          >> kindling. And could easily exhibit fire behavior
          >> as you described just based on reduced
          >> relative humidity and a little wind along with
          >> alignment being fully exposed to solar heating.
          >> A burnout that you refer to would have drawn a
          >> lot of attention and chatter on the radio.

          Fair enough. Thanks again ( ongoing thanks ).

          You may be right.

          They may have thought they were ‘done’, with
          no ‘flare-ups’ visible anywhere… and then a minute
          later they turned around and there were 40 foot
          flames jumping over a 12 foot wide road over
          on the east flank with little to no wind beforehand.

          It’s possible, I guess.

          So it might be safe to say that one of the PRIMARY
          ‘learning lessons’ to take away from this entire
          incident would be…

          Given a similar situation and similar fuel type…
          just because you have been doing ‘mop-up’
          operations with a crew of 13 men for almost
          SIX HOURS on a small 2-4 acre area and no
          fire growth whatsoever for all that time… don’t
          you dare think you are DONE and send any
          message to that effect to fire management.

          They might accidentally release resources that
          you are going to sorely need all of sudden.

          If you report the fire as being OUT and/or
          ‘fully contained on all four sides’… make sure
          you are TOTALLY RIGHT about that before
          reporting any such thing to management.

          • Sitta says

            WantsToKnowTheTruth on February 10, 2014 at 1:08 am said:
            “If you report the fire as being OUT and/or
            ‘fully contained on all four sides’… make sure
            you are TOTALLY RIGHT about that before
            reporting any such thing to management.”

            YES.

            And precise vocabulary is important, too.

            from NWCG’s glossary:
            ______________________________
            Contained – The status of a wildfire suppression action signifying that a control line has been completed around the fire, and any associated spot fires, which can reasonably be expected to stop the fire’s spread.

            Control Line – An inclusive term for all constructed or natural barriers and treated fire edges used to control a fire.

            Controlled – The completion of control line around a fire, any spot fires therefrom, and any interior islands to be saved; burned out any unburned area adjacent to the fire side of the control lines; and cool down all hot spots that are immediate threats to the control line, until the lines can reasonably be expected to hold under the foreseeable conditions.

            Mop Up – Extinguishing or removing burning material near control lines, felling snags, and trenching logs to prevent rolling after an area has burned, to make a fire safe, or to reduce residual smoke.
            _______________________________

            We also have a third state, when we actually call a fire “out” (usually after it’s been controlled and monitored for while, unless it was a single tree in sparse vegetation).

            In the real world, it can be difficult to tell exactly when a fire is controlled, especially if it’s a large and dirty burn (a dirty burn has rough edges and pockets of unburned fuel). In my experience, ICs are pretty cautious about calling a fire controlled, and will walk the perimeter of the fire themselves before declaring it “contained” or “controlled”. It looks bad on everyone when a fire rekindles and escapes containment. A crew boss talking to the IC might have been a little fuzzier in their description, however (“we’ve got good line around it,” “it’s about wrapped up,” or “it’s pretty much contained,” for example).

            Mop up may take place on quiet sections of a large, uncontained fire. Usually, though, the mop up phase doesn’t really begin until the whole fire is lined. I was under the impression that on Saturday the crews were still containing the fire (building line around it), not mopping up. Do the details or records exist that can more clearly tell us what was actually going on?

            It would be very easy to get an unexpected burst of activity in the Yarnell fuels, even without any wind. Perhaps some duff ten feet into the interior was smoldering, the embers crept into a nice pocket of loose, light material right under some oak, and whoosh — suddenly you have twenty foot flames. Those flare ups create their own little convection currents, which can carry burning leaves across a road. (Another reason why even informal lookouts are important!)

  25. Robert the Second says

    WTKTT,

    Good job on finally tracking on my post below.

    Robert the Second
    on February 2, 2014 at 3:25 pm said:
    WTKTT,

    Correct. The guys in the helmet cam video are from the PNF and worked on the fire as Task Force Leaders and other misc. fireline overhead.

    FYI on ROSS orders:

    A – Aircraft
    C – Crew
    E – Equipment (engines, dozers, etc.)
    O – Overhead
    S – Supplies
    M – Medical

    And I’m probably missing some.

    Please recall the SAIT predetermined conclusion(s), selective interviews, misplaced evidence and statements only located or ‘found’ when called out on this issue

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      RTS… so you thought that just got ‘lost in the noise’, eh?

      Can you elaborate any more on what else you seem to
      know such as your statement…

      >> (They) worked on the fire as Task Force Leaders and
      >> other misc. fireline overhead.

      Were they actually given DIVS assignments when they
      showed up… like they were ‘hired’ to be… or did they get
      other assignments?

      What does ‘misc. fireline overhead’ mean?

      Were they making peanut butter sandwiches?

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        RTS… followup…

        Roy Hill’s own SAIT interview notes say that Bea Day
        DID send him ‘a list of people that were moving without
        O ( Overhead ) numbers’.

        That ‘list’ ( document? ) has never showed up anywhere.
        The SAIT never bothered to track this document down
        even after Roy Hill admitted it existed.

        Do you know who ELSE was on that list of people being
        hired that day ‘off the radar’?

        • Sitta says

          Argh…moving people without resource orders…that is just so wrong. Honestly, it should take all of five to thirty minutes to let dispatch contact these people, work up a resource order, and fax it to their office. Usually, if there’s any delay in dispatch, it’s because the resources to be ordered aren’t answering their phones or email. It makes sense for an IC to call up their resources personally first (give them a heads up), but it’s stupid for those resources to take off without the resource order in their hands.

          Such a mess.

  26. Elizabeth says

    Who was flying “574 Delta,” and what was “574 Delta”? I don’t see it on the aviation resources list. Anyone?….

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Where is this reference to ‘574 Delta’?

      In a document?… or no?

      Is it something in one of the AIR STUDY videos that no one
      has public access to (yet)?

  27. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** THE REAL STORY OF THE HELMET-CAM VIDEO

    As it turns out… there’s a complete ‘story within a story’ here that hasn’t been told
    yet… and it has to do with exactly WHO took that now-infamous Helmet-Cam
    video out there on the Shrine road on June 30, 2013… who was with him… and
    what they all did AFTER that.

    I apologize in advance for the LENGTH of this post… but there’s a big story to
    tell here and then a lot of evidence to back it up that needed to accompany
    the ‘story’ itself.

    The ‘SHORT STORY’ section below is simply the ‘story’ itself.
    The ‘LONG STORY’ section below has all the evidence and details.

    The other part of this story ( the mysterious part ) is that NONE of this
    was documented in ANY of the official reports… yet all the evidence
    to support this story IS, in fact, contained within the actual interviews that
    the SAIT conducted during their ( so called ) ‘investigation’.

    NONE of the men who were actually there on the Shrine road taking this
    crucial ‘Helmet-Cam’ video were EVER interviewed directly by the SAIT
    even though ( as you will see below ) they continued to play a crucial
    role in the incident following the video and following the deployment.

    Okay… here we go…

    It was long suspected that this Helmet-Cam video was taken by the
    ‘Globe Type 2’ crew somehow finding themselves on the Shrine road circa
    the time of deployment.

    That is NOT the case.

    There are 3 vehicles seen in at various points in the Helmet-Cam video.
    TWO of the vehicles were towing trailers with UTVs in them.

    There are also only 3 individuals seen in the entire Helmet-Cam video.

    Each of these 3 individuals were driving their own vehicles that day.

    ALL THREE of these individuals were ‘special-hires’ from earlier in the day when
    Roy Hall was operating ‘under the radar’ and still just ordering resources outside
    of the ROSS reporting system as part of the Type 2 short-team assembly. That
    was before Roy Hall actually ordered the full Type 1 team and he was just calling
    Bea Day on the phone and asking her to ‘get him people’.

    ALL THREE of these individuals in the Helmet-Cam video were simply
    ‘off-the-radar’ hires for the Type 2 (short) team that came from the Prescott
    National Forest (PNF).

    They are…

    Aaron Hulburd – The actual Helmet-Cam video camera operator.

    Jayson Clawson – The fella in the white helmet seen in the video.

    KC (Casey) ‘Bucky’ Yowell – The fella in the beard we see in the road with radio.

    The ‘story within the story’ here is that these are ALSO the same three people
    who would soon accompany Blue Ridge Superintendent Brian Frisby and Blue
    Ridge Captain Trueheart (Trew) Brown on the actual ‘ground rescue’ mission to
    try and find the Granite Mountain Hotshots after the deployment.

    ** THE SHORT STORY

    Sometime after Roy Hall arrived in Yarnell, and before the point where it
    became obvious a Type 1 team was needed for Yarnell… Type 2 (short)
    team IC Hall just kept calling Bea Day and asking her to ‘get him people’
    that he thought he was going to need that day. Hall has already said
    in his SAIT interview that he didn’t trust the ROSS ( Resource Ordering
    and Status System ) system and that he didn’t want to deal with all
    that ‘computer stuff’. Hall also said he was telling Bea Day to pull people
    from Prescott, wherever possible, because it was ‘close by’.

    In Roy Hall’s YIN notes… he himself states that he started this
    ‘off the radar’ ordering of people just after the 7:00 AM briefing at the
    Yarnell Hill Fire station that morning.

    That’s when Bea Day ordered up people like Tony Sciacca and
    Marty Cole ( Safety Officer ) from Prescott.

    What has NOT been fully documented is that Roy Hall also told Bea
    Day to get him some ‘OPS and DIVS people’ from Prescott… and
    that’s when she also ordered up the following Prescott people…
    Aaron Hulburd, Jayson Clawson and KC (Casey) ‘Bucky’ Yowell.

    Aaron, Jayson and Bucky got to Yarnell BEFORE Siacca and Cole.

    These three traveled together in a 3 vehicle convoy from Prescott and
    then pretty much ‘stayed together’ all of Sunday afternoon.

    It is this 3 vehicle group that we clearly see parked on the side of the
    road circa 1500 ( 3:00 PM ) in that video taken at that time by a crew
    that was leaving the ICP up at the Model Creek School.

    There is evidence in the YIN notes, however, that they arrived at the
    ICP as early as 2:00 PM that afternoon.

    When Tony Sciacca arrived in Yarnell until 1615 ( 4:16 PM ) or so.
    According to his own SAIT interview… Sciacca never actually went
    to the ICP. He says he went straight to the Shrine Road area,
    parked his vehicle, and then ‘followed it back on foot’. It is unclear
    how far back he went or whether he made it all the way to the Youth
    Camp area where the Blue Ridge vehicles were still staged ( but
    in the process of evacuating )… but he says he was there on
    Shrine road in that timeframe ( 1615 ).

    That is ALSO when Sciacca says he ‘got a call from Jayson Clawson’
    ( who was up at the ICP ) and then he ‘tied in with THEM’ ( meaning
    Sciacca stayed on Shrine Road and all THREE of THEM ( Clawson,
    Hulburd and Yowell ) came down to meet him.

    There are also YIN notes that support this because at that time there
    were already doing Helicopter bucket drops up at the ICP and there
    was concern from Clawson and others that their pickups were no
    longer safe… so that’s another reason all THREE of them left the
    ICP at that time and came south to ‘tie in’ with Sciacca on Shrine Road.

    So that is how these three PNF hires ( Clawson, Hulburd and Yowell )
    actually ended up in the parking lot of the St. Joseph Shrine in this
    timeframe. They were simply evacuating their pickups, trailers and
    their two UTVs from the side of the road up at the ICP ( where they
    are seen parked in the other video ) and were down there to ‘tie in’ with
    Tony Sciacca ( according to Tony’s SAIT interview ).

    That is how they were right there in that St. Joseph Shrine parking lot
    in time for Aaron Hulburd to shoot the Helmet-Cam video circa 1639.

    NOTE: Tony Sciacca is not seen in the Helmet-Cam video so its unclear
    where he went or whether he did ‘tie in’ with these other three PNF hires
    there, and had just left before the Helmet-Cam video began. It would
    be Tony Sciacca’s interview notes that also go on to confirm that it
    was Clawson, Hulburd and Yowell that would (quote) “Go looking for
    Granite mountain on the two razors (UTVs)”.

    At this point… we can now see exactly what Hulburd, Clawson and
    Yowell did on the Shrine road.

    Aaron Hulburd started shooting the Helmet-Cam video just before 1639
    ( unless there is more to that video that we still haven’t seen ).

    When the video starts… Hulburd is the farthest WEST of the 3 men.
    His Helmet Camera pans to the EAST for just a moment and that’s when
    we see Clawson and Yowell just standing in the road at the back of
    their own trucks parked just EAST of where Hulburd is now filming.

    Hulburd keeps his Helmet Camera running as all three of the men
    and evacuate the St. Joseph Shrine parking lot and head to a safer spot
    about 1/4 mile EAST on Shrine road, where they stop again.

    What has happened at that point in the video is that Yowell has stopped
    his white pickup and trailer ( with UTV ) FIRST at this new location. Clawson
    has stopped further EAST of Yowell ( with his aquamarine pickup and trailer
    with UTV )… and when Hulburd catches up with them he passes Yowell’s white
    pickup and trailer ( with UTV ) and stops BETWEEN the other two vehicles
    with their trailers and UTVs.

    Hulburd climbs out of his truck at that point and the moment he does is
    when we get the clearest picture of Jayson Clawson, who is wearing the
    WHITE helmet and walks right by Hulburd as he is exiting his pickup.

    Jayson Clawson doesn’t say anything to Aaron Hulburd as he walks
    by. He is obviously concerned about the radio traffic and Clawson is
    walking WEST to get to the back of Yowell’s truck and trailer.

    Hulburd turns his Helmet-Cam to the WEST as Clawson walks by him
    and we see Yowell exit his pickup and follow Clawson to the back of
    his trailer.

    A few moments later… Yowell walks back EAST towards Hulburd, who
    is still filming with his Helmet-Cam… and that’s when we hear Yowell
    say “We need to clone a mobile so we can hear what’s going on”.

    Hulburd then opens the door of his own pickup to retrieve a radio
    and after he does… that is when we see him REMOVE the Helmet-Cam.

    As Hulburd removes the Helmet-Cam… there are a few frames where
    he takes his own ‘portrait’ and he is clearly seen looking into the camera.

    Hulburd then (apparently) places the Helmet-Cam onto the top of the
    pickup’s cab roof and it remains there for the remainder of the video.

    A few moments after Hulburd places the Helmet-Cam onto the top of
    the roof is when we get that full-frontal image of KC (Casey) ‘Bucky’ Yowell
    standing in the road with his own portable radio.

    Jason Clawson ( with the white helmet ) is apparently still to the WEST
    at the back of Yowell’s trailer and he doesn’t return to the other two
    men before the video ends.

    AFTER THE VIDEO ENDS…

    It is still unclear how long Hulburd, Clawson and Yowell stayed there on
    Shrine road after the Helmet-Cam video ends but other evidence in the YIN
    notes proves that all THREE of them did eventually end up down at the
    Ranch House Restaurant parking lot with everyone else circa 1700 ( 5:00 PM ).

    At some point after 1700… the ground rescue operation that was going to
    look for Granite Mountain was organized and was comprised of the following…

    Blue Ridge Superintendent Brian Frisby
    Blue Ridge Captain Trueheart ( Trew ) Brown ( with his GPS unit ).
    PNF hire Aaron Hulburd
    PNF hire Jason Clawson
    PNF hire KC (Casey) ‘Bucky’ Yowell

    There were THREE UTVs in the ‘ground rescue’ party…

    1) The Blue Ridge UTV ( with Frisby and Brown )
    2) Jayson Clawson’s UTV ( He was probably by himself )
    3) KC (Casey) ‘Bucky’ Yowell’s UTV ( with him and Aaron Hulburd in it )

    This actually matches ALL the notes in the Blue Ridge Hotshots
    SAIT interview when they said things like “the other 3 of the 5 who
    were on site were the PNF hires for the type 2 team” and “Clawson
    confirmed 19 expired” and “Bucky and Aaron were pretty quiet”.
    ( See LONG STORY section below for all these actual YIN quotes ).

    The YIN notes also say that Clawson and Yowell DROVE their vehicles
    back to the Shrine area which is where they unloaded the other two
    UTVs and then ‘broke through’ to the west via the Shrine road area
    in order to search for Granite Mountain.

    It was probably Frisby and Brown who ‘led the way’ since they must
    have simply taken a left at the Youth Camp, then carefully followed
    that cutover road where all the dozer work had been over to the
    Sesame area… and then decided it was safe to proceed north
    in the Sesame area to the Sesame Trail road itself and then
    head west towards the old-grader and, eventually, on up to the anchor
    point where GM had been working. Clawson, Hulburd and Yowell had
    NOT been down in that area at all that day so they must have been
    following Frisby and Brown in their UTV who were simply trying to retrace
    the route they took around NOON that day for that initial face-to-face
    meeting with Marsh.

    The reason the ground rescue team was charging out to that exact location
    at that time is because the Ranger 58 DPS helicopter had ALREADY
    found those ‘yellow packs’ out near the anchor point ( which turned out to
    be just leftover bladder bags ) and Ranger 58 was already identifying that
    location as the probable deployment site.

    Ranger 58 ended up ‘hovering’ over those ‘yellow packs’ they were seeing
    out at the anchor point until the THREE UTVs arrived because they knew
    they were headed to that area but Ranger 58 had no way to communicate
    with them directly.

    NOTE: According to all of the DPS people onboard the Ranger 58 helicopter
    ( both pilots and DPS medic Eric Tarr ) there were, in fact, THREE UTVs that
    were ‘down on the ground looking for Granite Mountain’.

    When Ranger 58 was sure the THREE UTVs had located the ‘yellow packs’
    that they had been hovering over… Ranger 58 continued searching and it was
    shortly after that when DPS medic Eric Tarr recalled hearing something about
    a ‘ranch’… and then Ranger 58 flew a direct search line towards the Boulder
    Springs Ranch and found the actual shelters deployed on the ground.

    Ranger 58 called in those coordinates, which were relayed to the 5 firefighters
    in the 3 UTV ground search party. They headed south in the UTVs towards
    the same saddle where GM originally left the two-track road.

    It was still BR Captain Trueheart Brown who was the first to RUN down from
    the saddle to the deployment site. DPS medic Eric Tarr had been dropped
    off 500 yards from the site in a small clearing just 100 yards north of the
    ranch before this time and Eric Tarr was already at the deployment site
    before the ground rescue team reached the saddle. DPS medic Tarr’s own
    post-incident report says he was there on site when he ‘saw’ the ground rescue
    team ( in their UTVs ) arrive up on the saddle… and he ‘waved them down’.

    BR Captain Brown made the descent ( on foot ) from the saddle down to the
    deployment site in just 4 minutes. It is unclear how long it took the others
    to also descend ( on foot ) but within a few minutes all FIVE of them
    ( Frisby, Brown, Hulburd, Clawson and Yowell ) were all there at the deployment
    site along with DPS medic Eric Tarr.

    The YIN notes actually confirm all this. ( See LONG STORY section below ).

    It was Brown who initially counted 18 but it was Jason Clawson who was the
    one who did his own on-site count and ‘confirmed 19’ over the fire command
    frequencies.

    This is when the Blue Ridge YIN notes also mention things like “Clawson
    confirmed 19 fatalities… Aaron and Bucky were pretty quiet”.

    All FIVE of the firefighters then walked east to the Boulder Springs Ranch, and
    DPS medic Eric Tarr followed them there after he finished putting pink flagging
    tape on the burned tree stumps on the north side of the deployment site.

    After reaching the Boulder Springs Ranch and talking to the owners for a
    few minutes… all SIX of them then walked BACK to the deployment site.

    We know that BR Captain Brown then took 10 minutes to walk from the
    deployment site back up to the saddle to his UTV… and at least two of the
    other 4 firefighters must have as well since that’s when all three UTVs were
    driven back to town… but it’s unclear whether Frisby or Clawson ( or both
    of them ) stayed there at the deployment site at that time. It’s actually likely
    that NONE of the FIVE members of the ground team stayed at the deployment
    site and ALL of them simply walked back up to the saddle, got back in the
    THREE UTVs, and headed back to Yarnell the way they came ( Sesame trail
    to Cutover road to Shrine road… then back out to Highway 89 ).

    There is no real evidence where ANY of the FIVE ground rescue people went
    after that. The Blue Ridge notes mention ‘heading up to the ICP’ after the
    ground rescue mission but there is nothing about where the PNF hires Hulburd,
    Clawson and Yowell went following that ground rescue mission.

    ** THE LONG STORY
    **
    ** THE VEHICLES

    The real key to identifying these men in the Helmet-Cam video was
    first identifying all the VEHICLES that are clearly seen in the video.

    A lot of ‘official markings’ including license plate numbers are clearly seen in
    the Helmet-Cam video itself… but it was when this same group of THREE
    vehicles was also found in that other video parked on the side of the road
    at 1515 up at the ICP that identification became really simple.

    The TITLE of that video is…
    VID 20130630 151521 240 – Yarnell Hill Fire video provided by AZSF crew

    The crew that took the video is NOT the crew that takes the Helmet-Cam
    video. This video simply accidentally captures the vehicles of the crew
    that WILL take the Helmet-Cam video ( Calwson, Hulburd and Yowell ).

    At exactly +0:36 seconds into the video… it accidentally capture the
    entire ‘Helmet Cam Video’ crew VEHICLES ( all 3 of them ) parked there
    on the side of the road up by the ICP.

    They are the EXACT same vehicles that are GOING to be seen in the
    Helmet-Cam video shot at the St. Joseph Shrine parking lot one hour and
    twenty three minutes from now… trailers and all.

    Only the vehicles are there. No crew. So they all must have been INSIDE
    the Incident Command Post at the moment THIS video was shot OR
    ‘bombing around’ in their UTVs since they are not in their trailers at 1515.

    In the video… vehicles are passed by in this order…

    1) First seen is the regular-size aquamarine standard pickup ( minimal
    access-cab style with hard-enclosed bed ) with the white UTV trailer.
    This one appears later in the Helmet-Cam video just beyond the
    2 firefighters ( Clawson – White helmet, Yowell – Black helmet )
    seen when the Helmet-Cam operator ( Hulburd ) pans just
    east in the Shrine parking lot for a moment. The white UTV trailer
    ride-out is DOWN in this video and the UTV is not there so they might
    not have been in the ICP at this point. They might have been out
    ‘bombing around’ Model Creek in there UTV’s up NEAR the IC
    in this 1515 timeframe. Standard USFS Forestry ‘Shield’ logo
    is on the door. White stripes on side. Says ‘Fire’ in the stripes
    and Vehicle ID ( In big white letters on front ) is DV-93.

    DV stands for ‘Division Chief’.
    The 9 in 93 means ‘Prescott National Forest (PNF)’.
    The ‘3’ in 93 means ‘PNF Ranger District 3’.

    That would be Jayson Clawson.

    Matches his job description AND his ‘Unit code’ ordering designation
    in the ‘WildCAD’ system at the Prescott Interagency Dispatch Center
    (AZ-PDC) Resource Status Availability page… which looks like this…

    ID, Resource, Status, Location
    DIV-93, Jason Clawson – PNF, DO OutSvc, District Office (Bradshaw)

    There is also a moment when Clawson walks by Hulburd in the Helmet-Cam
    video itself and once I had a name to search I found photos online that
    verify it is, in fact, him.

    2) Next ( at +0:37 in this video ) comes the first white extended cab
    pickup truck that will be seen in the Helmet Cam video. This one is
    has the ‘access cab’ configuration ( big side window but no double
    doors ) and ALSO has a UTV trailer attached. Same standard
    USFS Forestry ‘Shield’ logo on passenger door.

    The markings on the side door clearly say…

    FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
    US GOVERNMENT
    ( SHIELD LOGO – TOP: FOREST SERVICE )
    ( SHIELD LOGO – MIDDLE: U (Picture of Tree) S )
    ( SHIELD LOGO – BOTTOM: DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE )
    EQUIPMENT NUMBER: 2038

    This is KC (Casey) ‘Bucky’ Yowell’s vehicle.

    Yowell is the one most clearly seen in the Helmet-Cam video itself
    standing in the middle of the road with his portable radio in his hand.

    Other pictures found online with a simple Google search for the
    words ‘Casey’ and ‘Prescott National Forest’ match exactly.

    His ‘Unit code’ ordering designation in the ‘WildCAD’ system at the
    (AZ-PDC) Prescott Interagency Dispatch Center Resource Status Availability
    page looks like this…

    ID, Resource, Status, Location
    CAPT 2, KC ‘Bucky’ Yowell, Out of Svc, District Office (Chino)

    3) Next VEHICLE… ( at +0:38 in the video )
    This one is same exact white extended cab pickup configuration
    as (2) but this one has forest green double stripes on the side.
    This is also the one that has the flat-style emergency lights rack
    mounted on the cab roof. The other white pickup does not have this.
    This one also has the black-metal ‘deer chucker’ mounted on the front
    whereas the other white pickup has no ‘deer chucker’.
    Green stripes on side have the word ‘Fire’ inside them right over
    the rear wheel cowlings. Same standard USFS Forestry ‘Shield’ logo on
    passenger door. Vehicle ID ( In Forest green letters on front ) is
    AZ-PNF (Prescott National Forest ).

    This is Aaron Hulburd’s vehicle.

    He is clearly seen in the Helmet-Cam video in a full frontal close-up
    after he takes the Helmet-Cam off and goes to place it on top of
    the cab of this vehicle.

    Other pictures found online with a simple Google search for the
    words ‘Hulburd’ and ‘Prescott National Forest’ match exactly.

    His ‘Unit code’ ordering designation in the ‘WildCAD’ system at the
    (AZ-PDC) Prescott Interagency Dispatch Center Resource Status Availability
    page looks like this…

    ID, Resource, Status, Location
    FUELS 9, Aaron Hulburd – PNF, Out of Svc, Prescott Fire Center

    ** THE ROSS ORDERING SYSTEM LOGS SHOWING
    ** PRESCOTT NATIONAL FOREST HIRES FOR JUNE 30, 2013…

    The ‘official’ Arizona Forestry link that supposedly has links to ALL public Logs
    and Resource reports regarding the Yarnell Hill Fire has NOTHING that says
    anything about Roy Hall’s ‘off the radar’ hires of Clawson, Hulburd or Yowell.

    THIS is the indepenent (PUBLIC) link for the resource report that lists Jayson
    Clawson, Aaron Hulburd and KC (Casey) ‘Bucky’ Yowell. This is the ROSS
    system that Roy Hall said he didn’t want to deal with, but his requests for
    people ( through Bea Day ) are showinig up here. At some point… Bea Day
    must have input these ‘PNF resource orders’ FOR Hall since Hall is on record
    saying he “didn’t want to deal with all that computer stuff”.

    ROSS = Resource Ordering and Status System Reports
    http://fam.nwcg.gov/gacc/swcc/predictive/intelligence/daily/ddsswcc/cognos/incidents/incident_resources_Yarnell_Hill.pdf

    Full cut/paste from page 1 of the ROSS resource document above

    START OF ROSS REPORT DATA

    Incident GACC: Southwest Area Coordination Center
    Incident Dispatch: Arizona Interagency Dispatch Center

    These are the HEADERS for the individual report column data shown
    below, separated by COMMAS.

    Clawson, Hulburd, WILLIS, and Yowell were all hired June 30 as DIVS.

    Incident Name,
    Incident Number,
    Req Number Prefix,
    Req Number,
    Assignment Name.
    Fill Code,
    Qual Status,
    Res Prov Unit,
    Res GACC,
    Mob Date,
    Res Status,
    Days Assigned

    YARNELL HILL AZA1S-130688, O, O-163, Clawson, Jason W (AZ-PDC), DIVS, Q AZPNF, NMSWC, 6/30/13, At Incident 12 days
    YARNELL HILL AZA1S-130688, O, O-161, Hulburd, Aaron (AZ-PDC), DIVS, Q, AZPNF, NMSWC, 6/30/13, At Incident 12 days
    YARNELL HILL AZA1S-130688, O, O-18, WILLIS, DARRELL (AZ-ADC), DIVS, Q, AZPRC, NMSWC, 6/29/13, At Incident 12 days
    YARNELL HILL AZA1S-130688, O, O-160, Yowell, Kc (AZ-PDC), DIVS, Q, AZPNF, NMSWC, 6/30/13, At Incident 12 days

    END OF ROSS REPORT DATA

    SIDENOTE: This online ROSS report for the Yarnell HIll Fire shows
    Willis, Hulburd, Clawson and Yowell as all having been working the
    Yarnell Hill Fire for the full 12 days. I don’t believe this is actually the
    case for ANY of them.

    ** SAIR Investigation notes that mention Clawson, Hulburd and Yowell…

    YIN page 51

    Interview with Tony Sciacca – Line Safety Office – N. end (1 hr), E. end (1hr)
    9:10 a.m. July 12 – Interviewers: Randy, Jimmy Rocha, Jay Kurth

    1600-1615 While driving to Yarnell, there was a lot of people and traffic.
    I felt we needed to close the road. The intensity of the flank was building.
    The wind was building. I thought all houses were were evacuated and I
    parked on Shrine rd and followed it back. There was a big wind at 20-25 mph
    and the column was laying over deep. There was a line of fire from Shrine to 89.
    Got a call from J. Claus on ( Jason Clawson ) and tied in with them.

    NOTE: This seems to suggest that Tony Sciacca got to the Shrine road
    area around 1615 and ‘parked’ there somewhere and then ‘followed it
    back’ on foot. Not known where. It then suggests that Clawson and the
    others ( Aaaron Hulburd and KC Yowell ) weren’t there on Shrine road
    yet. He ( Sciacca ) supposedly got a call from Clawson and ‘tied in
    with them’. So could that be why they all showed up on Shrine road
    at all… because that’s where Sciacca was and they were just trying
    to ‘tie in’ with him? Where did Sciacca go? ( He’s not in the Helmet-Cam
    video )?

    Sciacca’s interview notes go on to say…

    Jayson Clawson, Yowls went looking for Granit Mountain on the two razors.

    NOTE: That’s just a transciber’s error. ‘Yowls’ must mean KC Yowell.
    Clawson and Yowell were the ones pulling trailers with UTVs.

    YIN page 8

    Interview with Blue Ridge Hotshots ( Frisby, Brown, Fueller, Ball )
    Interviewed by Godot, Jay, Jimmie, Tim, Jim, and Mike 07/10/2013

    Around 1500 they want to pull the dozer out to go north for structure protection.
    On the nth end they hear confusion and this is before the column starts to rise.
    There seeing black smoke, it’s dark, fl are impressive, spotting to the nth the
    fire is running towards ICP. Jason Clawson says, “another western day” they say
    they have an hour before the trigger point to start evacuating. BR knows they
    don’t have an hr.

    NOTE: So BR notes put Jason Clawson up at the ICP circa 1500. This
    matches the time their trucks are seen parked up there in the video.

    YIN page 10 ( Still interview with Blue Ridge )

    Tied in with the crew at the restaurant everyone understood what had happened
    a few guys snapping photos of the fire not because of the deployment Brian said
    put them away. Started gathering a task force of medical people, paramedics,
    drivers, medical equipment, but there was no real access. People coming in/out
    all over. B & T met w/ Ball 2 T6 engines and a WT. they were told to go in and
    do something. The fire was pushing hard it was passed Ball called Travis and
    said let no one else in. Propane tanks going off, houses burning, power lines
    drooping. The task force was to wk off of Tac 1 and to stand by until they got
    access. Then Holbert, Dowl, and Clawson drove back to youth camp and they
    punched through.

    NOTE: Holbert, Dowl and Clawson really means Hulburd, Yowell and Clawson.
    This is confirmed in the next note a few paragraphs later. ( See below ).
    ‘Bucky’ is nickname for KC ‘Bucky’ Yowell and ‘Aaaron’ means ‘Aaron Hulburd’.

    DPS ship was flying around near GM, then he went to the grater and BR couldn’t
    talk to the ship. The ship went to where the bladder bags were and BR hiked to
    them, they relayed to B33 that wasn’t the site. Then there was traffic about
    another site and the ship gave the lat/long and Trew copied it down. Trew started
    running down the ridge, and I mean running. He saw where the ship set down
    and then bailed off. He says it was all slicked off. There was confusion because
    DPS told him 18. At the ranch house restaurant Brendan gave Trew the manifest
    and Trew had it and counted 19. Medic said 18, Trew counted 19, Clawson got
    on scene and confirmed 19 and then Clawson left to the home owner. Bucky and
    Aaron were all pretty quiet. 5 went down then the DPS officer. 6 all together. They
    all walked to the house. The other 3 besides Brian and Trew were Prescott NF guys
    who were ordered w/ the T2 team they were sent down to help.

    NOTE: This suggests that there were FIVE people out there searching.
    Frisby and Brown in one UTV
    Clawson, Hulburd and Yowell in the other two UTVs.
    Probably Clawson by himself and Hulburd and Yowell in the other one.

    NOTE: When it says that Brendan gave ‘Trew’ the manifest this means
    he gave it to Brown BEFORE they left on the rescue trip.
    Brown got down there first but soon thereafter… Jason Clawson was the
    one who was ‘on scene’ and confirmed 19 dead, and then they are ALL seen
    walking to the homeowner ( the ranch ) with the Blue Ridge GPS unit.
    ALSO NOTE: ‘Bucky’ is nickname for KC ‘Bucky’ Yowell and ‘Aaron’
    means ‘Aaron Hulburd’.

    NOTE: This all matches now. ‘5 went down then the DPS Officer’.
    The FIVE would be Frisby, Brown, Clawson, Hulburd and Yowell.
    When it says the ‘other 3 besides Brian and Trew were Prescott
    NF guys’ this matches Clawson, Hulburd and Yowell who Bea Day
    ‘ordered up’ for Roy Hall as part of the Type/2 team with no ‘O’
    numbers for them in the ROSS ordering system ( yet ).

    Page 29 of YIN

    Interview with Roy Hall – 7/8/2013 – 10:30 a.m.
    Interviewers: Jay Kurth, John Phipps, Mike Dudley, Jimmy Rocha

    At the 7 a.m. briefing – Leader intent. I asked “where are the aircraft that were
    ordered? because there was a long list . Defer to dispatch center. There were
    a boat load ordered. The comment from the Safety Officer was “Because
    orders got placed out of region and you violated the ordering system. I called
    Prescott and ordered Tony Sciacca and Marty Cole (safety officers).

    NOTE: This doesn’t mention Clawson, Hulbert and Yowell but since this is when
    Hall says he ‘ordered’ Sciacca and Cole from Prescott ( because Prescott was
    close, as Roy will say later ) then it also might be the time he supposedly
    told Bea Day to ‘get me some OPS people’ as well and that’s when Bea Day
    also put in the requests for Clawson, Hulbert and Yowell.

    13:40 There is concern from the Yarnell side. There is a push on the east end
    south of Moddle Creek. Bea Day called and said several ops people were on
    the road including Jayson Clawson. Bea Day sent a list of members that
    moved with no O numbers.

    NOTE: So Clawson had been ‘ordered up’ as part of the T/2 team just as the
    BR notes said and Clawson was ‘on his way’ to Yarnell by 1340 ( 1:40 PM ).
    That means he could have been there as early as 1400 ( 2:00 PM ) or so.

    NOTE: ‘O’ numbers means the ‘O’ number from the ROSS ( Resource
    Ordering and Status System ) computer system that Hall said he hated using.
    Bea Day was ordering these resources from the Prescott National Forest
    outside of the ROSS system so there was, at that time, No ‘O’ number for
    them. Willis, Clawson, Hulburd and Yowell eventually would end up with the
    following’ ‘O’ numbers when they were finally recorded into the ROSS
    system…

    ROSS Request numbers for Prescott people…

    O-18 WILLIS, DARREL (AZ-PDC) Fill code: DIVS Arrived: June 29, 2013
    O-160 Yowell, Kc (AZ-PDC) Fill code: DIVS Arrived: June 30, 2013
    O-161 Hullburd, Aaaron (AZ-PDC) Fill code: DIVS Arrived: June 30, 2013
    O-163 Clawson, Jason W (AZ-PDC) Fill code: DIVS

    SIDENOTE: Where is this ‘list of members that moved with no O numbers’ that
    Hall says Bea Day sent him? Was that an email? What? Where did it go?
    Who has it now?

    YIN page 36

    Interview with Rance Marquez – DIVS Z
    July 11, 2013 – 0900
    Interviewers: Jimmy Rocha, Jay Kurth, Tim Foley, John Phipps

    1615 – Came on ATV’s Casey, Jayson Clausen and Bea were at the ICP and
    were worried that the pickups would burn.

    NOTE: ‘Casey’ must mean KC ( KC ‘Bucky’ Yowell ). ‘Clausen’ obviously
    means ‘Jason Clawson’. Not sure if this reference to ‘Bea’ actually means
    Bea Day or not. This would appear to mean that Clawson, Hulburd and Yowell
    were still all up at the ICP circa 1615 and that’s when they ‘came on ATVs’ and
    loaded them up and moved all three of their trucks and trailers to ‘meet up’ with
    Sciacca who was now ‘parked’ down on the Shrine Road. See Sciacca’s
    YIN interview notes.

    YIN page 17

    Interview with Marty Cole
    Safety Officer ( who didn’t arrive until just before deployment )
    July 12, 2013 – 11:40 PM
    Interviewers: Randy Okon, Jimmy Rocha, Jay Kurth

    About 16:40 Granite 7 called. I didn’t know who it was. Heard TA try to get intel.
    I left there and went to the restaurant. I saw Blue Ridge and found out that
    Granite Mountain had deployed. Blue Ridge had Brendon. I put his gear in my
    truck and said I would take care of him.

    17:22 A team was organized with Cougan Caruthers as medical. We
    ordered 4 helos and several ambulances were on standby.

    17:30-18:00 (guess) The fire was coming to the town. I off loaded Brandon
    and went to the Ranch House. I told Todd that the exit was going to be
    compromised. Told Todd that there were houses on fire and the fire had
    crossed the road. Everyone was trying to establish communication with
    Granite Mountain. I drove back through the smoke column that was lying
    across the road. There was an engine sitting in the road with fire around it
    doing nothing. Aaron, Jayson and Buckie were going in to look for Granite
    Mountain. DPS had found packs but there weren’t theirs. While I was sitting
    along the highway, I heard Jayson had called Todd and said 19 found….
    no EMS needed. Went to town and tied in with Daryl and Todd. Everyone was
    in shock. I left at 14:00 the next day.

    NOTE: More confirmation that it was Aaron Hulburd, Jayson Clawson and
    KC ‘Bucky’ Yowell that went with Brian Frisby and Trew Brown to look for
    GM in those 3 UTVs and ALL of them ended up at the deployment site.

    ** END OF SAIT Yarnell Investigation Notes ( YIN ) pertaining to
    ** Clawson, Hulburd and Yowell.

    SAIR
    There is absolutely NO mention of Jayson Clawson, Aaron Hulburd or
    KC ‘Bucky’ Yowell anywhere in the official SAIT report.

    ADOSH
    There is absolutely NO mention of Jayson Clawson, Aaron Hulburd or
    KC ‘Bucky’ Yowell anywhere in the official ADOSH report.

    WFAR
    There is absolutely NO mention of Jayson Clawson, Aaron Hulburd or
    KC ‘Bucky’ Yowell anywhere in the official Wildland Fire Associates
    Report ( WFAR ).

    • Elizabeth says

      WTKTT, in your last three paragraphs, you state (using “all caps”) that neither the SAIR, nor the ADOSH report, nor the WRA materials discuss Bucky, Jayson, and Aaron in any depth. This, however, goes back to “relevance.” These reports cannot mention every single small detail. Mind you, if Bucky, Jayson, and Aaron had shown up at 10 a.m., I WOULD consider that relevant, b/c they could have jumped in and helped organize to prevent the chaotic breakdown that later ensued. However, if they did not appear until after, say, noon, it was probably too late to stem the chaos. I mention this not to criticize you, but, rather, because the fact that you are using all caps suggests that you are intending to convey to the reader that the failure to mention these three men is somehow a meaningful failing on the part of those official materials. I do not believe that it is.
      (Kudos to you for identifying the three men, however. Good job.)

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to Elizabeth post on February 8, 2014 at 6:24 am

        >> Elizabeth wrote…
        >>
        >> WTKTT, in your last three paragraphs, you state
        >> (using “all caps”) that neither the SAIR, nor the
        >> ADOSH report, nor the WRA materials discuss
        >> Bucky, Jayson, and Aaron in any depth.

        Yes. ( Except it’s WFAR and not WRA ).

        They are simply facts. Capital letters were used because,
        well… in the King’s English… capital letters are SUPPOSED
        to be used for acronyms.

        Would you rather I had used ‘sair’, ‘adosh’ and ‘wfar’?

        >> This, however, goes back to “relevance.” These reports
        >> cannot mention every single small detail.

        Small detail? Really?

        THREE ‘under-the-rader’ hires by Roy Hall who were
        ‘on the clock’ at the ICP, who were ALL hired as ‘DIVS’,
        who end up filming Granite Mountain’s last moment, and
        then end up being the ones helping discover them and
        confirm their deaths over the command channels…

        …and they are NOWHERE listed as having been part
        of the command structure AT ALL.. nor is the obvious
        public ROSS resource report showing their hires
        anywhere in the SAIT documents?

        Seriously?

        >> Elizabeth also wrote…
        >>
        >> Mind you, if Bucky, Jayson, and Aaron had shown
        >> up at 10 a.m., I WOULD consider that relevant, b/c
        >> they could have jumped in and helped organize to
        >> prevent the chaotic breakdown that later ensued.
        >> However, if they did not appear until after, say, noon,
        >> it was probably too late to stem the chaos.

        Elizabeth… with all due respect… do you even read
        your posts before you send them?

        How you can possible say ( in the same sentence )
        that a 10:00 AM appearance of three off-the-radar
        Division Chief hires would be ‘relevant’ but ‘a little
        later than that’ would NOT be?

        See above. There IS evidence they were there at the
        ICP ( participating in an unknown command level
        capacity ) as early as 2:00 PM.

        I don’t understand the importance YOU are placing on
        a simple 2 hour window between 10:00 AM ( relevant )
        and NOON ( not relevant ). Can you provide more
        detail for your reasoning there?

        You also seem to forget that based on what happened
        that day… what people who were present at the
        command level and participating in that fiasco called
        the Yarnell Hill Fire did NOT do ( but SHOULD have )
        is just as relevant as what they DID do ( if anything ).

        The key is ‘having the details’.

        >> Elizabeth also wrote…
        >> I mention this not to criticize you, but, rather, because
        >> the fact that you are using all caps suggests that you
        >> are intending to convey to the reader that the failure to
        >> mention these three men is somehow a meaningful
        >> failing on the part of those official materials.

        Wow. See above.

        That’s an awful knee-jerk reaction and a lot of imagineering
        for you to do based on the ‘fact’ that someone just used
        capital letters for acronyms when to have done anything
        else would have been grammatically incorrect.

        The statements above are just FACTS and I felt it
        relevant to point them out.

        People can read whatever they want to into that
        ( as you obviously just did ).

        >> Elizabeth also said…
        >> I do not believe that it is.

        Fair enough…

        … but that’s because… once again… YOU are trying to tell
        other people what YOU believe is relevant with regards
        to what happened in Yarnell on June 30, 2013… and what
        YOU believe is not ( relevant ).

        That’s fine. You’ve stated your only interest in this
        investigation any number of times and you are entitled
        to pursue only what interests you… but as I told you
        up above… PLEASE don’t criticize the rest of us for
        being interested in ALL the details just because
        YOU are not.

        Speaking of RELEVANCE…

        I’m going to ask you again for the TWELFTH time…

        Do you have any plans to post a public copy of that
        AIR STUDY video that (supposedly) has the captured
        radio traffic between OPS2 Paul Musser and DIVSA
        Eric Marsh?…

        …or are you making your own ‘relevance’ decision
        about that as well?

        Please don’t misconstrue my simple question as
        even trying to be antagonistic in any way.

        The material you obtained via FOIA/FOIL is your own.
        You can do whatever you want with it.

        All I want to know is what your PLANS are for a
        particular piece of that material.

        If you are NEVER going to post that particular AIR STUDY
        video it would simply be nice to know.

        • Elizabeth says

          WTKTT, I was not criticizing your capitalization of “ADOSH” (for example). I was criticizing your capitalization of the word “NO” in the sentence “There is absolutely NO mention of Jayson Clawson, Aaron Hulburd or KC ‘Bucky’ Yowell anywhere in the official ADOSH report.” I apologize for the confusion.

          The fact that you capitalized the word “no” suggests that you are trying to emphasize the word “no,” to convey your belief that the ADOSH report (and the other two reports) *should* have mentioned Clawson, Hulburd, and Yowell. I was trying to express the fact that I do not feel as strongly as you do about the failure of the ADOSH and other reports to mention Clawson, Hulburd, and Yowell. I apologize for the confusion.

          If you are entitled to have your view that everything is relevant, I am allowed to have the view that NOT everything is relevant, and I am allowed to share that view here, on this thread.

          (Also, where are you getting the view that Clawson, Hulburd, and Yowell were PAID (you said “on the clock”) for the time that they spent on the fire from 2 p.m. until whenever? Yes, they are in the “ROSS,” but that doesn’t mean that they were paid for an entire day’s work, right? Or have you independently “FOIA/FOIL’d” those records?)

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Reply to Elizabeth post
            on February 8, 2014 at 5:58 pm

            >> Elizabeth said…
            >>
            >> WTKTT, I was not criticizing your
            >> capitalization of “ADOSH” (for example).
            >> I was criticizing your capitalization of
            >> the word “NO” in the sentence “

            Well… what you actually said was…

            :: I mention this not to criticize you

            Okay. whatever.

            >> Elizabeth also said…
            >> I apologize for the confusion.

            NO ( yes… emphasis is mine ).
            I apologize. I thought you really were
            taking umbrage at someone simply
            capitalizing standard acronyms.

            >> Elizabeth also wrote…
            >> If you are entitled to have your view that
            >> everything is relevant, I am allowed to
            >> have the view that NOT everything is
            >> relevant, and I am allowed to share that
            >> view here, on this thread.

            Of course you are… but you’ve stated
            your position clearly any number of times.

            If it doesn’t directly relate to the only thing
            YOU want to know ( the WHY )… then it’s
            ‘irrelevant’ to you.

            We get it.

            You don’t have to keep repeating it.

            Just skip to the next message if you
            find something is irrelevant to YOU.

            >> Elizabeth also said…
            >>
            >> (Also, where are you getting the view
            >> that Clawson, Hulburd, and Yowell were
            >> PAID (you said “on the clock”) for the
            >> time that they spent on the fire from
            >> 2 p.m. until whenever?

            Are you suggesting they agreed to respond
            to Roy Hill’s request via Bea Day for
            ‘OPS people’, agreed to be DIVS resources
            for a Type 2 ( at that time ) fire command,
            then hitched up their trailers, loaded up their
            UTVs, and schlepped all the way to Yarnell
            just out of the kindness of their heart?

            It is not even LEGAL for them to do that
            ( for insurance reasons ).

            My assumption is that they were ‘on the
            clock’ and getting paid… even if it turned
            out they were not going to part of the
            Type 1 team after the next transition.

            Also… do you really think 3 men would
            have been allowed to accompany Frisby
            and Brown on a dangerous rescue
            mission into a still-burning area if they
            were NOT, at least, officially on the
            payroll that day?

            If a bunch of non-paid volunteers
            were allowed by management to put
            their own lives in danger like that on
            that afternoon… the insurance policy
            violation implications alone would require
            their own ‘investigation’.

            So yea… I’m sure they were ‘on the clock’.

            For how much money… and for how long?

            Dunno.

            If the SAIT had even bothered to interview
            any of these men perhaps we would
            know more about that.

            >> Yes, they are in the “ROSS,
            >> but that doesn’t mean
            >> that they were paid for an entire day’s
            >> work, right?

            According to the records in the ROSS,
            they ( Willis, Hulburd, Clawson and Yowell )
            were ‘Assigned’ to the Yarnell fire for
            the full TWELVE days ( and NOT just one ).

            Does that mean the taxpayer-funded
            ROSS system is total horse manure…
            or did these men actually end up getting
            PAID for 12 full days of work on the
            Yarnell Fire?

            >> Or have you independently
            >> “FOIA/FOIL’d” those records?)

            I have no actual detailed expense reports
            for the Yarnell Fire… or anything from
            Prescott or the Prescott National Forest
            that might show how much they
            might have been making off these
            ‘hires’, either. I wish I did.

            Do you? Does ANYONE?

            So yes… until I see detailed records…
            I am assuming they wouldn’t have
            even been there unless they were SURE
            they WERE going to get paid.

            See Marty Cole’s SAIT interviews and his
            own unit log for that day.

            The reason he didn’t even arrive in Yarnell
            until just before the deployment was
            because he was delaying his departure
            until he was SURE the ‘work order’ went
            through and that if he headed down there
            at all… he WOULD be getting paid.

            In his own notes… the very first thing he
            did when arriving at the ICP was to
            check in with the ‘Financial Officer’ ( as
            he should ) to make sure everything was
            in order and he would be getting paid.

            I am assuming that was standard procedure
            that day and Clawson, Hulburd and Yowells
            did the same thing ( make sure they were
            going to be paid ).

            I really would like to know if they actually
            were paid for ’12 days on the Yarnell Fire’
            like the ROSS record says they were…
            because none of them WERE actually
            there for that amount of time.

            ** QUESTIONS YOU DIDN’T ANSWER

            Can you elaborate on your ‘2 hour window’
            for it ‘being relevant’ whether Clawson,
            Hulburd and Yowell’ were there? That
            still confuses me and you dodged
            that question. I really would just like to
            know what you were thinking there.

            Once again… for the THIRTEENTH time…

            Do you have any plans to post a public
            copy of that AIR STUDY video that
            (supposedly) has the captured radio traffic
            between OPS2 Paul Musser and DIVSA
            Eric Marsh?

            NO is a valid answer… but I would
            appreciate any answer at all just so
            I don’t have to keep asking you about it.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Followup regarding Clawson, Hulburd and Yowell…

      In some cases… even information that comes across
      as ‘sketchy’ or ‘incomplete’ in the SAIT investigators notes is
      actually made clearer if you look at other information they
      had available to them.

      This case of the details of the actual ‘ground rescue mission’
      is one of those times.

      Marty Cole of Prescott was the ‘Safety Officer’ that was ordered
      up early afternoon for Yarnell but didn’t end up arriving there until
      just shortly before the actual deployment because he delayed
      his departure for Yarnell until he saw the actual order come
      through to him in writing from the Prescott Dispatch Center.

      Marty Cole was interviewed by the SAIT, but even some of
      those notes from his interview are vague.

      As it turns out… the SAIT actually had Marty’s own hand-written
      unit log notes from that day in their possession as well, which
      have entries that are much clearer than anything recorded
      by any SAIT person during his interview.

      Marty hand-wrote this UNIT LOG at 2200 ( 10:00 PM ) on
      the night of June 30, 2013.

      SOME of Marty’s SAIT interview notes have SOME of the
      same information… but there are ‘bits and pieces’ of
      information that never made it into the SAIT documents
      and things in the SAIT interview that aren’t in his log.

      Unlike his SAIT interview, however, in his handwritten
      UNIT LOG Marty Cole absolutely verifies that Jawson Clawson,
      Aaron Hulburd, and KC (Casey) ‘Bucky’ Yowells were THERE in
      Yarnell at the time of the deployment and they WERE part of
      the ground rescue team that day.

      His exact hand-written note ( with his own spelling mistakes )
      was as follows…

      “Arron Holberg, Jasson Clawson, KC Yowell made access
      into the fire area looking for the crew.”

      That hand-written document from Marty Cole was part of the
      FOIA/FOIL package inside the document labelled…

      C01 – ASF000417-INV to 420-INV.PDF

      It is here in Mr. Dougherty’s Dropbox under the
      Documentation > Safety Folder…

      https://www.dropbox.com/sh/02ue6bnjp6nazkm/O66jbXw3Yr/Safety/C01%20-%20ASF000417-INV%20to%20420-INV.PDF

      It is hand-written and the document is just a scanned copy
      of the original and is not ‘searchable’ so ( for future reference )
      here is the TEXT version of the FULL transcript of Marty’s Cole’s
      UNIT LOG from June 30, 2013 ( spelling mistakes and all )…

      START OF MARTY COLE HANDWRITTEN UNIT LOG

      UNIT LOG

      1. Incident Name: Yarnell Hills
      2. Date Prepared: Jun 3013
      3. Time Prepared: 2200
      4. Unit Name / Designators: Safety
      5. Unit Leader ( Name and Position ): Cole
      6. Operation Period: Day
      7. Activiity Log ( Continue on Reverse )

      Time – Major Events

      1330
      Genn Jokie from the AZ state type III team called me and asked
      if I would come to the fire in Yarnell to help out with safety. I said
      I would and waited for the order from Prescott NF Dispatch.

      1345
      Tony Sciacca called me and said he was enroute to Yarnell.
      I told him I would be there as soon as I got the order.

      1430
      Received order and travel to Yarnell. Drove through large rain
      storm Williamson Valley to Prescott. Got fuel in Prescott, left
      Prescott via Iron Springs Rd. encountered large amount of rain
      west of Prescott. Before entering into Skull Valley observed
      large column over Yarnell area. Also encountered large wind
      30 to 40 mph just before Skull Valley. Attempted to make
      contact with Tony Sicacca and Darrell Willis but only got
      answering machine. Called Glen Jokie he said he would
      forward info about the winds to IC Hall at ICP.

      Arrived at ICP in Peoples Valley. Checkin in with finance
      and talked to medical unit. Asked in camp if there was
      anyone would could clone a radio. No one could.

      Proceded to the fire area to get someone on the fire to
      clone radio. Going from Peoples Valley to Yarnell observed
      Extreme fire behavior moving from the North to the South.
      Saw one of the AZ State truck along the highway asked
      for a clone. Rain Drops were encountered at this time.

      When I aproched him alot of Radio traffic, he asked me
      to stand by while he listen to the traffic.

      Listening to the traffic I heard a excited voice Granite
      Mountain 7 calling to I believe Air Attack.

      Air Attack tried to get him to calm down. I heard Todd
      Able call Air Attack to find out what the problem was.

      Few minutes went by and I heard Eric Marsh GM sup
      call Air Attack and said they had been cut off from their
      escape route and were preparing to deploy fire shelters
      and would call back when everyone was in shelters.

      No further communication was heard. Deployment
      occurd in division A.

      Incident within a Incident was established, Todd Able
      being Grant Mt. IC.

      Cougan Cruthers – Medical Group
      Steve Emery – Traige Group
      Gary Cordes – Treatment Group

      Granit Mt Air Attack was established.
      DPS Ranger 58 Recon.
      Packs were seen 34 13.70W, 112 4750 N.

      Arron Holberg, Jasson Clawson, KC Yowell made access
      into the fire area looking for the crew.

      Search party found all victims.

      Multiple homes destroyed in Yarnell. Extreme fire behavior.
      Fire crossed 89 made multiple runs on town.

      * All times are approximate

      END OF MARTY COLE HANDWRITTEN UNIT LOG

    • Sitta says

      Wow, this is really EXCELLENT work, WTKTT. This really fills in some info I’ve been wondering about (such as who took the helmet-cam video, who the PNF guys were, and why they’re so obscured in the dispatch records).

      This does bring up questions for me (which, I supposed, only Roy Hall could have answered?):
      * Just what were the PNF three ordered for? I thought they were supposed to be filling crew/squad boss requirements for the Lewis type II team. I suppose I may have assumed this because they didn’t have separate order numbers (I can’t remember exactly why I came to this conclusion). Sounds like maybe not?
      * Is the ROSS system (or dispatch) actually screwed up in AZ, or was Hall just too lazy/busy to use it? It may seem like a minor detail, but I find it extremely important. I know dispatch was having issues with WildCAD, but that is an entirely different system. I haven’t heard of any real problems with ROSS in the last few years, and it’s absolutely vital that ICs and dispatch trust each other to use it (for accountability, communication, and safety reasons). The fact that Marty Cole was waiting for confirmation of his order was responsible on his part (showing up at a fire without your resource order is generally called “self dispatching,” and frowned upon). But it also makes me wonder if he specifically mentioned waiting for confirmation because ROSS is undermined on a regular basis. I see this as a HUGE potential safety issue that would need resolution.

      Again, this is awesome work. I’m really impressed with how you pulled all this together into a cohesive narrative.

  28. Bob Powers says

    NEW– Just watched McDonough on Boise Ch. 7 NBC News announce he is in Boise and working for National Association of Wild land Fire Fighters Was hired a month ago as a Employee in Public Relations.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Bob Powers post on February 6, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      Vicki Minor ( Executive Director of the Wildland Firefighter
      Foundation ) and her son Burk Minor seem to be ‘good people’.
      Vicki saw a need for her organization some years ago and
      she went about creating it.

      NOTE: In case anyone was wondering ( I was )… there is
      apparently NO real connection between Vicki and Burk Minor’s
      Boise, Idaho based ‘Wildland Firefighter Foundation’ and the
      Brentwood, Missouri based ‘Wildland Firefighting Associates’
      company that was contracted by ADOSH to assist in their
      investigation of the Yarnell Hill Fire.

      They are both ‘private’ companies… but there doesn’t appear
      to be any shared staff or Board Directors.

      Brendan himself received support/help from Vicki’s organization
      in the days/weeks following the Yarnell incident.

      Here’s the Prescott area ABC channel’s print story ( with
      a video that has an audio track of the telephone interview
      with Brendan McDonough about his new job ).

      ABC15 – 02/06/2014
      Brendan McDonough update:
      Survivor of deadly Yarnell wildfire takes new job

      http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_northern_az/prescott/brendan-mcdonough-update-survivor-of-deadly-yarnell-wildfire-takes-new-job

      From the article…

      PRESCOTT, AZ – The only member of an Arizona firefighting crew to survive a deadly 2013 wildfire has a new job in which he says he hopes to help others with post-traumatic stress disorder.

      McDonough’s last day as a Prescott employee was Jan. 24, city spokesman Pete Wertheim said.

      Acting Prescott Fire Chief Eric Kriwer said McDonough resigned and was in good standing when he left his city job.

      McDonough recently started working for the Boise, Idaho-based Wildland Firefighter Foundation. ( Vicki and Burk Minor ).

      ** END OF ARTICLE

      Here’s a transcript of the ABC telephone interview…

      Brendan McDononugh ( on the telephone )…

      I was in a dark spot then ( after the incident ).
      I really… um… I didn’t really know what to do.

      I’ve had multiple times where I’ve just cried and cried…
      and… um… I missed ’em so much.

      My two and a half year old daughter (that) needs her father,
      and I knew I couldn’t let myself to get to a certain point
      because she needed me.

      Video Narrator: So he got help… reaching out to the
      Wildland Firefighter Foundation… a non-profit group that
      supports families in the wildland firefighter community.

      Brendan: The amount of hearing that I got when I came up
      to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation… in the few days
      I was here… took so much weight off my shoulders.

      The tragedy is always gonna be there… and I’m always
      gonna miss ’em… but I’m… you know… feel like I’m now able
      to continue on with my life.

      With the (fire) season that we’re expecting… I don’t want to be
      the person to say it… but there’s gonna be more deaths.

      I wanted to… to be able to help… because I felt how good
      I was… and I’m just sitting there and I’m like… wow… how many
      other people like me are out there that haven’t gotten help…
      that haven’t talked to somebody.

      Video Narrator: A part of McDonough’s role will be traveling
      around the country raising awareness about the importance of
      supporting firefighters.

      • Bob Powers says

        Thanks for the info I messed up on the name. You corrected all of that. McDonough sounded very positive hopefully this will be a good fit for him.

        • Rocksteady says

          Good for him. He definitely has the experience to be a “been there, done that” ambassador for this organization. I wish him the best, and hope his efforts assist others, that require help.

          I can’t say I blame him for not sticking around to stay on the fireline. That would be incredibly difficult for even the strongest willed person..

          Best of Luck Brendan!!!!!!

  29. Gary Olson says

    Observer said, “Yes, Marsh and Steed led those men down that hill. Yes, ultimately they bear responsibility. But, I feel that there is more to the story. From the mismanagement of the fire early on to the ultimate conflagration that took the lives of the 19 men and burned homes in the Yarnell area-God didn’t have plan (despite what Willis said) and I believe that a whole lot of folks didn’t have a plan either. Or had a very bad plan.”

    AMEN

    • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

      I have said stuff along these lines before, but sometimes things get a bit overlooked in all the noise.

      Yes, the 10 & 18 ARE the gold standard, BEFORE and AFTER any need for an investigation, BUT, a new avenue needs to be addressed, both in training and investigations. That specifically is that, the WFF community needs to take a hard look at how external factors may cause well-trained firefighters to get tunnel vision and ignore those very standards. As many of you know, there were MANY external factors that day, which taken individually may not have amounted to the level of an external causation for tunnel vision, but which compounded may have contributed in such a way that promoted the incident. These types of factors WILL occur again to put stressors on a crew, and being trained to identify them as hazards as well, may save lives.

      • mike says

        Obviously there was tunnel vision in play that day. The ultimate tunnel vision had to be in how the behavior of that fire was assessed. Standing on the ridge, looking at the fire and contemplating moving, one would have had to convince themselves the fire was not going to cross their planned route. Otherwise the idea of moving would have been insane. Marsh must have locked onto an assumed fire behavior (i.e. moving southeast) and not thought it was going to change. Not wise given the weather and the potential for wind shifts, but it just had to be his thought process.

        Why the tunnel vision? Was it due to external pressure from above, the pressure of the culture of the PFD, or was it just a bad read? According to RTS, the clues for a shift were there in the smoke column. Probably we will never really know.

        Trying to identify all the stressors that lead WFF to have tunnel vision may be an enormous task. And people who have tunnel vision often fail to recognize it while it is occurring. Maybe it still will be better to make the rules such an ingrained part of the culture, that no matter the stressors present, no matter the tunnel vision, the need to follow the rules will serve to protect as a last defense. Right now it seems some have deemphasized the rules. And most of the time when you break them you get away with it. Hence you come back to “bad decisions with good outcomes”, which some (RTS) have maintained was behind this disaster.

        • Bob Powers says

          Also they lost control of the outcome of the move when they did not evaluate and use LCES. I’ve been tired I’ve worked 50 days strait, I’ve worked long shifts 24-36 hours. The one thing you train and train for is you put Safety First in your brain and use it with every move and decision you make.
          If you start bending the rules or ignoring them you percentage of survival decreases. Bad decisions with good outcomes. Is Bad Safety planning tunnel vision by one person can be corrected by another if you have open dialog with in a crew structure. The Foremen and Asst. can and should give input.

  30. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to Robert the Second post on February 4, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    ** SATURDAY… CONTINUED…

    >> RTS said…
    >>
    >> …the fire behavior indicated on photos and videos indicated black smoke
    >> at 0900 and 60′ to 100′ flame lengths at 1000 to 1030. This was indicative
    >> of rock-and-roll fire behavior for the day for those that were paid attention.
    >>
    >> Fire Order Number 3 – Base all actions on CURRENT an EXPECTED
    >> fire behavior.
    >>
    >> I’m gonna say that the Lewis Crew abided by that and didn’t burn a mile of
    >> line and then lose it as the rumor mill goes.

    RTS… thanks… but just to clarify…

    We’re talking about 0900, 1000 and 1030 on SATURDAY, right?

    I don’t automatically see the ‘photos’ you are referring to with anything
    near 60′ to 100′ flame lengths… until maybe MUCH later on Saturday,
    just before dusk or so AFTER the thing had ‘jumped the Jeep Trail’.

    There was (apparently) no ‘rock and roll’ at all Saturday until AFTER it
    jumped the jeep trail.

    From 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM ( SIX long hours ) it was more like ‘slow jazz’.

    The ‘Fernandez’ photos and his ‘fly-around’ of the fire at 10:00 AM
    Saturday ( before the first half of the Lewis crew was let down there )
    show basically no fire actvity at all. Just a little smoke… and not even
    much of that to speak of.

    Do you recall which Dropbox folder the 0900-1030 photos are that you
    are referring to?

    UPDATE: I did actually find a small piece of detail about what (supposedly)
    happened Saturday afternoon that I hadn’t seen before. It was a one-liner
    in the short ‘preliminary report’ about the Yarnell Hill Fire that the SAIT
    released just a few days after they started their investigation.

    That ‘initial’ SAIT report was just a quick ‘summary’ of what happened from
    Friday through Sunday… but it did have this one specific thing in there about
    Saturday that did NOT make it into any of the final report(s).

    That ‘initial report’ from the newly-assembled SAIT had this brief
    one-line explanation for the moment when the fire ‘jumped the jeep trail’…

    “At about 4:30 p.m. a small unburned island on the east side of the
    fire flamed up and spotted across the two track jeep road on the
    east side (called a “slopover”).”

    Up until that moment ( 4:30 PM ) the fire had STAYED at an estimated
    size (all day) of no more than 2-4 acres… even since the first full evaluation
    on the ground by the Lewis crew circa 10:30 AM.

    So, according to the SAIT itself, 4:30 PM is when the ‘second Yarnell fire’
    got started. It was this specific ‘slopover’ from some sudden ‘flare up’
    in some (supposed) ‘small pocket’ near the jeep trail… with only light winds.

    Hmmmm…

    Actually… here’s the whole ‘fire size and time estimate’ entries for
    Saturday morning and afternoon from that initial SAIT report…

    Saturday, June 29, 2013

    Early morning helicopter reconnaissance ( 10:00 AM – Fernandez photos )
    showed the Yarnell Hill Fire the only active fire of the four lightning ignitions
    sighted yesterday. The helicopter reconnaissance estimated the fire at
    eight acres with very little fire activity showing. Later, ground estimates put
    the fire at two to four acres.

    A six man squad from Lewis Crew and one BLM helitack crewman were flown
    into the fire by the BLM light helicopter. Firefighters made progress hot-
    spotting the few active areas and mopped up (extinguishing burning material)
    along the two track jeep road.

    The west side of the fire was in very large rock bluffs and considered too
    steep to treat with aerial retardant.

    The east side of the fire was a two-track jeep road that fire had not crossed.

    NWS-Flag issued a weather alert at approximately 3:00 p.m., noting a
    thunderstorm moving south from Kingman which was delivered from
    the I.C. by radio to firefighters.

    The storm cell dissipated BEFORE reaching the fire.

    A spot weather forecast for 4760’ elevation called for dry (11% relative
    humidity), hot (105 degrees) LIGHT winds (6-7 m.p.h.), slight chance of
    thunderstorms with very little chance of moisture.

    At about 4:30 p.m. a small unburned island on the east side of the fire
    flamed up and spotted across the two track jeep road on the east
    side (called a “slopover”).

    The I.C. requested SEATs and an Air Attack return to the fire.

    A total of 13 firefighters on the hill were committed to digging fireline to stop
    the growth of the slopover.

    At 5:30 p.m. the I.C. reported the slopover at approximately two acres,
    making the entire fire an estimated six + acres total.

    ( Original 2-4 acre size for SIX HOURS, since 10:30 AM, now 6+ acres ).

    At 7:38 PM ( 3 hours after the ‘slopover’ event at 4:30 ) the fire was estimated
    at 100 acres and was moving laterally along the ridge to the north, with active
    burning in isolated areas of dense fuel pockets.

    ( 94 acre growth in 3 hours whereas no growth at all above original 2-4 acre
    size all day during the SIX hours between 10:30 and 4:30 ).

    SUMMARY

    So from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM ( A span of SIX HOURS ), the Lewis crew
    was (supposedly) doing nothing but ‘mop-up’ operations on a 2-4 acre
    (contained) area with (quote) “very little fire activity”, even starting at 10:30 AM.

    Suddenly, at 4:30 PM ( with only LIGHT winds )… something happens.

    Some little ‘pocket’ supposedly ‘flares up’ ( with light winds ) on the east
    flank right near the jeep trail and ‘spots over’ the jeep trail… getting out of
    control before 13 guys ( who are now out of chainsaw gas ) can do
    anything about it… and no fixed-wing or helicopter support available
    at that time.

    Something still doesn’t sound quite right about this ‘moment’ when
    (apparently) the ‘second Yarnell Hill fire’ actually got started.

    I mean… seriously?… 13 guys have SIX hours to do nothing but ‘mop up’
    on just 2-4 acres… and something is ‘missed’ during those SIX long hours
    that was big enough to ‘flare up’ and suddenly jump a 10-12 foot firebreak
    without them being able to get a handle on it?

    I have planted ( on foot ) every inch of an entire 4 acres with corn seed in
    less than 6 hours… and that is just ONE person… and also includes
    stopping for lunch.

    I did, in fact, check that entire ‘jeep trail’ with Google maps distance measuring
    tools and it’s not like it’s some tiny little overgrown rarely-traveled two-track.

    It was more like a real ‘road’, as dirt trails go.

    It narrowed down to 7 or 8 feet wide in just a few spots but the entire thing
    averaged about 12 feet wide, with no ‘center growth’. Some places were
    much wider and qualified as bona-fide ‘clearings’.

    Google satellite images checked were taken on April 9, 2013, only about 80
    days before the Yarnell Hill Fire.

    Whatever it was that suddenly ‘flared up’ ( that no one seemed to have
    been able to or even bothered to ‘mop up’ or put out for SIX HOURS
    prior to that?? ) must have been quite a ‘flare up’ to have jumped that
    fairly wide fire-break road so quickly.

    I think it’s STILL possible that was an attempt to ‘burn off’ that little ‘pocket’
    on the east flank down to the jeep trail and then call it a day… but the day
    then took another (unexpected) turn.. and the rest is now history…

    …but I suppose only more interviews with people who were actually
    out there on Saturday could prove that one way or the other.

    It’s pretty obvious from the SAIT ‘preliminary report’ on the fire that they
    did, in fact, talk to someone who was actually OUT there on Saturday
    where the fire actually was… but ( oddly enough ) their own SAIT interview
    notes released in the FOIA/FOIL package contain no interview notes
    whatsoever with anyone from the Lewis crew.

    BTW: Here is the SAIT document in the Dropbox being referred to above…

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/02ue6bnjp6nazkm/t0nEwg9ajn/Information%20Managment/B01-B09%20-%20ASF000009-INV%20to%2041-INV.pdf

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Correction for some time/acreage values above.

      The fire did NOT grow 94 acres in 3 hours.

      The ‘slopover’ only grew to 2 acres in the FIRST hour, then
      it took TWO hours for it to grow another 94 acres.

      Paragraph above should have read like this…

      At 5:30 p.m. the I.C. reported the slopover at approximately
      two acres, making the entire fire an estimated six + acres total.

      ( Original 2-4 acre size for SIX HOURS, since 9:30 AM, now 6+ acres. Only a growth of 2 acres in the FIRST hour after slopover ).

      At 7:38 PM ( 3 hours after the ‘slopover’ event at 4:30 ) the fire
      was estimated at 100 acres and was moving laterally along the
      ridge to the north, with active burning in isolated areas of dense
      fuel pockets.

      ( 94 acre additional growth in 2 hours whereas no growth at
      all above original 2-4 acre size all day during the SIX hours
      between 9:30 and 4:30 and only a 2 acre growth for the
      entire FIRST hour following the ‘slopover’ event ).

  31. Observer says

    I have not written here previously. However, I read this site daily. I am amazed and impressed by the work done by many of you. I suspect I am one of many that have not written but visit often.

    I didn’t know any of the GMIHS. I do live in AZ and this tragedy struck me in a deep way. I ordered books on prior WFF fatalities. I researched the topic on the internet. I waited for the Yarnell Hill investigations with great anticipation. I also figured that no matter what those revealed, there would be some group of folks that would cry foul. It happens everytime. And yes, it happened again. However, in this case, there is a LOT more than the SAIT revealed. That is why your work is so important.
    Yes, Marsh and Steed led those men down that hill. Yes, ultimately they bear responsibility. But, I feel that there is more to the story. From the mismanagement of the fire early on to the ultimate conflagration that took the lives of the 19 men and burned homes in the Yarnell area-God didn’t have plan (despite what Willis said) and I believe that a whole lot of folks didn’t have a plan either. Or had a very bad plan.
    At any rate, thank you for your interest and hard work in this endeavor. I know it isn’t pleasant and I can almost feel the pain and anger in the “old” hotshots who post here. I can “hear” the anger and sadness in others, such as Marti, WTKTT, Robert 2, Elizabeth etc.
    I hope that one day, prayerfully soon, those that know things will come forward, if for no other reason than to end some of the speculation that has to be painful for the families and friends of the hotshots.
    I hope that one day someone can create a map of the GMIHS movement that day in relation to the fire movement (you all have it figured out, but I can’t get my arms around it-I’m geographically challenged.)
    Again, I’m sorry for the loss of these men. I’m sorry for the hurt that their families and the WFF community feel. I feel bad for those of you who have worked so hard here only to have your motives questioned. You have taken time from your life, and it some cases it seems, pocketbooks to do the job that the taxpayers spent money on, but failed to get from the investigations. John Dougherty deserves great credit for sharing this site in such a free and open way.
    God Bless You all. I hope you find some answers. I know I will keep reading. There is more to this than simply “Stuff happens.”

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Observer post on February 5, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      >> Observer wrote…
      >>
      >> From the mismanagement of the fire early on to the ultimate
      >> conflagration that took the lives of the 19 men and burned
      >> homes in the Yarnell area-God didn’t have plan (despite what
      >> Willis said) and I believe that a whole lot of folks didn’t have
      >> a plan either. Or had a very bad plan.

      I think God still wants to know everything that happened ( or
      did NOT happen but SHOULD have ) on that Friday, Saturday
      and Sunday… just as much as the rest of us do.

      >> Observer also wrote.
      >>
      >> I hope that one day someone can create a map of the GMIHS
      >> movement that day in relation to the fire movement (you all
      >> have it figured out, but I can’t get my arms around it-I’m
      >> geographically challenged.)

      Stay tuned. That’s coming soon.

      There is, in fact something that we know exists that would
      certainly help with that, if it was not too badly damaged in
      the burnover.

      Robert Caldwell was wearing a Garmin Oregon 450 handheld
      GPS unit that day. It would have recorded ALL movements.

      That GPS unit belonged to the Prescott Fire Department.
      It must have survived the burnover in at least a recognizable form.
      It was never submitted as evidence to ANYONE.

      There’s a story right there all by itself that still needs to be told.

      >> Observer also wrote
      >> I hope you find some answers.

      We already have ( some, anyway… but there’s more to know ).

      >> I know I will keep reading.
      >> There is more to this than simply “Stuff happens.”

      You bet. That’s obvious at this point.

      There are also MANY fatherless children now, and possibly
      countless grandchildren, who are going to want to know
      as much as possible about why they had to grow up WITHOUT
      a father or a grandfather around.

      We ( the adults in the room ) at least owe it THEM to make
      sure that information is available.

      This event is historic.

      History has a way of making sure the TRUTH comes out.

    • Joy A Collura says

      just skimming through for questions—short on time.

      Thank you for speaking this online—I needed to see it.

      I have been dealing with personal life shifting events and loss.

      I think this site is very important to so many including us.

      There is a grieving process as you stated in your words for all of us watching or writing—Nineteen men gone and there is more to be told. Thank you for this comment.

      We all here do not seek notierity yet it is nice to have a sweet person like you to make the time as you did and we appreciated it.

      • joy says

        One of my biggest questions since the fire and who I wish I could learn who did the final retardant drops for 6-30-13 why they choose to drop at the least residential area versus common sense since I was on top of the Weaver Mountain mountains and I saw that fire move parallel towards the Glen Ilah community bordering the Shrine/Yarnell area—why didn’t you drop the final retardant from the Ranch House border going towards Sesame towards Shrine with the final drop—even if you never knew where the 19 men were or not-logically speaking from the mountain top looking down that would have been the only option versus the less residential area. I will forever be disappointed in your final drop unless you can educate me WHY you did it the way you did it. Save agricultural land and etc or many homes???

  32. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Marti… obviously THANK YOU for your time and your skills.
    Amazing work.
    Totally understand about the ‘time’ thing, however.
    If anyone thinks any of this kind of diligent evidence examination is easy…
    …think again.

    This thing isn’t going away.

    It is the greatest blunder in the history of Wildland Firefighting followed
    by one of the most worthless and obfuscating investigations in that
    same agency’s history.

    This is going to be talked about ( and examined ) for a LOOOONG time.

    As for whether anyone really seems to be paying attention…

    At the bottom of this page is a ‘hit counter’.

    Here are the statistics for just the last 24 hours…

    02/04/14 – 01:50 PM – 57,361 hits
    02/04/14 – 03:09 PM – 57,492 hits
    02/04/14 – 03:13 PM – 57,507 hits
    02/04/14 – 09:52 PM – 59,246 hits
    02/05/14 – 12:36 AM – 59,596 hits
    02/05/14 – 01:50 PM – 62,342 hits

    That’s pretty much 5,000 hits in just 24 hours ( 4,981 ).

    The world IS watching.

    Also remember ( always )…

    When you have eliminated the impossible…
    Whatever remains… however improbable… must be the TRUTH.

    Accepting the improbable is, oftentimes, not even the hard part.
    Where the ‘rubber meets the road’ is the work of eliminating the impossible.

    Namaste

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Followup…

      >> marti wrote…
      >>
      >> And why in the world was Globe Type 2 Inmate Crew’s
      >> Overhead, as you have id’d, at the Shrine Area when they
      >> were? WTF??? What in the world was gong on with that????

      Well… as it turns out… I was never certain that’s who they
      were and a little more examination of the evidence has
      proved it was NOT them.

      The ‘Helmet-Cam’ people were actually 3 of the ‘off the radar’
      hires that Roy Hall directed Bea Day to ‘accomplish’ that
      afternoon. They are all ‘special hires’ from the Prescott
      National Forest.

      The camera operator was Aaron Hulburd ( PNF )

      The fella in the white helmet is Jayson Clawson ( PNF )

      The fella with the beard and no mustache that we
      see standing in the road with his portable radio
      is another PNF hire with first name ‘Casey’.

      More about this very soon.

  33. Rocksteady says

    Marti… If you have to get back to your “real job”, as you are losing income by dedicating your efforts to this project, so be it.

    You have done an awesome job of helping to uncover details that would have easily gone unnoticed. It is not without appreciation by those on this site, as well, I am sure by the families of the lost and most of all John Dougherty.

    Who do we tell and where does it go from here?

    I suspect that as it sits right now John is taking some pretty detailed notes, as well as penning some pretty harsh questions that will go up the chain of command. We have to have faith in Johns abilities and integrity, that he will not let this be swept under the carpet, which I highly doubt the passionate posters (WTKTT, Bob Powers, etc)

    I have not been following the board much lately, it has gotten too technical for me (locations of photos and metadata, etc etc) BUT I did watch the Globe crews tribute video and it brought me to the following conclusions: (You may or may not agree).

    1) The initial Fire was mismanaged. The responding agency failed to connect the dots of what they had (observed fire behaviour) and WHAT the potential was (Expected Fire Behaviour), and then resourced to that prediction.

    2) When the original plan fell apart, they should have pulled EVERYONE back to defendable lines (I have no experience in it, but it does not appear to me that you can build guard in the chapparal brush type without working off an existing anchor (ie. the highway).

    3) With Plan A off the rails, in one hand and the forecast in the other, it should have been a no brainer… BACK OFF, Set up Structural Triage and wait for it to come (or attempt aerial igntions in front of it to contain).

    4) What was at risk once Plan A derailed?? Thousands of acres of crap brush that is not worth a penny, so let it burn. Prep the houses. Not like they were trying to save high value old growth timber or what have you.

    5) The I/C and/or OPS SHOULD have called a full retreat of all resources. They should have had this in the back of their mind, first thing in the morning, to decide when the line in the sand would trigger Plan B or C. You don’t keep going with Plan A, after it is an absolute failure, thinking the plan will still work.

    6) The SAIT did not do a truthful, respectful, decent investigation of the factors that led up to this tragedy. It was so poorly constructed that a bunch of internet posters like the group we have here, figured out more than their Special Team of Investigators.

    7) The ODSH report shed more light, started to point out the failures of the command structure and management of the fire, which MAY HAVE ultimately lead to the demise of the crew.

    8) The crew itself is responsible for their safety and should have told who ever gave tehm the order to go to teh Ranch House to “pound sand” be it from a supervisor in the Command Structure, or within the Crew itself.

    AND THE BIG ONE:

    If the truth is not researched and a true fact finding come out of this event, in order to prevent a recurrence………..

    “IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN”……..

    Respectfully submitted,

    RIP GMHS, I hope your deaths are not in vain…

    • mike says

      The SAIR was never intended to really find out what happened and serve as a basis for lessons learned. It was simply done because it had to be done, and they wanted to create as little legal risk and controversy as possible. I think it was always intended that discussions in the WFF community and the staff ride process would be where lessons were learned. I suspect this is how lessons are usually arrived at, not imposed from some report, but learned by studying on the part of the crews and outside fire experts.

      It will be interesting to see what lessons do come from Yarnell Hill. I certainly have no insight or expertise. I do wonder if the “rules” will be looked on in a new light. From following this story, it seems as if there has been a school of thought within the WFF leadership that has viewed the rules as a bit of a relic, really not in tune with modern firefighting. Almost as if they were guidelines. Even the co-leader of the SAIT expressed this thought. There may also be the belief that the rules have been taught, and tragedies have still occurred, so they are not sufficient to preventing disasters. I think there may be a great deal of fallacy in these thought processes. There can be a lot of wisdom in time-honored principles, and while there are always new ways of doing things, all new things are not always better. Moreover, just because teaching the rules did not prevent disasters, the problem does not appear to be the rules, but the fact that people did not follow them. That should not lead you to abandon the rules, but rather to make them even more a part of the culture.

      Just following a couple of the rules violated that day might well have kept them alive. No lookout, no eyes on the fire, no escape route – any one of those might have saved them. Whether a new emphasis on following safety rules is one of the lessons learned remains to be seen, it certainly has seemed to be a theme almost everywhere WFF have commented.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to mike post on February 6, 2014 at 12:04 am

        >> mike said…
        >>
        >> The SAIR was never intended to really find out
        >> what happened and serve as a basis for lessons
        >> learned.

        Really?

        Coulda fooled me ( and the taxpayers of Arizona )…

        … and the Governor of Arizona, too.

        To: Janice K. Brewer
        Governor of Arizona

        From: Scott Hunt
        Arizona State Forester

        Arizona State Forestry Division
        Office of the State Forester
        1110 W. Washington St., Suite 100
        Phonenix, AZ 85007
        (602) 771-1400

        Serious Accident Investigation Team
        Delegation of Authority

        On the afternoon of June 30, 2013, nineteen members
        of the Granite Mountain Type 1 Hotshot Crew from
        Prescott, Arizona were killed while fighting the Yarnell
        Hill Fire.

        As the State Forester of Arizona, I authorize Jim Karel’s
        Serious Accident Investigation Team to conduct the
        accident review of the Yarnell Hill Fire. This delegation is
        to perform the serious accident review of the Yarnell
        Hill Fire with the final objective of providing a FACTUAL
        and MANAGEMENT report for ACCIDENT PREVENTION.

        Signed by…

        Scott Hunter – 7-3-13
        Jim Karels, Team Leader, SAIT – 7-3-13
        Mike Dudley, Deuputy Team Leader, SAIT – 7-3-13

        Original letter…

        https://www.dropbox.com/sh/02ue6bnjp6nazkm/_ectd3JhvW/Correspondence/A01-A04%20-%20ASF000001-INV%20to%208-INV.pdf

        >> mike also said…
        >>
        >> I think it was always intended that discussions in the
        >> WFF community and the staff ride process would be
        >> where lessons were learned. I suspect this is how
        >> lessons are usually arrived at, not imposed from some
        >> report, but learned by studying on the part of the crews
        >> and outside fire experts.

        You may be right.

        That might have always been the only intention and even
        the letters to the Governor of Arizona were complete
        horse manure.

        …but that sort of makes what is going on here ( and
        other public places ) even more important, yes?

        To even accomplish what you just suggested… it is
        still necessary to know WHAT REALLY HAPPENED.

        • Bob Powers says

          If The SAIR is no more than a feel good investigation in this new day and age then the Wild Land Fire Fighting community has truly lost its way.
          We might as well just wait for the OSHA report and deal with those findings.
          The old investigations included.
          Safety equipment failures what needed change.
          Fire overhead plans and implementation.
          Fire line safety implementation.
          Adequate overhead and crews and equipment.
          Fire weather forecasts and critical fire behavior annalists.
          Site specific annalists of deployment site
          (BY WILDLAND FIRE INVESTIGATION TEAM)
          These are not accusation statements but scientific information searches to help future Fire Suppression.
          None of the above were actually done but left to Fire Fighters to wade thru with no direction.
          Reality check this was a State Fire. USFS and BLM Regions will not do anything unless pushed by the ground pounders. IT IS NOT THERE PROBLEM IT IS NOT THERE FIRE.
          and guess what they are staying out of it. No more investigation of their employees. Ground pounders will search the report find there Safety training info and move on.
          Overhead, Safety and Equipment will be internal info at Staff levels we will never hear about.
          Federal Government—-
          It wasn’t their Crew, their Fire or their accident.
          They invented the new investigation cover up and it is what it is.
          REST IN PEACE GMHS

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            >> Ground pounders will search the report
            >> find there Safety training info and move on.

            I wish there had even been enough
            information in the high-dollar SAIR report
            for them to actually do that. I really do.

            As disjointed as even this one particular
            public discussion forum has been at
            times… we are closer to having the
            information they need to do that HERE
            than anything done by the very people that
            hire them and are SUPPOSED to be
            interested in their welfare.

            • Bob Powers says

              The Information is sill there as all of us fire fighters have said. Between the lines are the violations of the 10 Standard Orders and the 18 situations that shout watch out.
              The SAIR just did not openly state them as causes. Allowing Fire Fighters to sift them out of all the worthless chatter in the SAIT. They are there we have stated them over and over. The rest is all the causative actions that pushed the accident to its final conclusion. There is enough blame to go around outside the Crew. This Fire should be identified from start to finish as what you do not do if you want a successful suppression effort…..

        • mike says

          WTKTT –

          I too want to know exactly what happened that day. Why else do you think I am still here? I am afraid there are a lot of people in positions of influence that want to keep everything as ambiguous and muddled as possible.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            mike… I did read and appreciate your
            ENTIRE post. You are a wise man… and
            I KNOW you are here (posting) for the same
            reasons most of us are… but I also DID
            have to take issue with your statement
            regarding the SAIR.

            It WAS supposed to find out what happened.
            It WAS supposed to publish FACTUAL results.
            It WAS supposed to tell the WFF community how to avoid making the same mistakes.
            That IS what those people were (highly)
            paid to do with taxpayer dollars.

            It did NONE of those things… and ( to me )
            that’s just as much a ‘part of the story’
            of this horrible incident now as everything
            else is.

            By the way… I agree with you once
            again on your post just above… but
            ALL of those ‘people’ you mention?…

            …they are ALL ‘public servants’.

            I wonder which word in their title they
            don’t seem to understand? The ‘public’
            part… or the ‘servant’ part? Or BOTH?

            Everyone keeps acting like the Forestry
            Service is Exxon Mobile, or something,
            just trying to protect their internal trade
            secrets and their own existence.

            It’s NOT ( a private company ).

            These people ALL work for you and me.
            It’s time someone reminded them of that.

            • mike says

              I feel there are probably more than “public servants” who are afraid of what the truth might be and are not unhappy with the muddled and ambiguous state of affairs. Read any of the Facebook pages dedicated to the 19. The willingness to know the truth may depend on what the truth is.

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                I’m absolutely sure there are
                a lot of people who really do
                just want to believe it was
                all simply radio problems that
                killed 19 good men.

                Nobody did anything wrong.
                When do we get MORE
                money so we can fix the
                radios and stuff? End story.

                I’m also absolutely sure there
                are a lot of other people who
                still want to know the REAL
                reasons why 19 good men
                died that day.

                Mr. Mark Twain again…

                “A good lie will have traveled half way around the world while the truth is putting on her boots.”

  34. Bob Powers says

    Marti First I want to thank you and others for all they have done here.

    The only way to change the current system is to get Regional Foresters and Fire Control to sit down and force change. That’s how its happened in the past.
    Can it happen in this day and age? Only if we still have Fire savvy staff people willing to address Fire Safety and research and go the extra mile. The pressure will have to come from the ground up and the media or it won’t happen.
    The USFS and BLM are the ones that will enact change. They need to appoint a research group on Wild land Fire, safety and suppression. With out that leadership nothing will happen. Every Forest and BLM Fire Organization needs to push the need up to the national office or it wont happen.

  35. Marti Reed says

    I am most seriously wondering, at this point, what do we do with this?

    To be honest, I can no longer afford to essentially spend $2k a month (the loss of my income as a photographer, which has been the case since the beginning of December) to do this. I REALLY have to get back to my work and my life.

    And yet, I really believe we have uncovered the evidence to show that there has never been anything approaching a true investigation of this disaster, which not only cost the lives of 19 people, but almost the lives of a number of others. AND without which, there are NO lessons to be learned from it for WFFs other than from speculation based, not on facts, but on the speculations of the SAIT and the ADOSH. Which just isn’t good enough.

    There are a number of people I would like to inform of our work and what we have uncovered here. But as I read through just even Chapter 4, the noise to signal ratio is higher than I think they will want to plow through. Which is natural, given what we have been having to do here. But how do we get people who need to know, to know?

    I really don’t know what to do at this point. I can’t afford to continue trying to connect dots if doing that has no actual impact on anything.

    And WTKTT, thank you for appreciating my work. This last batch was a totally frustrating biyatch without another set of eyes on it to catch my mistakes on it earlier. It cost me a ton of time. Something bigger than just us needs to be doing this.

    And I really agree with you that the issue of whether or not Brendan was willing/able to talk during that hour or so at the Ranch House is really critical. I can’t believe he didn’t say anything about what he must have known about where they had decided to go (given the possible–at that time–importance of finding them quickly). But maybe he didn’t. Which raises the question of “If he didn’t, why?”

    That’s why those pictures Ball took wandering around Glen Illah have always haunted me so much, regardless of whatever vehicle he was using to take them (and I’m frankly 50/50 on whether by Quad he meant a map–all things considered–or a UTV–all things considered).

    I really believe, given how many photos he took of what I think may have been what he was trying to discern might have been possible ways out towards the Boulder Springs Ranch (but I haven’t confirmed since the Googlle Earth street views are not available in those locations) that seem to have been blocked by gates, are a visual narrative of his trying to find a way to Boulder Springs Ranch. I have no idea what was going on inside his head, but for some reason it seems he thought that was somehow the route to somewhere important in some way. Why did he think that? I don’t know.

    What happened to the dozer? I don’t know. What does it mean that it was staged? I don’t know. But it was somehow the reason Ball spent a friggin hour hoofing it down on foot to the Yarnell Fire Department to get a Quad (whether that means a UTV–which doesn’t make sense in that context–or a map, which I don’t know what that means either).

    And why in the world was Globe Type 2 Inmate Crew’s Overhead, as you have id’d, at the Shrine Area when they were? WTF??? What in the world was gong on with that????

    And yes, what in the world happened Saturday????

    But, given all these questions and mysteries, my question is, where do we go from here? And where do i go from here? I seriously can’t afford to keep working on connecting dots that need to be connected by a real investigation. And I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to connect another damn fricken dot. I’m a photographer who needs to get back to being a photographer.

    I believe those of us who have contributed mucho mucho time out of out lives need to figure out how to make this relevant in order to make sure all this work isn’t wasted. And I, frankly, don’t know how to do that. But I am not evenly remotely going to connect another damn dot until we find a way to make sure our work isn’t being done in vain.

    Namaste to all of your who are still here.

  36. Robert the Second says

    WTKTT,

    Regarding the SAIT, I’m sure you noticed the “F” word in one of their statements when they referred to “the factual and management report.” FACTUAL? I don’t think so. As ‘they’ often like to say, “There’s a grain of truth in …”

  37. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Does anyone know why the official website for the SWCC Dispatch
    Center where all available crew statuses are shown is still showing
    ‘Granite Mountain’ as on an ‘Out-of-Area Rotation’…

    …but their ‘current status’ is also listed as…

    RA ( Returned from Assignment ).

    Is this some kind of ‘memorial’ for Granite Mountain… or is the SWCC
    website just totally screwed up?

    Look at the bottom of this page at the SWCC Dispatch center…

    http://gacc.nifc.gov/swcc/dispatch_logistics/crews/sit300/sit300.htm

    • Robert the Second says

      WTKTT,

      It could be some kind of memorial to them. Last year they had Rest in Peace.

      Call them and ask (505) 842-FIRE (3473)

  38. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to Robert the Second post on February 3, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    >> RTS said…
    >>
    >> WTKTT,
    >>
    >> Regarding the ” ‘management report’ ” – it’s a Federal concept, so not
    >> sure if the State requires it. It depends what AZ State put in their SAIT
    >> request and/or Delegation of Authority from AZ State Forestry.
    >>
    >> And even if ‘they’ did complete one, they usually fall under one or more
    >> exemptions, so ‘they’ can keep them within the Agency’s control. So,
    >> they would be really difficult to get ahold of, and you’d have to appeal
    >> the exemption (s) and go to court to get them released. Even then, the
    >> document would most likely be heavily redacted.

    RTS… thanks again!

    I should have seen the following before I asked the question but I didn’t
    realize that the existence of the (supposedly) ‘Federally Required’
    detailed management report is now one of the most ‘Frequently Asked
    Questions’ up at the Arizona Forestry Commission Website.

    NOTE: I can think of any number of OTHER ‘Frequently Asked Questions’
    that the Arizona Forestry Commission should be supplying some answers
    to up there but I doubt MY questions would ever appear on their website.

    Anyway…

    From the horse’s mouth ( also answers questions about visiting the site )…

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B36DIycSgbzWbWxFeEJyUEJxY1E/edit?pli=1

    Arizona State Forestry Commission

    Yarnell Hill Fire Report Website

    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS…

    ** Is there another report with confidential information for internal agency
    ** use only that you are not releasing?

    There is only one Serious Accident Investigation Report.
    It is available in its entirety at
    h t t p s : / / s i t e s . g o o g l e . c o m / s i t e / y a r n e l l r e p o r t /

    ** What is in the Serious Accident Investigation Report?

    The factual and management report has two parts, plus appendices.

    Part One includes the fact-based Narrative, the Analysis, Conclusions, and
    Recommendations. The primary purpose of the Analysis is to provide context
    for key action points associated with the entrapment and fire shelter
    deployment. This supports the Conclusions section, which represents
    the Team’s impressions and conclusions about these events.
    Recommendations presented to management are opportunities for
    improving safety.

    Part Two, the Learning Discussion section, explores multiple concepts and
    perspectives that may help readers to understand and learn from this accident.
    The intent is to prompt the wildland fire organization to think about and
    discuss how they can improve at the individual, team, and organizational levels,
    thereby improving both safety and resilience in their organizations.

    ** What were the guidelines for this Serious Accident Investigation Team?

    The Delegation of Authority for the Serious Accident Investigation Team is
    available on p.112 of the (SAIR) report.

    The Arizona State Forestry Department is not required to follow federal
    interagency guidelines for accident investigations. However they referred to
    the Interagency Serious Accident Investigation Guide, as well as other sources,
    in the in the development of the report.

    ** Can the public visit the deployment site?

    The deployment site is on Arizona State Land Department property and is
    closed to the public.

    ** Can the public view the deployment site?

    A Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Overlook with a set of memorial boards
    dedicated to the 19 fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots has been established
    adjacent to Hwy 89 in Yarnell, Arizona. From the Yarnell overlook, a flagpole
    raised at the incident location is visible in the distance.

  39. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to calvin post on February 4, 2014 at 3:42 am

    >> calvin said…
    >>
    >> Dispatch records P14….06/30/2013 15:13:39 E46 FILLED WITH
    >> TRACTOR TRANSPORTATION WITH LIC# 1TA-423
    >> FOR DOZER TRANSPORT AND EMAILED RESOURCE ORDER
    >>
    >> It seems that the dozer transport was ordered at 1513.
    >>
    >> Also noted is no order to move dozer back to south side of fire to
    >> push road in for body retrieval. (that I can find)

    Good catch, calvin.

    That does, then, match the time of ‘about 1500’ placed on when the
    dozer was pulled away from Blue Ridge before they had even
    finished what they were working on all day.

    That must have really screwed up the whole plan for the south side
    of the fire at that point. It was all based on finishing that ‘line’ and
    (possibly) firing it out.

    I wonder if that also now explains the late-day assignment of Esquibel
    and his crew over to the Shrine area to build that ‘saw line’ to connect the
    final part of the dozer line to the Shrine road near the Youth Camp?

    Also… here’s the original order for the dozer placed at 3:04 AM Sunday…

    Order placed: June 30, 2013, 03:04 AM
    Arrived: June 30, 2013, 08:00 AM
    TRACTOR – AZA1S – May Machinery – 94291
    ( 2001 FREIGHTLINER LIC# 1TA-423 – DOZER TRANSPORT) (AZ-ADC)

    Actually… looks like TWO Dozers were ordered the night before
    ( actually very early morning Sunday )… but only one showed up
    after daylight on Sunday. I wonder what happened to the other one?

    Anyway… here is the website for the company they rented the dozer
    and trailer from…

    May Machinery, Inc.
    Address: 31005 W Southern Ave, Buckeye, AZ 85326
    Phone:(623) 386-3023

    http://www.maymachinery.com/

    Click on ‘Rentals’ and I think both dozer and trailer and pictured there.

    • calvin says

      At 1032 of Globe type 2 memorial video there are two tractor/trailors suitable for hauling a dozer. They do not appear to be the same from May Machinery (both tractors in video are yellow and one shown at May Machinery is white.)

      Also Gary Cordis says the dozer was staged on the road at 4pm. Which road?

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to calvin post on February 4, 2014 at 5:15 am

        >> calvin said…
        >>
        >> At 1032 of Globe type 2 memorial video there are two
        >> tractor/trailors suitable for hauling a dozer. They do not
        >> appear to be the same from May Machinery (both
        >> tractors in video are yellow and one shown at May
        >> Machinery is white.)

        Copy that. I believe that photo at 10:32 in the video was
        taken after June 30. Looks like the following day ( July 1 )
        Landscape in background is already totally burned.

        That’s certainly what the dozer trailer on June 30 must
        have looked like, though. Big and yellow.

        >> Also Gary Cordis says the dozer was staged on the
        >> road at 4pm. Which road?

        Well.. I would imagine that would have to be a ‘main’
        road like either Highway 89 or Hays Ranch Road.
        Still to be determined.

        It’s amazing with ALL the photos and videos available
        from that day… something as big as a dozer trailer
        would be so hard to find.

  40. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to Robert the Second post on February 3, 2014 at 11:57 am

    >> RTS wrote…
    >>
    >> WTKTT,
    >>
    >> Regarding the Willis interview and that he “Heard rumor that the crew
    >> fired about on mile of line??”
    >> That’s all it was, a rumor. And that’s ALL it was as far as I’m concerned.

    Yes. That’s even the ONLY mention of the ‘rumor’ itself… but it is mentioned.

    >> RTS also wrote…
    >> To fire off a mile of line for a Type II Crew like the Lewis Crew would have
    >> been a big endeavor requiring OPS and/or IC knowledge and approval.

    One would think so. That’s a lot of line. Even for 13 guys.

    Besides… there is the well-documented moment on Saturday afternoon
    when the Lewis DOC crew supposedly totally ran out of chain saw gas,
    and no one could coordinate getting any more out there to them.

    So if they were going to burn off a MILE of line following running out
    of chain-saw gas… how did they do it? Just the little hand-torches
    alone that had some ‘regular’ gas in them ( and not the oil mix
    needed for chainsaws? ).

    Can you really even burn a ‘mile’ of line with one or two of those
    things… even if you wanted to?

    Even if the rumor is true.. the big mystery would remain as to HOW
    they even did that much ‘burnoff’ that afternoon. With WHAT?

    >> RTS also wrote…
    >> Besides that, it would have required at least some engines
    >> and possibly air support.

    I’m still not saying it happened… but maybe it was just some huge
    ‘practice exercise’ that just went totally sidewise on them.

    There was some kind of ‘trainee’ involved that day and running the
    crew… if I understand the Saturday documentation correctly.

    >> RTS also wrote…
    >> Just firing off the unburned fuel between the jeep trail and the fire
    >> perimeter, sure. It’s part of line construction and a Crew Leader has
    >> the authority and responsibility to accomplish that task. HOWEVER,
    >> the OPS and/or IC would havem should have been informed.

    Again… not saying it happened… but maybe when they ran out of the
    oil-gas chainsaw mix and all they had left were some regular-gas
    hand torches, or something, maybe they decided they would just
    do some of that ‘unburned fuel’ elimination you just mentioned and
    ‘call it a day’…

    …but that’s when it all went sideways on them.

    >> RTS also wrote…
    >> Therefore, I’m taking it as just a rumor, nothing else.

    Until there’s more evidence / documentation on EXACTLY what that
    crew was doing up there Saturday afternoon… then that is all it is. A rumor.

    • Robert the Second says

      WTKTT,

      AND it would have taken additional Crews to hold line. A HS Crew not so much so, but a Type II Crew firing and holding their own line under those conditions, no way. AND the fire behavior indicated on photos and videos indicated black smoke at 0900 and 60′ to 100′ flame lengths at 1000 to 1030. This was indicative of rock-and-roll fire behavior for the day for those that were paid attention. Fire Order Number 3 – Base all actions on CURRENT an EXPECTED fire behavior.

      I’m gonna say that the Lewis Crew abided by that and didn’t burn a mile of line and then lose it as the rumor mill goes.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        It’s fully documented that poor Shumate ( I really have
        developed some sympathy for this poor guy ) was TOLD
        that the fire was “contained on ALL FOUR SIDES” at
        some point in the afternoon… and that’s when he started
        letting resources leave the area…

        …but official reports still don’t seem to say exactly
        WHO told him that.

        Was it really this ‘trainee’ who was supposedly
        running the Lewis crew that day because no one
        thought the fire was that big of deal?… or the regular
        Lewis crew boss ( whoever that really was ).

        How DO you get from ‘Fully contained on all four sides’
        to ‘Jumping the jeep trail with 40 foot flame lengths’
        in a fairly short amount of time with not very much wind.

        It’s a mystery that still begs some answers.

  41. Bob Powers says

    RTS as you know I’ve heard you all along. Also I think what you just said is fact No one but Granit Mountain really knew where they were that day. GM also includes McDonough.
    I will say one thing about previous investigations up till recently they at least identified the violation of the 10 standard orders. Until this latest change in non accusation reports has become the new direction. In most cases they never single any one person out for blame. As you said never have never will.
    If the organization never learns then the Fire Fighter will never learn.
    The basics have and will always be there. Teach them, use them and believe in them. Some of the 10 and 18 can be found in every fatality fire no matter what the investigation says. Fire suppression 101…………………

    • Robert the Second says

      Bob,

      As I posted earlier, this investigation was heavily infuenced by the Facilitated Learning Analysis (FLA) which belives that no body is at fault, it’s the Agency, the Culture, the Organization. It’s pure Bovine Feculence.

      To not base a fatality investigation on the 10 and 18 as OBJECTIVE criteria borders on negligence.

      • Bob Powers says

        Right on….. How dose it get changed?
        This is not my Forest Service
        I guess it already wasn’t when I retired.
        At 33 years of dedication, the last 5 I had enough.
        I guess we are to expect 30 Fire Fatalities a year in Wild land Fire Fighting Because no one will identify LESSONS LEARNED………………….. Lack of initial attack. No fire line work at night, Let it burn till it starts threating homes and its to late to save them too.

  42. Robert the Second says

    WTKTT,

    “DID THE GROUND RESCUE TEAM KNOW ABOUT THE RANCH?”

    “Was anyone at the Ranch House Restaurant (where this rescue team was formed) really aware that they should be looking for Granite Mountain somewhere ‘out there’ near the Boulder Springs Ranch?”

    NO, probably not because almost everyone KNEW or THOUGHT they were SAFE IN THE BLACK IN A GOOD SZ. Everyone that heard GMHS on the radio figured that,even the guys during the ‘helmet cam’ video clip. Frisby said, in his mind they went toward the black (who would go into the unburned green?) So, why would they go looking in the green or toward The Ranch?

    From BRHS interview – “Also going to make our way through out escape route. Brian asks are you in good black? Eric says “picking our way through the black to the rd in the bottom out towards the ranch” Brian thinks he meant towards the 2 track. To confirm Brian says, “the rd we came on w/ the ranger…affirm.”
    Brian thought GM would come down the same rd him and Trew went on.”

    “Started gathering a task force of medical people, paramedics, drivers, medical equipment, but there was no real access.” Because they didn’t really know where they were.

    And remember Marsh’s MANY DISINGENUOUS, COY, LESS-THAN-FORTHRIGHT answers regarding WHERE he was, WHERE the GMHS was, WHAT they were doing, WHAT his/their intention(s) were etc. That certainly did NOT help the situation.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      RTS… Everything you say is TRUE. That IS what everyone
      thought ( even the Helmet-Cam guys ) PRIOR to ( and during? )
      the MAYDAY messages…

      …but what I was saying above is that it didn’t matter what
      anyone THOUGHT prior to hearing Marsh saying they
      were ‘deploying’ and ‘getting into the shelters’.

      At that point… all bets ( and prior assumptions ) were off.

      The most IMPORTANT thing to determine, at that moment,
      was WHERE WERE THEY… REALLY… and to figure
      that out FAST.

      So I don’t think you ‘imagined’ the scenario I was describing
      just above as part of the ‘question’.

      Again… imagine this…

      EVERYONE was standing in the Ranch House Restaurant
      parking lot. Frisby, Brown, Cordes, McDonough, (Abel?), and
      in a few moments even Willis was there at the cafe’.

      They immediately started organizing a ‘ground rescue team’
      and THREE UTV’s to go do the searching.

      Frisby even immediately got with Brendan and worked with
      him to obtain the ‘crew manifests’ so they would know
      exactly how many people they were looking for.

      So there is Frisby… getting the manifests from Brendan
      McDonough… who was about to become the only surviving
      member of this entire Hotshot team…

      …and are we saying there wasn’t even one conversation
      with Brendan about where they might ACTUALLY be… or
      what Brendan might have KNOWN about their actual
      movements and location now that it is CRITICAL to
      know for SURE where they might be?

      As I said above… I just cannot imagine that didn’t happen.

      Even if no one ASKED Brendan exactly where they were…
      don’t you think YOU ( or anyone ) would VOLUNTEER
      any information you had at that moment on their exact
      whereabouts so any ‘rescue effort’ could maximize
      their search efforts?

      Brendan ( and Willis ) heard ALL of those ‘discussing their
      options’ conversations… and by the time the rescue team
      was organized BOTH of them were standing right there
      in the Ranch House Restaurant parking lot with everyone else.

      All I am saying is if none of that actually happened ( no
      conversation amongst all those people who were standing
      in that parking lot to VERIFY where they REALLY were
      when Marsh said ‘our escape route has been cut off’ )…

      …then that is just really, truly beyond belief.

      • Robert the Second says

        WTKTT,

        I have to agree with you because what else can you say? Brendan almost surely knew what was going on. I still say Willis not so much so.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Copy that. The jury is still out on Willis. He has
          admitted in public interviews that he was ‘listening’ to
          the GM private crew frequency at the critical
          ‘discussing their options’ times… but that certainly
          isn’t documented in both official SAIT and ADOSH
          reports like we know Brendan was ( listening ).

          My ‘imagine this’ scenario above was just based
          on realizing that this ‘ground rescue effort’ is
          still one the most poorly documented aspects
          of this entire incident.

          Marti made that obvious above with the amazing
          work just trying to match all the photos with
          the lightly documented events…

          …and that made me realize that while we can
          see photos showing some of what happened…
          and BR GPS tracking data SHOWING them
          apparently trying to ‘break through’ in the Glen
          Ilah Area… and then all the tracking out west
          to search for them…

          …we still don’t really know exactly what went
          down in that Ranch House Restaurant parking
          lot when everyone who was anyone that day
          were all standing around face-to-face… no
          radios needed… and the most important thing
          in the world at that moment was figuring out
          EXACTLY where these men might REALLY be.

          What was the real conversation?
          Who knew what when?
          Who told who what?
          Who did NOT say what the knew ( if anyone )?

          Did the rescue team really know EXACTLY
          where they ought to be looking for GM but
          were somehow unable to communicate
          that to the already-airborne Ranger 58?

          There’s a complete story there (post-deployment)
          that just hasn’t even begun to be fully told yet.

          Stay tuned.

  43. Robert the Second says

    WTKTT,

    Regarding the ” ‘management report’ ” – it’s a Federal concept, so not sure if the State requires it. It depends what AZ State put in their SAIT request and/or Delegation of Authority from AZ State Forestry.

    And even if ‘they’ did complete one, they usually fall under one or more exemptions, so ‘they’ can keep them within the Agency’s control. So, they would be really difficult to get ahold of, and you’d have to appeal the exemption (s) and go to court to get them released. Even then, the document would most likely be heavily redacted.

  44. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** DID THE GROUND RESCUE TEAM KNOW ABOUT THE RANCH?

    Marti’s diligent study of the Blue Ridge photos and notes documented above
    actually has raised an important question/issue that I don’t think has been
    discussed before.

    There is no doubt that one of the first things that happened almost immediately
    after the ‘new’ of the deployment got out circa 1642… that everyone started
    ‘jumping into action’ and trying to do whatever they could to help.

    That ‘rescue team’ of THREE UTVs that would eventually ‘break through’
    out west towards the ridge via the Shrine area had begun to be organized
    almost immediately after the ominous radio transmissions from GM.

    The Blue Ridge GPS tracking video and their own notes document their
    efforts to ‘find a way west’ in the Glen Ilah area just shortly after the
    deployment and even at some risk to their own lives at that point.

    But here’s the big question…

    Was anyone at the Ranch House Restaurant ( where this rescue team
    was formed ) really aware that they should be looking for Granite Mountain
    somewhere ‘out there’ near the Boulder Springs Ranch?

    There is no actual documentation to support this one way or the other…
    but think about this for a second.

    Brendan McDonough was right there at the cafe’ in this timeframe.
    He is documented in every official report as definitely having HEARD
    the ENTIRE ‘discussion their options’ conversation(s) ( multiple ).

    Multiple people who were there have also reported hearing the same
    reference to a ‘ranch’ that even the Ranger 58 DPS medic Eric Tarr
    would eventually recall hearing while he was in the air searching.

    Those ‘multiple people’ who reported hearing the same thing were
    ALSO ‘right there’ at the cafe’ in the moments following deployment.

    Eric Cordes himself was right there at the cafe’ at this same time and
    HE is the one who ( according to all documentation ) supposedly told
    Marsh, Steed AND the entire GM Crew about the ‘bomb-proof ranch’
    MULTIPLE times that morning as he launched each of these resources
    out to the western ridge to start their work day.

    So with ALL of these people standing right there at the cafe’ in the moments
    following the ‘news’ of the deployment… is it even conceivable that the
    rescue team was NOT informed that the ‘Boulder Springs Ranch’ must
    have been where they were headed when Marsh calmly announced
    “…our escape route has been cut off” ?

    Just take Brendan McDonough alone, for example.

    Is it even conceivable that once everyone knew what was happening…
    that Brendan did NOT tell Frisby or Cordes or any other management
    person there in the parking lot what he DID know?

    My answer would be… “No… it’s not possible he could have withheld
    ANY information he had at that critical moment.”

    So if the ‘rescue team’ really was fully informed ( By Brendan or Cordes
    or anyone else who KNEW that’s where GM had been going ) that
    they probable search area was somewhere west of the Boulder
    Springs Ranch…

    …then WHY… almost an HOUR later… did Ranger 58 medic Eric Tarr
    still have to ‘accidentally’ recall that he had ‘accidentally’ overheard
    something about a ‘ranch’… and that ended up being the only way
    that Ranger 58 actually ‘accidentally’ found them?

    Thoughts?

  45. Robert the Second says

    Bob and WTKTT,

    Reposting here. ” think the ongoing ‘conversation’ at this
    point should be just as much about how to prevent such a botched-up, obfuscated
    INVESTIGATION like this from ever happening again just as much as it
    needs to still be about what REALLY happened in Yarnell on June 30, 2013.

    Reply ↓

    Robert the Second
    on February 2, 2014 at 10:28 pm said:
    Bob,

    “Third the SAIT again used there own scenario because BR did not fit. BR’s statements were not used but changed to fit.
    This has to be the worst investigation in the history of WLF fatalities.”

    I’ll say it once again. Contrary to the ‘traditional investigative process’ the SAIT will establish it’s own conclusion, then it will selectively find ‘facts’ to support their pre-established conclusion. They do this by means of selective interviews and ‘cherry picking’ evidence that fits; everything else is discounted. It has happened with every fatality SAIT since the Mann Gulch Fire.”

    One of the only ways to get honest, objective investigations is to take them out of the hands of BUREAUCRATS. It’s the classic ‘fox checking on the chickens’ thing.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      RTS… I hear ya ( loud and clear ).

      I didn’t want you to think this message you’ve been trying to
      get across from day one is just ‘lost in the noise’. It’s not.

      Every time you say it… it’s just as true.

      Question: Have you heard… or do you know… if this
      mysterious ‘management report’ was also produced by
      the SAIT? The one that is supposed to remain ‘internal
      only’ and (supposedly) has the actual FACTUAL results
      of the investigation… and not this ‘learning exercise’
      thing that was released publicly?

  46. Robert the Second says

    WTKTT,

    Regarding the Willis interview and that he “Heard rumor that the crew fired about on mile of line??”

    That’s all it was, a rumor. And that’s ALL it was as far as I’m concerned. And not a big deal as far as I’m concerned as well.

    To fire off a mile of line for a Type II Crew like the Lewis Crew would have been a big endeavor requiring OPS and/or IC knowledge and approval. Besides that, it would have required at least some engines and posssibly air support.

    Just firing off the unburned fuel bewtween the jeep trail and the fire perimeter, sure. It’s part of line construction and a Crew Leader has the authority and responsibility to accomplish that task. HOWEVER, the OPS and/or IC would havem should have been informed.

    Therefore, I’m taking it as just a rumor, nothing else.

    • sonny and joy here says

      we can confirm the crew on Saturday 6-29-13 near the helispot area did cuttings- by our accounts and photos show that but we do not know any of their accounts of burning up there except many in Congress, Arizona saw it at one point almost burnt out than it was back to high flames with at that point no weather to contribute it and if they read your scenarios here then I am sure you would have a lot of Congress locals stating maybe there was a man factor in the fire growing again on Saturday. Makes sense. We saw 4 tiny bushes on fire 6-30-13 a.m. to have the yellow and white helicopter hover/observe/pick up or drop items which in turn flamed up very high those 4 tiny bushes so anything is open for discussion there. Has anyone ever seen the air log yet for that helicopter? or the Ranger 58? We know DPS pilot was Eric Tarr and the ranger 58 was Clifford Brunstig yet due to privacy laws have not been answered some questions we mailed to those 2 areas. We would like to know more than they had a mission at the Yarnell Hill Fire. Some people have asked us to hike that area again with them and we have given all the coordinates and showed you all the legal ways yet we are not doing hikes currently but for a select few for 2014 in hopes to give the Helm’s place some r&r from everyone visiting the area and we did a lot in 2013. It is time for all of us to give them a bit of privacy seeing that some good solid people did get to hike it and even they are bewildered to that weekend like us. If someone can come to us explaining how us hiking them will bring forth a deeper clarity to that weekend than sure we can arrange something.

      • Robert the Second says

        Sonny and Joy,

        You’ve made several comments about ‘closures’ and ‘legal ways’ to hike the YHF area. Would you please go into some more detail on all that?

        I heard the State has a closure on the YHF, is that correct? And I know it’s a lot of AZ State Trust Land, and you need a permit just for that, right? So, if I was to make a trip to AZ to hike the YHF area, what do I need to do?

        Thanks.

        • Joy A. Collura says

          To answer your questions. Yes, I have posted online numerous times the coordinates and areas restricted. Right now, you would have to go to private links of mine or scroll these comment walls for the coordinates–none on hand to offer. As far as restrictions go, there has been a set state land restriction (possibly later to be hallowed ground) (320 acres of state land) and that map was emailed to us Fri, Jul 19, 2013 at 7:03 PM by Jim Paxon the restricted map and we would forward that email to anyone interested in having a copy of that map or just look on my private link photos for the map as well. Soon I will post a public link after the 17th when I can upload again; out of bandwidth usage to do any online projects/photo pages.

          reply in CAPS below—>>>
          You’ve made several comments about ‘closures’ and ‘legal ways’ to hike the YHF area. Would you please go into some more detail on all that? I WILL TRY MY BEST. IF YOU GO TO YAVAPAI COUNTY ASSESSOR AND IN SEARCH BUTTON OF THE GIS MAPPING TYPE WHITEHEAD OR BALUCO AND WHEN YOU ARE THERE IT SHOULD HAVE PLACED YOU ON THE AREA OF SESAME STREET—I COULD SAY EVEN SEARCH HELMS YET GIVEN THEM A BREAK IN 2014. SO NOW TAKE THE LAYER EFFECTS AND BUILD THE MAP YOU WANT BY OVERLAYING IT WITH STATE AND BLM AND PRIVATE THEN PRINT IT OUT AS YOUR MAP PLUS PRINT THE RESTIRCTED MAP AND COME TO ARIZONA AND HAVE A WONDERFUL SLEUTH OF A TIME TRAILING THE WEAVER MOUNTAINS. YOU ARE ABLE TO GO ON STATE LAND YET NOT 320 ACRES THAT SURROUND THE DEPLOYMENT AREA. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED LEGALLY ON THAT AREA EVEN THOUGH YOU HEAR SO MANY HAVE AND DO—THE LOVED ONES OF THE FALLEN AND CERTAIN ONES IN THE FIREFIGHTER COMMUNITY HAVE BEEN ALLOWED YET IT WAS TOLD TO ME ALL OF THEM WERE TO ALWAYS BE WITH AN OFFICIAL OTHERWISE THEY WERE NOT ALLOWED YET AGAIN I HIKE IT AND I HAVE SEEN ALOT OF FOLKS GO WITHOUT AN OFFICIAL INTO THE AREAS THEY RESTRICTED—MOST LIKELY BECAUSE ONLY THE DEPLOYMENT AREA IS FENCED OFF AND THERE IS NO VISIBLE LEGAL SIGNS STATING “STATE LAND RESTRICTED” AND YCSO DEPUTY LEVIN STATED ABOUT HOMEOWNER’S PLACES THAT YOU MUST HAVE VISIBLE SIGNS EVER SO MANY FEET STATING “NO TRESPASSING” OTHERWISE THERE IS NOT MUCH THE YCSO CAN DO YET I AM SURE ON THE STATE LAND RESTRICTED AREA THAT IS ANOTHER BALL PARK THEORY AS MAYBE THE YCSO DOES NOT GET INVOLVED YET STATE LAND DOES. THERE IS NO SIGNS ANYWHERE STATING YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED PASS A CERTAIN POINT. THERE IS ALOT OF RESTRICTED PRIVATE LAND OUT THERE; DON GLASGLOW OF MAUGHAN RANCH IS ONE FOR SURE, BALUCO, WHITEHEAD SO THAT MEANS TECHNICALLY NOONE IS ALLOWED TO WALK THE DESERT LAND OFF SESAME STREET AND THE SHRINE AREA SO THAT TAKES ONE TO EITHER THE CONGRESS SIDE LIKE WE HIKE ALOT OR NEAR THE YARNELL LIBRARIAN’S PATTI OFF NEAR CANDIE CANE LANE WHICH YOU MUST ASK HER WHERE TO PARK FOR THERE IS A DESIGNATED 1-2 SAFE PARKING AREA. IF YOU DO NOT KNOW THE AREA IT IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED TO HAVE A HIKING HOST SO YOU DO NOT END UP IN JAIL OR WITH SOME HEFTY FINES. WE HAVE DONE IT SO FAR TO HELP GET CLARITY TO YARNELL HILL FIRE WEEKEND AND STILL WILL TO A SELECT FEW THIS 2014 BECAUSE YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE ON THE WRONG PROPERTY BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO KNOW YOUR LAND THERE—FOR EXAMPLE THE CATTLE POND NEAR THE HELMS—TUCK YOURSELF FAR AWAY FROM THAT SPOT BECAUSE PART OF THE ACRES OF HELMS IS WIDE ENOUGH IT DOES GO OVER THAT WAY— DO PLEASE KNOW YOUR TERRAIN. THERE ARE SHORTCUTS AND LONGER STEEPER WAYS—ALSO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE WENT AND PURCHASED YOUR STATE LAND PERMIT. STATE LAND MUST LOVE ME THIS PAST YEAR WITH ALL THE PERMITS THEY GOT FROM ME SHARING THE NEWS BECAUSE MANY NEVER EVEN KNEW THEY HAD TO EVEN HAVE ONE. I DO WANT TO EDUCATE YOU ALL THAT STATE LAND ALLOWS AN ARIZONA HUNTING LICENSE YET IF THAT IS YOUR PURPOSE FOR BEING IN THE AREA; RABBITS AND SUCH. SO IF YOU HAVE ONE OF THOSE AND YOU ARE WANTING TO DO THE TRAILS, DO KNOW YOUR PRIVATE LAND AREAS AND WATERING HOLE AREAS TO AVOID SHOOTING—I MEAN WALKING IN THOSE AREAS WITH YOUR LEGAL HUNTING PERMIT. I MAKE PEOPLE AWARE OF THE RESTRICTIONS AS LA RETIRED FIREFIGHTER EDUCATED US THAT ONE HIKE IN JULY 2013. IT IS A MANDATORY THING TO BE LEGAL AND AS WELL AS RESPECT OTHERS PRIVATE AREAS ESPECIALLY THE HELMS. MAYBE SOME DAY THEY WILL SURFACE AND SHARE MORE TO THAT WEEKEND BUT HEY MAYBE THE HELMS HAVE OTHER PLANS YET IF THEY EVER PUT A BOOK OUT INDEED I WOULD BUY IT. I HAVE TRAVELLED NEAR THEIR LAND FOR ALMOST A DECADE AND I HAVE ALWAYS ENJOYED WATCHING THEIR PLACE AND MAUGHAN RANCH AREA AS I SCALED THE BOULDERS AND RODE THE RIDGE ON THE WEAVER MOUNTAIN TOPS- THEY WOULD HAVE ME AS THEIR FIRST BUYER OF A BOOK IF THEY DID ONE ON YARNELL HILL FIRE.

          I heard the State has a closure on the YHF, is that correct? YES.

          And I know it’s a lot of AZ State Trust Land, 320 ACRES SURROUNDING THE DEPLOYMENT AREA AND STILL ACTIVELY RESTRICTED-

          and you need a permit just for that, right? YES. STATE LAND PERMIT-
          http://www.azland.gov/programs/natural/RecreationPermit.pdf

          So, if I was to make a trip to AZ to hike the YHF area, what do I need to do?
          DEPENDS ON WHAT TIME OF YEAR FOR FOOD AND WATER BUT YOU WOULD NEED THOSE COORDINATES IF YOU WANT TO GO DIRECTLY TO THOSE AREAS YET ALSO THE MAPS I SPOKE OF PRINTING ABOVE ON HAND AND YOUR STATE LAND PERMIT AND MAYBE A WALKING STICK FOR SOME AREAS ARE STEEP TERRAIN BUT NOT NEEDED. I THINK AFTERWARDS CALLING MY MEDICAL MASSAGER TO SEE IF SHE IS IN THE PRESCOTT AREA BECAUSE IF YOU HAVE NOT HIKED IT MUCH BEFORE YOU MAY WANT TO REACH DEE SICKLES 928-814-9348. SHE IS BASED IN FLAGSTAFF YET TRAVELS TOO. CONGRESS SIDE HIKE IS STEEPER YET IS ONLY 1.8 MILES TO SEE DEPLOYMENT SIDE AND THOSE COORDINATES ARE SOMEWHERE ON THIS PAGE; SCROLL UP. THAT IS STEEP BUT WE DO IT; A HEAVY HOUSEWIFE AND OLD MINER SO WE THINK ANYONE CAN EVEN YOU CHARLES MOSELELY—WE HAVE ALOT OF FAITH IN ONE PUTTING ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER NO MATTER HOW ILL YET SOME PHARMECUTICALS AND HEALTH CONDITIONS MAY IMPAIR THAT STEEP ROUTE—OTHERWISE YOU CAN GO THE CANDIE CANE LANE WAY YET IT IS HARD TO DESCRIBE YET IT WOULD BE LIKE GOING OUT TO ACRI’S LAND ON THE GIS MAPPING BUT YOU DON’T—YOU TURN OFF GOING TOWARDS MCNARY’S/HELMS YET IN THE DESERT WITH IN/OUT OF THE OLD CLOUDCROFT SUBDIVISION WITH PRIVATE LAND OWNERS AND STATE LAND COMBINED. THE ASSESSOR IS A GREAT PLACE TO LEARN YOUR LAND AND AS WELL HAVE IT SET ON IMAGERY SO YOU CAN SEE WHERE YOU ARE WALKING-

          Happy Sleuthing to you all—Happy Trails!

          • Robert the Second says

            Joy and Sonny,

            Thank you so much for all the very good information on access. The times I went before were ‘official’ so not a big deal. It sounds like it’s gotten to be more of a big deal though. A bit of a hassle, but not impossible. It will probably be in the next few months before it gets hot, otherwise it’s too much like work.

            Thanks again.

  47. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** SPREADSHEET FROM FOIA/FOIL PACKAGE WITH
    ** DESCRIPTIONS OF BLUE RIDGE PHOTOS / VIDEOS

    Marti…

    I don’t know if you have seen this… but there is a SPREADSHEET
    in the online Dropbox for the Blue Ridge Hotshots Photos and Videos that
    was apparently prepared by BR itself and it has its OWN descriptions
    for all of the photos and videos submitted to the SAIT.

    Some of the ‘descriptions’ of the photos/videos seem to have been supplied
    by the exact person(s) who took the pictures. Other descriptions seem
    to more ‘3rd party’ and speaking on someone else’s behalf.

    Either way… I think some of these BR descriptions of their own material
    actually might answer some of the issues you seem to be struggling with.

    Some of the ‘notes’ made by BR Crew are pretty cryptic and hard to
    understand ( what else is new )… but some of the notes are pretty clear.

    That Excel Spreadsheet is here…

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/dpmmrutwwk4a45b/ubaT3WIfl8/_README.xlsx

    …but just in case you ( or anyone else ) don’t have Microsoft Excel software,
    here is the same spreadsheet converted to just plain TEXT…

    Blue Ridge Hotshot Photos / Videos

    _README.XLSX SPREADSHEET

    ** SPREADSHEET STARTS

    ** Yarnell – Mccord

    yarnell ggamble (MOVIE) – siren in background:
    this is siren when you first showed up when they
    went back in to push people out of youth camp

    Yarnell088 – close call with helicopter and airplane helicopter looks like he was right underneath the plane
    Yarnell103 – “crew driving out toward ranch house, this is close to when the wind went ne”
    Yarnell081 – “when br first showed up and stopped at gm crew trucks, before they went up at all. Can see themost active piece when they pan far right. they had just got there; and it shows the little burnout at the saddle, as well it shows the stuff air attack thought was cold where he had them put whatever on it. the main fire to the right of their burnout. and then in the middle, you can see the little finger they were talking about. that’s probably the finger that chased brandon out?”
    Yarnell076 – from the fire station
    Yarnell079 – parking area looking to northwest; granite mtn trucks are right next to them
    Yarnell083 – “from the parking area, looking toward the nw”
    Yarnell084 – “this is from parking area, looking due north”
    Yarnell85 – looking north and northwest
    Yarnell86 – parking area looking nw
    Yarnell91 – on the dozer line
    Yarnell92 – “is off the dozer line, this ? this might be what’s running toward gm’s supt and chase truck. There was another piece toward the west pushing toward brendan’s lookout spot”
    Yarnell93 – “heading out on shrine road, these are when the trucks are bumping around”
    Yarnell94 – “they are on hwy 89, stopped for a second to grab chase truck held up for a moment at junction of 89 this is showing- looking to northeast, and this crew is on the way to ranch house”
    Yarnell95 – same
    Yarnell96 – “this is in the youth camp, right before they left, this is the clearance light on the buggy on the fir right”
    Yarnell98 – “starting to push the taskforce ot, at the youth camp, gettitng dark, a street light came on shortly after”
    Yarnell99 – same stuff
    Yarnell101 – “looking north, showing whole group of trucks driving through town heading south”
    Yarnell105 – “at the ranchouse restaurant looking nroth, within minutes of them deploying. The were there at ranchouse rest not very long before they deployed, and looking north. Hwy 89 is at nose of the buggy”
    Yarnell106 – this is looking sw from the ranch house probably around the time they deployed

    ** Yarnell – Papich

    Yarnell-Papich001 – “this is early, maybe driving in on manzanita befoe they hit lakewood, looking off to the northwest”
    Yarnell-Papich2 – “****IN THE BACKGROUND IT SHOWS THE SADDLE ON THE L HAND SIDE WHERE THEY ANCHORED looking off to the west; this is probably from the fire station, looking northwest from the firestation. I don?t think that’s the fire department because from the fd, you were looking due west at it. so we dont know where it is. ”
    Yarnell-Papich3 – “this is the 2track driving in, early, before they park”
    Yarnell-Papich4 – “parking area, looking north, northwest”
    Yarnell-Papich5 – “***This is a good photo showing when this area was starting to heat up.** Parking area, just before the whole tanker thing. .”
    Yarnell-Papich6 – “parking area, looknig northwest”
    Yarnell-Papich7 – “youthcamp, leaving or just getting ready to leave,probably looking west, northwest”
    Yarnell-Papich8 – “youthcamp, moving, they’re leaving, looking out window, looking west”
    Yarnell-Papich9 – “on shrine road, pretty close to 89 in this photo, looking nw”
    Yarnell-Papich10 – ??

    ** Yarnell – Desoto

    Yarenell-Desoto003 “this is the tanker drop where they started the indirect, anchoring in off of the 2 track granite was going to tie into”
    Yarenell-Desoto1
    Yarenell-Desoto2 at buggy parking spot
    ? then a bunh of drops as viewed from parking spot

    ** Yarnell – Wardumups

    IMG3953 – “same as desoto 003
    IMG3942 – “coming of pavement, the end of lakewood or manzanita”
    IMG9343 – driving in
    IMG3944 – “just leaving 89, about to make the turn onto lakewood or manzanita, the other one above is probably due north of this”
    IMG3945 – “***SO THIS SHOWS THE SADDLE EARLY IN THE DAY*** turning off from 89 into glen isla, which has something to do with lakewood or manzanita”
    IMG3946 –
    IMG3947 – AT PARKINGarea looking north
    IMG3948 – “at parking area, looking nw”
    IMG3949 – “parking area, looking north”
    IMG3950 – “Parking area, looking north, and this the buildup this is when it’s starting to move off to the northeast wth the strong south, southwest wind. (this is the green flagging fluttering in vid of vlat)”
    IMG3951 – same as above
    IMG3952 – “same, a little later; travis is talking to cordes and zulu is with him; trying to help zulu with radio”
    IMG3954 – “youthcamp,from inside the buggy driving out; shows some of the task force driving out; shows the ranger going back in to help get engines moving out”
    IMG3955 – “same as above, shows them talking to a guy ”
    IMG3956 – “same, this is part of task force there, taken from the buggy, driving out, thse are the last two trucks to leave, but true and frisby hadn’t tied in with those individuals et when photo taken”
    IMG3957 – “driving out, getting close to the ranchouse restaurant; coming around the bend by fountainhill lane; from the ranch, looking toward the saddle. Circled in the whispy smoke, this looks like the rocky ridge where they bailed off. ***note timestamp on photo”
    IMG3958 – “same as above, just a little bit later”

    ** Yarnell – BALL

    1873 – Driving to icp or yarnell
    1874 – driving to yarnell
    1875 – “driving into parking area, stopped”
    1876 – same
    1877 – same
    1877 – “nearly at the parking area, you mght be able to see it through the veg ahead”
    1878 – same
    1879 –
    1880 – tied in with dozer
    1881 – “this is the black, this was that push to the east ; marked on map”
    1882 – around the dozer line
    1883 – “around dozer line, showing crew”
    1884 – coming out of staging areak lookig north
    1886 – “fire station, looking north”
    1887 –
    1904 – on 89
    1890 – when tanker droppen in town and he called the closest photo he haas to the deployment
    *** probably between 1888 & 89 is when deployment happened

    ** SPREADSHEET ENDS

    • Marti Reed says

      Yes. I have looked thru that file.

      And thanks for all your follow-up. I was hoping for feedback two days ago. Before I went on to piece my scenario together, which is obviously incorrect on many counts. This is really hard to do with only one set of eyes looking at it.

      I’d never “gone in” to try to find the gate. I only just discovered how to use Street View on Friday. While looking for what I thought was that little house that Papich photographed. And I found it! It took me hours!!
      LOL!!!!!!!!

      I think you’re right about the white truck. I was just working off the timeline that got developed about the “dust off” with the GM Buggies and the crew being in the GM Sup truck and Ball being among them.

      I’m finding I’m having to re-plot the Trew GPS locations. For some reason, when I first copy/pasted your locations, they didn’t plot accurately. Google Earth can be wickedly incorrect in where it places pins, I’m learning. So scratch all that I ever wrote above about Trew not landing at the GM buggies and also going quite a ways south on Sesame after doing so.

      So my next question is:

      How does Ball get from about the middle of the crossover near the dozer (photo 1883-3:30:02 pm) to the gate (photo 1884-3:50:35) in twenty minutes. He walks it. 1.5-ish mph. If he continues walking towards 89 at 1.5-ish mph that puts him at the Ranch House Cafe at 4:20:35. And Gary Cordes is there, I’m betting.

      If that white pickup pullng into the YFD is Gary Cordes’s low slung fully enclosed white pickup that is shown in Papich’s image 3952 (12:20:49) of, according to the Blue Ridge spreadsheet, “travis is talking to cordes and zulu is with him; trying to help zulu with radio,” that could make sense.

      Ball hikes all the way down to the Ranch House Cafe because he needs a friggin quad MAP to direct Justin somehow. He’s on the radio w/Cordes, most likely. He ties in w/Cordes and they drive to the YFD for the map. While there, they hear the Last Minutes convo. They race out to Glen Illah, while listening to the radio, can’t get in cuz of the flames, and head back to the Ranch House to connect with everybody else.

      How’s that scenario sound?

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Just saw this in the ADOSH report.

            Apparently, the dozer was ordered
            ( by OPS2 Paul Musser, according
            to BR YIN notes ) to move up north to
            the Incident Command Post (ICP) at
            the Model Creek School in Peeples Valley
            as early as 1500 ( 3:00 PM ) that afternoon.

            Ball and Blue Ridge weren’t near
            finished with what they were trying to
            do by then and I imagine that would have
            really put a wrench in the works for them.

            From page 18 of the ADOSH report…

            At approximately 1500, the dozer was
            ordered to the north side of the fire where
            the ICP was being threatened by fire.

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                That sounds more like the
                right timeline. 1500 ( as
                reported by ADOSH ) sounds
                a little early for Musser to
                have requested the dozer.

                I still think this whole dozer
                thing is very, very important.

                If for no other reason… the
                BR YIN notes now attribute
                the request for the dozer
                to move NORTH came
                direct from ‘Planning OPS’
                Paul Musser, and not
                ‘Field OPS’ Todd Abel…

                …and according to the
                same BR YIN notes… that
                request for that resource
                to move NORTH came
                AFTER the wind shift and
                right around the same
                time ‘Planning OPS’ Musser
                was ALSO asking Marsh
                if he could ‘spare resources
                for Yarnell’ ( on the SOUTH
                side of the fire ).

                Did ‘Field OPS’ Abel really
                know that ‘Planning OPS’
                Musser was on the radio
                trying to move resources
                all over the place, or not?

                • calvin says

                  Dispatch records P14….06/30/2013 15:13:39 E46 FILLED WITH TRACTOR TRANSPORTATION WITH LIC# 1TA-423
                  FOR DOZER TRANSPORT AND EMAILED RESOURCE ORDER

                  It seems that the dozer transport was ordered at 1513.
                  Also noted is no order to move dozer back to south side of fire to push road in for body retrieval. (that I can find)

        • sonny and joy here says

          Joy has photos of when the media was here of the trucks of Willis and others that was at the media time as Joy took them from mountain top on my request so if you are stuck on a photo then next time Joy is in town she can try and get to the library to add that photo so you can match it to any pending Yarnell Hill Fire weekend vehicles that you have questions about. It may help someone questioning certain vehicles orlicense plates.

  48. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to Marti Reed post on February 2, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    >> Marti wrote…
    >> I’m gonna repost what I wrote earlier today, because I think it’s
    >> really important and I would REALLY like some feedback on it.
    >> Especially now that I spent the afternoon reading both of the totally
    >> bungled Yarnell Interview Notes and the Inspection Narrative (and
    >> especially since I retired from this outfit yesterday):

    Marti… I don’t think I’m still even near ‘up to speed’ with you on the
    tracing of all Ball’s movements… but I’ll do the best I can to provide
    some possible feedback here.

    All I can do, I think, is just take your ‘breakdown’ below point by point
    and see if I see anything wrong based on what I know or have had
    a chance to absorb myself.

    So here goes…

    >> Marti Reed on February 2, 2014 at 11:00 am said:
    >> You have some confusion in your comments about the second
    >> half of the scenario.

    I’m sure I do. Those comments were just one possible scenario
    for explaining the single line “Trew goes in GM chase truck” that
    I only saw yesterday in the YIN interview notes while looking
    for something else. Is that line in the notes even true? Dunno.

    >> I’ll leave out the Papich photos part, because that’s
    >> confusing you, I think.

    Probably so. I know most of the Papich photos you are
    referring to but I certainly haven’t spent the time with all of
    his photos like you have.

    >> Here’s Ball’s timeline via his iphone photos:
    >> 3:50:35 Shoots a gate in the Sesame area on the west end of the
    >> cutover. IMG_1886. (At least someone somewhere wrote that
    >> that is what that gate is.)

    IMG_1886 in the Ball Folder is not a picture of a gate.
    IMG_1884 is the one with the white fence and ‘gate’ in it.
    IMG_1884 was also not shot at the ‘west end of the cutover’.
    It was shot at the very south end of the ‘Sesame Area’, about
    80 yards west of where the paved parts of both Lakewood
    and Manzanita end. As I said in my previous post about this
    image when Joy Collura asked where it was taken… if you were
    the camera operator and you walked THROUGH that white gate
    in the right side of the photo and walked about 60 or 70
    yards EAST you would be standing on the final paved part
    of both Lakewood and Manzanita where they ‘end together’.
    The camera operator (Ball?) was standing exactly here ( facing
    almost due north ) when IMG_1884 was taken at 3:50:35…
    34.221714, -112.763162

    As for IMG_1886… that is, in fact, a picture of someone
    approaching the Yarnell Hill Fire Station right there in the
    left of the photo from a SOUTHERLY direction, on Looka Way.
    The camera is facing north-northeast on Looka Way.
    Exact location of camera when photo was taken at 4:28:16 PM…
    34.221873, -112.745782
    1246 Looka Way, Yarnell, Arizona
    Driver was approaching the Yarnell Hill Fire station from the SOUTH
    which means they must have headed towards it from the Glen Ilah,
    Ranch House Restaurant area. Whoever took the photo (Ball?)
    was sitting in the PASSENGER seat of the vehicle and the
    vehicle itself appears to have just been a small white pickup
    truck since the hood is seen in the photo. It was not either one
    of the aquamarine BR Supervisor trucks. It also does not appear
    to have been the GM Supervisor Truck or the hood would be larger.
    IMG_0886
    Camera: Apple iPhone 4S
    Lens: 4.3 mm
    Exposure: Auto exposure, Program AE, 1/20 sec, f/2.4, ISO 50
    Flash: Off, Did not fire
    Date: June 30, 2013 – 4:28:16 PM

    >> Marti also wrote…
    >>
    >> 4:28:16 Shoots the Yarnell Fire Station while riding shotgun in a white
    >> pickup as they approach it from the southwest. IMG_1886.

    YES. Definitely. See above. Doesn’t appear to have been GM Supt. truck
    or the hood would be larger in the photo.

    >> 4:28:33 Shoots the smoke as they are headed into a parking space at
    >> Yarnell Fire Station. IMG_1887.

    YES. Definitely. The photo was taken as the vehicle it was moving in was just
    coming around the southwest corner of the Yarnell Fire Station and was exactly
    here when the photo was taken just 17 seconds after IMG_1886…
    34.222316, -112.746160

    >> 4:43:16. Heading north on Lakewood Drive. I haven’t identified exactly where
    >> this photo is. IMG_1888.

    Not quite. Heading NORTH on Manzanita Drive, not Lakewood.

    Driver is just past address 22761, Manzanita Drive, in Glen Ilah and heading
    WEST on Manzanita Drive, and had just passed the spot where Lakewood drive
    intersects with Manzanita. Google Street View even still shows the same little
    black trailer sitting in the corner of the lot shown in the right of the photo just
    behind the chain link fence. Exact location of vehicle was…
    34.218787, -112.760251

    Filename: IMG_1888.JPG
    Camera: Apple iPhone 4S
    Lens: 4.3 mm
    Exposure: Auto exposure, Program AE, 1/15 sec, f/2.4, ISO 400
    Flash: Off, Did not fire
    Date: June 30, 2013 – 4:43:16 PM

    Also… do we know, fer sure, if Ball actually did get a QUAD 15 minutes
    earlier on that trip to the Yarnell Fire Station?

    If he did… then all the photos that follow might have been taken from the
    QUAD and that’s why there is no further ‘framing’ of the truck or any evidence
    of any further photos of his being taken ‘out the window’ of a standard vehicle.

    >> 4:43 is when Trew, along with the convoy, are arriving at the Ranch
    >> House Cafe.

    YES. Definitely.

    >> 4:47:02. Ball shoots the Manzanita sign at the intersection of Manzanita and
    >> Lakewood, and then proceeds north on Manzanita. IMG_1890.

    YES. Definitely.
    IMG_1890 was taken exactly here… looking at the street sign…
    34.218622, -112.760221

    >> In neither this nor the rest of the following photos, is there any “framing”
    >> of the truck in the photos.

    Correct.. but see above.

    If Ball really did ‘obtain a QUAD’ from the Yarnell Fire Station then he was
    probably on his own at this point. No one was ‘driving him around’ at all
    from this point on and that’s also why there is no “framing” of a vehicle
    windshield or window in any of the photos that follow.

    >> But after looking thru these some more and mapping some of the first part
    >> of the series, headed north on Manazanita, I can say now that I would almost
    >> bet money he’s on the passenger side.

    I agree… but if ( and only if ) he did NOT actually ‘obtain a QUAD’ during that
    quick trip over to the Yarnell Fire Station. If he did get a QUAD at that time…
    then he was probably ‘on his own’ at this point. No one was ‘driving him
    around’ at all. He was driving himself around.

    >> Ball continues to take a series of photos driving around this area in the smoke
    >> and fire. His last photo in this area is taken at 5:50:53.

    Yes.

    >> I think it’s pretty seriously improbable these photos taken in the Glen Illah area
    >> are from the GM Sup truck, which is shown in many photos from this time
    >> period in the Ranch House Cafe parking lot. [later correction, the GM Sup
    >> truck is shown in only one media photo, and I don’t know atm about the video.

    I agree… but once again… if ( and only if ) he did NOT actually obtain a QUAD
    from the Yarnell Fire Station.

    NOTE: The GM Supervisor Truck is also shown clearly just sitting there at the
    Ranch House Restaurant in this timeframe in the ‘Russ Reason Inteview’ video
    which was shot from out on Highway 89 looking BACK at ALL the vehicles that
    were there at the cafe’ in the deployment timeframe.

    In the Russ Reason video… the GM Superintendent truck is also shown with its
    engine running and the lights on and someone is sitting in the driver’s seat just
    listening to the radio. It is not possible to determine from the video itself if that
    really was Brendan McDonough sitting in it at that time and listening to the
    radio… but someone was.

    Another reason I wish the Blue Ridge guys were ‘free to talk about this’.
    That’s still one simply question they could answer. They are ‘featured’ in that
    Russ Reason video and all of them knew exactly what was going on
    there in that parking lot at that time.

    >> Marti also wrote…
    >> Namaste!
    >> Remember I’m on my second day of retirement.
    >> I’m just practicing Google Earth, which is something I have to learn anyway.”

    Google Earth is an amazing piece of kit.

    **
    ** PART 2 OF MARTI’S COMMENT…
    **

    >> Marti also wrote…
    >>
    >> And then I discovered something so I wrote:
    >>
    >> On February 2, 2014 at 1:03 pm, Marti also wrote…
    >> I just found a MAJOR THING in the above timeline.
    >>
    >> The images from 1888 thru 1891 are taken from 4:43:16 thru 4:48:54.
    >> The next photo taken, 1892, is at 5:48:03, nearly an hour later. And it’s taken
    >> at just about at the same spot as 1891. In 1891, there are live flames close by.
    >> In 1892, just smoke. So it’s after that area was engulfed in the previous flames.

    Yes. I agree.

    >> At first I was wondering if Ball may have been on foot. He definitely wasn’t in
    >> the 14:43-ish photos. And I don’t think he is either in the following photos.

    Me neither.

    >> So, most likely, in the earlier sequence, he was riding shotgun with whomever
    >> he was riding shotgun with in a white pickup when they pulled into the YFD
    >> parking lot,

    Agree. Very likely ‘same driver’ both times… but once again… if ( and only if )
    he never did actually obtain a QUAD at all on that trip to the Yarnell Fire Station.

    >> and then they drove out to Glen Illah, and then, at precisely the time Trew and
    >> convoy headed into the Ranch House Cafe, they drove back there too.

    Probably so.

    >> Then Ball, approx one hour later, went back out there with someone
    >> else, I think, but not neccesarily, and drove around the larger area,
    >> taking photos.

    If he still had the QUAD that he MIGHT have obtained way back during that
    earlier trip to the Yarnell Fire Station… then he was still probably on his own.

    If he didn’t still have that QUAD… then yes… he might have been with the
    same person who took him over to the Yarnell Fire Station in the first place.

    >> This might also help explain Papich’s photo. (the iphone stamp is totally off).
    >> Papich might have been with Ball (maybe even driving the BR Buggy,
    >> maybe not). Papich would be the ONLY one with his camera who would
    >> know where to take that photo from and how to get there. He/They would
    >> have had to walk in from the road to that spot.”

    Ok… I admit… you just lost me there.

    WHICH Papich photo are you talking about here and what do you mean
    that he would be “the ONLY one with his camera who would know where to
    take that photo and how to get there”.

    By ‘his camera’… are you suggesting that Papich borrowed Ball’s camera for
    the ‘later’ shot? It wasn’t really the same location at all so if what you are saying
    is true… Papich didn’t even do that good of a job returning to ‘the same location’.

    Or am I just totally lost again here the moment you throw Papich into the mix?

    >> After reading what I read this afternoon, in the Yarnell Interview Notes,
    >> the reason Ball needed to stop at the YFD was to “get a quad from FD,
    >> and was trying to get on the dozer line to tie in w/ Justin to check it people
    >> evacuating trying to get out.” (page 4 of the BR interview.) He was still
    >> worried about Justin and the dozer.

    I think there was a lot of concern at that exact time whether the Esquibel
    crew had fully evacuated from that ‘saw line’ work they were doing over
    near the Shrine as well.

    But see above…

    Is there any proof he (Ball) actually did ever ‘get a QUAD from the
    Yarnell Fire Station’?

    That would bring up the ongoing question that has been the ‘elephant
    in the room’ at all times for this incident and that is… Where the heck
    was the Yarnell Fire Chief himself in all this chaos for 3 days?

    There are reports that he just ‘left town’ on Friday.
    Never been fully verified.

    So who was ‘minding the store’ at the Yarnell Fire Station for Ball to
    even ask permission from to borrow a UTV? I’d love to know the
    answer to that one.

    This would, of course, be the same guy who was going to resign a few
    weeks later when it was discovered he had murdered a small child
    some years before and buried her in the desert… but that doesn’t
    mean he wasn’t still around that weekend somewhere and at least
    TRYING to help put out a fire in his own town…

    …but he is NOWHERE to be found in ANY documentation on this incident
    following the Friday night timeframe.

    >> I’m really leaning in the direction that Ball was with Brendan, and that
    >> Brendan had told him about the “Options Discussion.” And of course
    >> he was, with Brendan, hearing whatever might have been coming over
    >> the crew frequency, if anything.

    I am going to disagree with this.

    I still believe Brendan left the Sesame area ALONE in the GM Supervisor Truck
    and was still alone when he took his three 4:02 PM still photos on Highway 89
    just north of the Ranch House Restaurant.

    We still don’t know where he was going at that point, or where he ended up, but
    my best guess so far is that Brendan was simply taking the ‘long way around’
    on the paved roads and did eventually end up out at the Shrine Road Youth
    Camp where all the other BR vehicles were parked in the 4:00 to 4:20
    timeframe…

    …and he was ALONE, just listening to the various ‘discussing their options’
    conversations the whole time he was making this particular trip.

    The ‘discussing their options’ conversations were all over by 4:05 and even if
    Brendan had been headed out to the Youth Camp I don’t think he had even
    made it out there by then. More like 4:10 when he arrived at the Camp…
    if that’s where he was really headed at 4:02.

    If Brendan wasn’t headed to the Youth Camp at 4:02 PM and heading north
    ( alone ) in the GM Supervisor Truck… then I have NO IDEA where else he
    might have been headed or when he finally got back to the cafe’ circa 4:30.

    >> Marti also wrote…
    >> Brendan was in VERY good hands.
    >> While Ball was in the YFD getting that quad, Brendan was hearing the
    >> “Last Minutes” radio convo. That’s the exact timing.

    Good point. We know for SURE that Brendan heard the “We are deploying”
    message in REAL TIME that day… but as you just pointed out… we still
    don’t know exactly WHERE Brendan was when he heard that.

    However… I don’t think that was either the GM Supervisor Truck that was
    bringing Ball to the Yarnell Fire Station in the first place… OR that Brendan
    was the one driving him there. The hood of the vehicle in those two photos
    taken as Ball was arriving at the Yarnell Fire Station just don’t look like
    the hood of the GM Supervisor truck.

    >> So, they naturally took off in the direction of Glen Illah, listening to the radio,
    >> which was still carrying the last part of the “Last Minutes” convo. I think they
    >> were trying to find a way to “break through.”

    You lost me there.
    Who are ‘they’? Brendan and Ball?

    See above. I don’t think Brendan was even the one taking Ball to the
    YFD station in the first place… but even if he was… if Ball had obtained
    the QUAD you say he went there to get… then Brendan ( or whoever
    drove Ball there ) would have left there alone and Ball would have
    left there alone with the QUAD.

    As far as ‘they were finding a way to break through’… I think it’s a
    pretty safe bet to say that there is no proof whatsoever that Brendan
    McDonough was personally involved in ANY of these attempts to
    ‘break through’ or the eventual (documented) ATV convoy that did
    ‘break through’ over through the Shrine Area and end up out there
    searching for GM.

    Brendan is only documented as having helped Frisby with the
    ‘crew manifest’ issues back in the parking lot of the Ranch House
    Restaurant during all these attempts by others to ‘break through’
    and find a way out west to ‘search for GM’.

    >> Marti also wrote…
    >> But that’s when the fire was actively burning through that part of Glen Illah.
    >> So they were also hearing that the Convoy was reaching the Ranch House
    >> Cafe, and “At manzanita and lockwood fire was already in the subdivision.”
    >> So they turned around and headed back to the Ranch House.

    I agree that there might have been a ‘they’ at this point ( either on a UTV
    that they did get from the YFD station or in another vehicle of some kind )…

    …but I disagree that there’s any possibility that Brendan McDonough
    could have been part of this ‘they’.

    See above. His first duty after hearing of the burnover was to help
    Frisby with the Crew Manifest back in the cafe’ parking lot.

    >> Marti also wrote…
    >> About an hour later, Ball managed to commandeer another vehicle,
    >> possibly with Papich, and head back to Glen Illah. He didn’t do it to
    >> take pictures, altho they did take pictures. He was still trying to find
    >> a way to “punch through.” That’s really evident in his photos.

    Probably so, yes. It was quite a while before Ranger 58 actually located
    those shelters and NO ONE really knew where they even were, or if
    some of them were still just lying there wounded and in need of
    immediate medical attention.

    It must have been a very harrowing hour or so for everyone involved.

    >> Marti also wrote…
    >> That’s why I’m really curious about the UTV stuff. I haven’t had time to
    >> download it yet in such a way as to look at it frame by frame.

    What do you mean by ‘it’? The BR tracking video?
    If so then yes… it’s a pretty big download… but if you are really
    interested in controlling the point-by-point… then frame-by-frame
    is the way to go. There are 15 frames per GPS update and once
    you have the video it’s easy to just click 15 times and then watch
    the next update appear.

    >> Was the UTV also trying to punch through in Gllen Illah?

    I, myself, would not characterize it that way.
    It looks like they were ‘searching’ for a way to get west but they
    just couldn’t figure out where the driveway to the ranch was,
    or something, so they gave up.

    Keep in mind… I’m absolutely sure that as the minutes ticked off
    after after the deployment… people very quickly put ‘two-and-two’
    together and figured out that Marsh/Steed/Crew MIGHT have been
    headed for that Boulder Springs Ranch.

    Cordes was there at the cafe’ and he’s the one who supposedly
    told all of them about in the first place that morning so I imagine
    Cordes very quickly threw that into the mix as the possibility
    shortly after the news about the deployment.

    So I could easily believe that these ‘search trips’ seen in the
    GPS tracking in/around Glen Ilah were done by people who already
    knew they were trying to find the way out to something called
    the ‘Boulder Springs Ranch’… but they just couldn’t figure it out
    ( or it was not safe to even try to get out there the normal way )
    and so they ‘gave up’ and went for the Shrine area ‘break through’
    instead.

    Also remember how ‘hot’ that whole area was for quite some time
    after deployment. Even the Ranger 58 medic Eric Tarr, who was
    eventually ‘put down’ about 100 yards north of the ranch… said
    in his report that it really was still ‘too hot’ and he says he had
    to use his ‘breathing gear’ for the hike to the deployment site.

    >> Marti also wrote…
    >> Did it ( the UTV ) eventually go up Sesame Street?

    Yes. Eventually. That’s the way the ‘convoy’ of THREE UTV’s
    eventually got all the way out west to where Ranger 58 was
    ‘hovering’ over the yellow bladder bags so they could find
    them… because Ranger 58 chopper was unable to communicate
    with that convoy of THREE UTV’s that it could see down there
    on the ground coming out to search for GM.

    >> Was it at the same time as Ball was out there?

    I don’t know.

    >> I think it’s significant that, if my timeline is accurate, at least one BR
    >> crewmember knew exactly where GM had gone and why.

    See above. I’m sure it became clear to a lot of people on the ground
    and at the cafe’ that the ‘Boulder Springs Ranch’ MIGHT have been
    where there were really going… whether they heard it over a radio
    beforehand or not. As I said… Cordes was right there at the cafe’
    and he’s the one who supposedly TOLD Marsh/Steed/Crew all
    about the ‘Boulder Springs Ranch’ in the first place.

    The only real mystery is WHY it actually took so long for Ranger 58
    to ‘figure out’ that’s where they might have been headed.

    I think the people on the ground knew long before Eric Tarr just sort
    of ‘guessed it’ up in the air in Ranger 58 more than an hour AFTER
    they started searching.

    Why didn’t someone on the ground make SURE Ranger 58 knew
    where to be looking the minute THEY all figured out that they were
    probably headed to that ‘Boulder Springs Ranch’? Dunno.

    >> Marti also wrote…
    >> If someone can punch a hole through this timeline, that’s quite
    >> fine with me.

    Well… I don’t think I have actually ‘punched any holes’ in your
    timeline at all… but maybe just a rethink about who may have
    been with who, and when?

    >> Marti also wrote…
    >> But it’s the only thing, so far, that connects the dots in the interviews
    >> with the dots on the ground and the dots in the visual evidence.
    >>
    >> Feedback?

    That’s the best I can for you for now, Marti.

    You STILL know more about the totality of all these Blue Ridge
    folders and photos than I have had time to figure out.

    I hope some/all of the ‘feedback’ above helps you in some way.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Followup: Marti… see the post directly below. It’s that spreadsheet
      from the FOIA/FOIL package that contains all the descriptions
      of the Blue Ridge photos and videos that they, themselves,
      apparently supplied to the SAIT.

      I don’t know if you have seen this…but it seems it might actually
      answer some of the questions you have about some of these
      Blue Ridge photos… especially Papich’s and Ball’s.

      • sonny says

        wow, WWTKTT

        that was a lot to read.

        the part about Joy

        she wanted times not locations

        she knew the area but the timing of photos did not match up to some she saw from homeowners to what those photos showed so all she wanted to know was if anyone could get time information and when you shared she can using a link she stopped asking people. Yet there is definitely a lot lacking in documenting that fire to properly assess it.

        That we both believe strongly about.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to Marti Reed post on February 3, 2014 at 7:27 am

        >> Marti said…
        >> A USFS Quad is not a UTV. It’s a map.

        Ah… okay… major disconnect, then.

        QUAD is ALSO a standard reference to a 4-wheel ATV.

        Here’s where you first referenced that quote about
        ‘Ball needing a quad’ from the YIN notes…

        >> Marti wrote…
        >> After reading what I read this afternoon, in the Yarnell
        >> Interview Notes, the reason Ball needed to stop at the
        >> YFD was to “get a quad from FD, and was trying to get
        >> on the dozer line to tie in w/ Justin to check it people
        >> evacuating trying to get out.”
        >> (Page 4 of the BR interview.)

        I really did just assume that meant Ball was trying
        to borrow another 4-wheel QUAD ( ATV/UTV ) from
        the Yarnell Fire Department.

        Are we SURE that isn’t what the YIN notes actually meant?

        WFF people use that ‘quad’ reference to UTVs / ATVs
        all the time.

        Is there any other evidence that it really was a MAP
        he was after rather than another actual UTV/ATV?
        .
        By the way… here are some other quotes in the
        SAIT documentation specifically referring to
        UTVs / ATVs as ‘quads’…

        From the Ranger 58 reports…

        * Ranger 58 – Officer/Paramedic Eric Tarr.

        While searching we ( Ranger 58 ) observed several
        QUADS driving in the black also looking for the
        Firefighters. We were requested by Air Attack to hover
        over the packs so the Firefighters on the QUADS could
        locate them.

        * Ranger 58 – Pilot Clifford Brunsting.

        After about 45 minutes we saw three QUADS traveling
        up the trail to the ridgeline but we had no radio contact
        with them on air to ground frequency. The QUADS had
        reached the top of the trail and then turned around and
        started down when we were requested by Operations to hover over the packs so the QUADS could locate them.
        The QUADS turned around and headed back south up
        the trail until they reached a point where the trail was
        impassable.

  49. Eric says

    RTS said,
    ” I could never understand WHY they did NOT have a 4 x 4 Engine up there to just be done with it. Bottom line, there were some sort of leadership and quality issues. My opinion.”

    I am with you, one or two type six engines should have been able put it to bed if they got up there by 6 or 7am Saturday morning. Why ferry all the people and equipment when the right equipment could just drive up there? Not only did the IA attempt fail, it cost more money and was higher risk than using engines on the hill. What the F*@&???

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Chief Andersen was the Yarnell Fire Chief for 12 years. He had
      retired just 2 years before but still lived there on Lakewood drive.
      He DID go over and talk to Shumate and told him all about the
      BLM helicopter and Bambi bucket that was close by and all
      the local ranch owners that had already given permission for
      any chopper to dip water at any time.

      Nothing happened.

      A few good bucket drops early on Saturday and it would have
      been over with. It didn’t happen ANY time on Saturday,
      according to Chief Andersen and according to documentation.

      I still think a good look needs to be taken at Saturday alone.

      It is still POSSIBLE that there were TWO Yarnell fires.

      The one that burned itself out on Saturday…

      …and then then new one started by the crew that was
      working out there on Saturday afternoon using either
      unauthorized or badly executed ‘burnouts’ down to
      that jeep trail..

      • Eric says

        I agree, Saturday itself should have a facilitated learning analysis or staff ride. There are some serious lessons to be learned from that day alone!

  50. Marti Reed says

    I just made another connection while driving to and from my local 7-11.

    Ball drove one of the BR Buggies in in the morning. Papich rode the UTV shotgun in in the morning. The reason Papich drives a BR Buggy out from the Youth Camp is because Ball is not there to do it, because he’s with Brendan in the GM sup truck. There’s a bit of teamwork going on here. Ball’s a squad leader, maybe Papich’s squad leader.

    I was wondering if, indeed, when Ball is shooting his later sequence at Glen Illah, it would make sense that Papich would be with him so he could take the two photos he took. I was wondering, could Papich be driving that Blue Ridge Buggy he was driving earlier (because Ball’s photos look like they’re taken from the passenger side of something more resembling the windshield of a buggy than a pickup)?

    And now I’m realizing, of course he could. Ball really wanted to go back out to Glen Illah to try to find a way to punch through and take some pictures. Papich wanted to go out and shoot what the smoke looked like from the same spot he shot it that morning, to show the dramatic difference. Easy peasy. And off they went. Ball had enough authority to make it happen.

    My New Standard Disclaimer: This is my guess and assumption only…nothing about this post should be construed as truth about the incident.

    • Marti Reed says

      It also tells me that that little green house, since it had been really cleaned up and re-roofed since it was put on Google Earth in January of 2012 looking like it was about to fall down, and the intense brush surrounding it south of it has been cut down way to the south of it, survived that fire just fine.

  51. Marti Reed says

    PS For anybody who still may think Ball might have been driving/in the BR Utility truck towing the trailer, the BR Utility truck is green, not white.

  52. Marti Reed says

    I’m gonna repost what I wrote earlier today, because I think it’s really important and I would REALLY like some feedback on it. Especially now that I spent the afternoon reading both of the totally bungled Yarnell Interview Notes and the Inspection Narrative (and especially since I retired from this outfit yesterday):

    “Marti Reed
    on February 2, 2014 at 11:00 am said:
    You have some confusion in your comments about the second half of the scenario. I’ll leave out the Papich photos part, because that’s confusing you, I think.

    Here’s Ball’s timeline via his iphone photos:

    3:50:35 Shoots a gate in the Sesame area on the west end of the cutover. IMG_1886. (At least someone somewhere wrote that that is what that gate is.)

    4:28:16 Shoots the Yarnell Fire Station while riding shotgun in a white pickup as they approach it from the southwest. IMG_1886.

    4:28:33 Shoots the smoke as they are headed into a parking space at Yarnell Fire Station. IMG_1887.

    4:43:16. Heading north on Lakewood Drive. I haven’t identified exactly where this photo is. IMG_1888.

    Lakewood Drive heads north from 89 right across from the Ranch House Restaurant.

    4:43 is when Trew, along with the convoy, are arriving at the Ranch House Cafe.

    4:47:02. Ball shoots the Manzanita sign at the intersection of Manzanita and Lakewood, and then proceeds north on Manzanita. IMG_1890.

    In neither this nor the rest of the following photos, is there any “framing” of the truck in the photos.

    But after looking thru these some more and mapping some of the first part of the series, headed north on Manazanita, I can say now that I would almost bet money he’s on the passenger side.

    Ball continues to take a series of photos driving around this area in the smoke and fire. His last photo in this area is taken at 5:50:53.

    I think it’s pretty seriously improbable these photos taken in the Glen Illah area are from the GM Sup truck, which is shown in many photos from this time period in the Ranch House Cafe parking lot. [later correction, the GM Sup truck is shown in only one media photo, and I don’t know atm about the video]

    Namaste!
    Remember I’m on my second day of retirement.
    I’m just practicing Google Earth, which is something I have to learn anyway.”

    And then I discovered something so I wrote:

    “Marti Reed
    on February 2, 2014 at 1:03 pm said:

    I just found a MAJOR THING in the above timeline.

    The images from 1888 thru 1891 are taken from 4:43:16 thru 4:48:54.

    The next photo taken, 1892, is at 5:48:03, nearly an hour later. And it’s taken at just about at the same spot as 1891. In 1891, there are live flames close by. In 1892, just smoke. So it’s after that area was engulfed in the previous flames.

    At first I was wondering if Ball may have been on foot. He definitely wasn’t in the 14:43-ish photos. And I don’t think he is either in the following photos.

    So, most likely, in the earlier sequence, he was riding shotgun with whomever he was riding shotgun with in a white pickup when they pulled into the YFD parking lot, and then they drove out to Glen Illah, and then, at precisely the time Trew and convoy headed into the Ranch House Cafe, they drove back there too.

    Then Ball, approx one hour later, went back out there with someone else, I think, but not neccesarily, and drove around the larger area, taking photos.

    This might also help explain Papich’s photo. (the iphone stamp is totally off). Papich might have been with Ball (maybe even driving the BR Buggy, maybe not). Papich would be the ONLY one with his camera who would know where to take that photo from and how to get there. He/They would have had to walk in from the road to that spot.”

    After reading what I read this afternoon, in the Yarnell Interview Notes, the reason Ball needed to stop at the YFD was to “get a quad from FD, and was trying to get on the dozer line to tie in w/ Justin to check it people evacuating trying to get out.” (page 4 of the BR interview.) He was still worried about Justin and the dozer.

    I’m really leaning in the direction that Ball was with Brendan, and that Brendan had told him about the “Options Discussion.” And of course he was, with Brendan, hearing whatever might have been coming over the crew frequency, if anything.

    Brendan was in VERY good hands.

    While Ball was in the YFD getting that quad, Brendan was hearing the “Last Minutes” radio convo. That’s the exact timing.

    So, they naturally took off in the direction of Glen Illah, listening to the radio, which was still carrying the last part of the “Last Minutes” convo. I think they were trying to find a way to “break through.”

    But that’s when the fire was actively burning through that part of Glen Illah. So they were also hearing that the Convoy was reaching the Ranch House Cafe, and “At manzanita and lockwood fire was already in the subdivision.” So they turned around and headed back to the Ranch House.

    About an hour later, Ball managed to commandeer another vehicle, possibly with Papich, and head back to Glen Illah. He didn’t do it to take pictures, altho they did take pictures. He was still trying to find a way to “punch through.” That’s really evident in his photos.

    That’s why I’m really curious about the UTV stuff. I haven’t had time to download it yet in such a way as to look at it frame by frame. Was the UTV also trying to punch through in Gllen Illah? Did it eventually go up Sesame Street? Was it at the same time as Ball was out there?

    I think it’s significant that, if my timeline is accurate, at least one BR crewmember knew exactly where GM had gone and why.

    If someone can punch a hole through this timeline, that’s quite fine with me. But it’s the only thing, so far, that connects the dots in the interviews with the dots on the ground and the dots in the visual evidence.

    Feedback?

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      RTS…

      Is THIS the video you say you ‘saw’ yourself? ( Link below )
      It DOES show the helicopter at the start with the VLAT
      on approach… but it doesn’t really ‘cleary’ show the
      near miss like Brendan’s does.

      I’m just trying to find out if this is the one you were
      referring to. As for what might still be ‘missing’ from the
      SAIT/FOIA package… that’s still to be determined.

      https://www.dropbox.com/sh/dpmmrutwwk4a45b/WmcD_VMFvp/Mccord#lh:null-yarnell%20088.MOV

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          RTS… I just hand-checked the spreadsheet
          in the Blue Ridge Folder in Mr. Dougherty’s
          online Dropbox against everything that’s actually
          in Mr. Dougherty’s dropbox and everything listed
          in that spreadsheet is accounted for.

          That Yarnell088 Movie listed in the spreadsheet
          in Mccord’s folder that has the description
          “close call with helicopter and airplane” is there
          in Mr. Dougherty’s Dropbox and its the same link
          I gave above and you checked already.

          If that’s not the ‘close call’ movie you have seen
          in Blue Ridge’s possession then there are only
          a few possibilities here…

          1) Blue Ridge never gave what you saw to
          the SAIT. That’s ok. It’s never been a criminal
          investigation and they DID give them at least
          one movie showing essentially the same thing.
          No big whoop.

          2) Blue Ridge DID give that movie you say you
          saw to the SAIT… and it didn’t make it into the
          FOIA/FOIL release. That ( to me ) amounts to
          a ‘big whoop’. That means the SAIT actually
          didn’t release everything they had when they
          were SUPPOSED to.

          3) Blue Ridge DID give that movie you say you
          saw to the SAIT… it WAS included in the
          FOIA/FOIL release… and it just hasn’t appeared
          yet in Mr. Dougherty’s Dropbox. This would be
          WEIRD because it would also mean that one
          movie that Mr. Dougherty just hasn’t uploaded
          yet ALSO mysteriously does NOT appear in
          the official spreadsheet describing what’s
          supposed to be in the folder. I’d say this option
          (3) is HIGHLY unlikely.

          So it’s really either option (1) or (2) above.

  53. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** WHAT REALLY HAPPENED ON SATURDAY?

    **
    ** THE ONGOING DISCUSSION ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED SATURDAY

    >> On January 25, 2014 at 8:37 pm, WantsToKnowTheTruth said:

    Regarding Saturday… and how the fire mysteriously went from
    being ‘fully contained’ and ‘almost out’ to suddenly ‘escaping across
    the two-track’…

    Do we ( even now ) REALLY know what that DOC crew was actually
    DOING up there on Saturday?

    From the look of the Fernandez photos and his ‘fly-around’ at 10:00 AM
    Saturday morning… it looks like all a full crew would have had to do is piss
    on whatever was left of the thing and that would have been the end of it.

    Is there actually a chance that this crew decided to actually light their
    own NEW fires ( indirect attack, attempt to burnoff to the jeep trail,
    or whatever ) on Saturday?

    I guess what I am saying is… were there actually TWO Yarnell fires?

    The one started by the lightning that had pretty much burned out by 10:00 AM
    Saturday… and then ANOTHER fire started by the DOC crew that ended up
    getting away from them and ‘escaping’ over the jeep trail there?

    Has anyone seen any unit logs or activity reports from Saturday morning
    that explain EXACTLY what that other crew was actually doing up
    there on Saturday… and HOW they were going about it?

    >> On January 25, 2014 at 10:29 pm, Robert the Second replied…

    WTKTT,

    It’s POSSIBLE that they may have fired off the road since it would have been
    more-or-less a parallel line with unburned fuel. And it is a function of fireline
    construction at the Crew Leader level. But at that time of day, usually NOT
    a good idea. Possible.

    It’s also possible MAYBE they had lit it off earlier the night before or early in the
    morning and it was just a ‘dirty burn’ and never really took until the temp came up
    and the humidity dropped with a little wind. Very possible.

    Or it could’ve just picked up on its own during that same weather scenario and
    because it was NOT burned out, picked up in the unburned and made a run
    their line and breached it. Very possible.

    I could never understand WHY they did NOT have a 4 x 4 Engine up there to
    just be done with it. Bottom line, there were some sort of leadership and quality
    issues. My opinion.

    >> On January 26, 2014 at 12:02 am, WantsToKnowTheTruth replied…

    Spent the afternoon getting up to speed on Saturday events.
    Something strange happened, fer sure, but it’s not documented.

    According to all documentation AND Russ Shumate’s own SAIT interview…
    there was basically NO FIRE left even around Saturday AM.
    Everyone felt comfortable letting a trainee handle things at that point.

    Shumate is then TOLD it’s contained on ALL FOUR sides.
    Once he was TOLD that… he lets the SEATS and Engines go.

    Next thing anyone knows… fire is re-ignited with 20 foot flame lengths and is
    running and has jumped (escaped over) the jeep trail.

    WTF?

    Biggest problem on Saturday appears to have been that everyone knew they
    just needed to spit on it with a chopper and a bucket and it would have been
    all over, but (apparently?) no one could get that fully coordinated?

    There is NO direct evidence that the Lewis DOC crew that was up there
    working that area on Saturday was ever told to do ‘indirect’ stuff, or backburn
    anything, or whether they ever tried a burnout down to the east flank two-track…

    …but maybe they actually DID… and screwed it up?

    **
    ** UPDATE
    **

    I was looking for something else TODAY and stumbled across the following
    in the Yarnell Investigation notes.

    It’s the LAST two lines of the SAIT interview with Darrell Willis when
    Willis was just adding comments to his interview about things that
    took place on Saturday… as reported to him by Russ Shumate.

    From SAIT YIN interview with Darrell Willis…

    – Russ (Shumate) said they thought fire was a done deal ( Saturday afternoon ),
    then fire got out and he was unsure where it was.
    – Heard rumor that the (Lewis) crew fired about one mile of line??

    So that seems to be Darrell Willis himself acknowledging TWO things…

    1) Russ Shumate WAS told the fire was ‘a done deal’ sometime Saturday
    and that’s why he let the SEATS and the Engines go, like he said.

    2) Even as early as Saturday night, when Willis first talked to Shumate, there
    was (apparently) already a RUMOR going around that the Lewis DOC crew
    had “fired one mile of line” even though the fire had been already
    (supposedly) OUT.

    NONE of the ‘official’ reports have mentioned anything about this possible
    activity on the part of the Lewis DOC crew on Saturday around the time
    the fire was supposedly ‘a done deal’.

  54. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to Marti Reed post on February 1, 2014 at 4:05 am said:

    >> Marti wrote…
    >>
    >> As long as I’m sitting here trying to make myself go back to sleep,
    >> I may as well describe two other visual mysteries that continue to
    >> baffle me.
    >>
    >> 1. Papich, for most of the “evacuation” from the Youth Camp, appears
    >> to be driving one of the BR Buggies. But his last two photos (3957/3958)
    >> from his iphone, at about 4:35 PM are taken from the same hill over the
    >> same little green house where he photographed the BR Sup truck and
    >> a Buggy that morning while riding shot-gun on the UTV. I cannot, for the
    >> life of me, figure out how he got there to do that, and what vehicle got
    >> him out there to do that. It couldn’t have just “happened.”

    Marti… the problem there might be the exact location of the ‘little green house’
    that you are using as a reference point.

    The photos Papich took with that ‘little green house’ in them were not
    taken from a ‘hill’ or over near where Lakewood meets Manzanita.

    They were taken from Highway 89 itself from right near the Ranch House
    Restaurant… looking due west out towards the deployment site. ( That’s what
    that little yellow circle represents in that copy of one of Papich’s photos ).

    The two Papich photos (3957/3958) were taken from the passenger
    side of a vehicle that had to be in the southbound lane of Highway 89
    and just about to pull into the Ranch House Restaurant.

    They were taken with the vehicle sitting on Highway 89 exactly here…

    34.213853, -112.755505

    The camera looks ‘slightly elevated’ which, to me, indicates that Papich
    was sitting in the Passenger side of one of the large BR Crew Carriers
    just as it was about to pull into the Ranch House Restaurant parking lot.

    That would provide just about the right amount of ‘elevation’ to account
    for the way the (short) telephone pole in the left side of the pictures looks.

    • Marti Reed says

      Wow. I think you’re absolutely right. Back to the drawing boards. Except I really need to retire from this outfit and catch up with about 50 bazillion other things.

      You have no idea how many hours I spent trying to find that little place fronting on Lakewood that looked oh so similar to this one.

      But maybe your correction is not so difficult for me to digest.

      So he’s photographing, in the morning. the Sup truck and a buggy heading north from close to 89 on Lakewood from a buggy. Not from the UTV.

      Which still leaves the question of whether the Utility truck hauled the ATV all the way in or unloaded it somewhere other than where the BR crew at first staged. We don’t know that.

      That may not change the rest of the trajectory.

      Namaste

  55. Robert the Second says

    WTKTT,

    The ‘split in the fireline’ that you refer to above is called “splitting the head.” The result is that you now have TWO SEPARATE HEADS instead of one head or a flank. And it’s dangerous,.

    “Direct Attack – A direct attack involves dropping water on the burning fuel along the fire line or the head of the fire for direct extinguishment…. Oftentimes, terrain and or the rate of spread of the fire makes this approach impractical and CAN CAUSE THE HEAD TO SPLIT, WHICH IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS FOR GROUND PERSONNEL.” (EMPHASIS ADDED)

    Taken from a CDF Aerial Support article.http://www.alea.org/public/airbeat/back_issues/nov_dec_2008/AerialSupressWildFIre.pdf

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Well… as right as Blue Ridge interviewees ( Frisby, Brown,
      Fueller, Ball ) might be about the Helitanker actually being
      the CAUSE of that ‘split’ that afternoon…

      …you don’t need to take their word for it about the obviously
      ‘uncoordinated’ Air Attack that day.

      I mean… have you SEEN the only video that Brendan McDonough
      took that day? Shot from his lookout post?

      For the sake of a few seconds… The Yarnell Hill Fire could
      have just been all about the fatal crash of a Helitanker and
      one of the only two VLAT DC10s in the country.

      Brendan captured that ‘near miss’ of the Helitanker and
      the VLAT in chilling full-color.

      It’s like the fixed-wings had NO IDEA what the choppers
      were doing that day… and vice-versa.

      I really do hope that ALL of the Blue Ridge Hotshots ( Mccord
      included ) are free to talk about all this one day without being
      frickin’ afraid of losing their jobs.

  56. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** HELMET CAM CREW WAS PARKED UP AT ICP AT 1515

    Found ’em.

    In THIS video…

    VID 20130630 151521 240 – Yarnell Hill Fire video provided by AZSF crew
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_Lw9kCppj4

    The crew that is actually FILMING this video out the passenger side of their
    vehicle is LEAVING the ICP command center up at the Model Creek School
    up in Peeples Valley at exactly 1515 on June 30, 2013.

    At exactly +0:36 seconds into their video… they accidentally capture the
    entire ‘Helmet Cam Video’ crew VEHICLES ( all 3 of them ) parked there
    on the side of the road up by the ICP.

    They are the EXACT same vehicles that are GOING to be seen in the
    Helmet-Cam video shot at the St. Joseph Shrine parking lot one hour and
    twenty three minutes from now… trailers and all.

    Only the vehicles are there. No crew. So they all must have been INSIDE
    the Incident Command Post at the moment THIS video was shot OR
    ‘bombing around’ in their UTVs since they are not in their trailers at 1515.

    In the video… vehicles are passed by in this order…

    1) First seen is the regular-size aquamarine standard pickup ( minimal
    access-cab style with hard-enclosed bed ) with the white UTV trailer.
    This one appears later in the Helmet-Cam video just beyone the FF with
    the black beard and ball cap seen when the Helmet-Cam pans just
    east in the Shrine parking lot for a moment. The white UTV trailer
    ride-out is DOWN in this video and the UTV is not there so they might
    not have been in the ICP at this point. They might have been out
    ‘bombing around’ Model Creek in there UTV’s up NEAR the IC
    in this 1515 timeframe. Standard USFS AZ Forestry ‘Shield’ logo
    is on the door. White stripes on side. Says ‘Fire’ in the stripes
    and Vehicle ID ( In big white letters on front ) is DV-93.

    2) Next ( at +0:37 in this video ) comes the first white extended cab
    pickup truck that will be seen in the Helmet Cam video. This one is
    has the ‘access cab’ configuration ( big side window but no double
    doors ) and does NOT have a trailer attached. Same standard
    USF AZ Forestry ‘Shield’ logo on passenger door. This is the actual
    vehicle that the Helmet-Cam operator himself would be seen getting
    into and driving away from the Shrine parking lot as the GM final
    radio transmissions were being captured.

    3) Next ( at +0:38 in this video )
    This one is same exact white extended cab pickup configuration
    as (2) but this one has forest green double stripes on the side.
    This is also the one that has the flat-style emergency lights rack
    mounted on the cab roof. The other white pickup does not have this.
    This one also has the black-metal ‘deer chucker’ mounted on the front
    whereas the other white pickup has no ‘deer chucker’.
    Green stripes on side have the word ‘Fire’ inside them right over
    the rear wheel cowlings. Same standard USF AZ Forestry ‘Shield’ logo on
    passenger door. Vehicle ID ( In Forest green letters on front ) is
    AZ-PNF (Prescott National Forest ). This is the vehicle that will first
    be seen in the Helmet-Cam video right behind the FF with the white
    helmet when the Helmet-Cam pans east in the St. Joseph Shrine
    parking lot. It will be seen again later ( with the green stripes in closeup )
    a few minutes later in the Helmet-Cam video after they move a little
    east and stop at that next location to “Clone a mobile”.

    SO… at least now we know EXACTLY where this ‘Helmet-Cam’ crew
    was at 1515… one hour and twenty four minutes before we would see
    them shooting the Helmet-Cam video at the St. Joseph Shrine.

    What remains to be fully documented is…

    WHO are these guys, really?
    WHO sent them to the St. Joseph Shrine after 1515, and for what reason?
    WHERE did they go after evacuating from the Shrine area?

    Stay tuned.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      A close-up picture of vehicle number (3) from post above
      that appears in the Helmet-Cam video.

      This is one of the 2 vehicles seen in St. Joseph Shrine parking lot
      when the Helmet-Cam operator turned the camera EAST
      for a moment at the start of the video.

      In the Helmet-Cam video… it’s the vehicle that is just east of the
      firefighter seen at that moment with the white helmet standing
      next to the firefighter with the black cap and the black beard.

      It was photographed by Scott Ash during one of the
      processions for Granite Mountain following the tragedy.

      Flickr account name: Scott Ash ( Handle ashman88 )
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottash/9252507912/in/photostream/

      License plate number is in ‘Department of the Interior 2011 series’
      format… blue letters on a white background.

      US GOVERNMENT
      A360145
      FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

      The ‘A’ code for this series format is the reserved
      alphabetic prefix code for the ‘Agriculture Department’.

      • Bob Powers says

        I am a little con fused on your logo definitions.
        USFS logo is Different From Arizona DF.
        also BLM is different from both.
        However The license plates on BLM & USFS are the same US GOVERNMENT plates.
        Arizona Department of Forestry would have Arizona plates.
        Dose that help any?

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Mr. Powers…

          Here is the exact ‘Forestry Service’
          ‘Shield’ logo that is on the driver and passenger
          side doors of all THREE of the vehicles seen
          in the Helmet-Cam video…

          http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_MEDIA/stelprdb5437058.png

          Forest Service
          U ( Picture of a Tree ) S
          Department of Agriculture

          The ID number of the lead truck ( the one the
          Helmet-Cam operator was actually driving ) is…

          AZ-PNF

          Obviously ‘Arizona – Prescott National Forest’.

          I’m still trying to find out exactly who these
          fellas are and what their assignment(s) were
          that day.

          • Robert the Second says

            WTKTT,

            Correct. The guys in the helmet cam video are from the PNF and worked on the fire as Task Force Leaders and other misc. fireline overhead.

            • Bob Powers says

              WTKTT if your trying to be a smart ass fine I know what a FS shield is.
              you said earlier that USFS Arizona division of forestry shield did not make science. And BLM & USFS
              license are all US Government. evidently you are not confused…..
              OR MAYBE???

              • Bob Powers says

                Paragraph 1.
                I will rephrase the statement you made was the standard
                USFS AZ Forestry shield LOGO. (2 separate organizations not 1) I hope that is plainer.

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                Mr. Powers…
                Total miscommunication there.
                I was ADMITTING that I might
                not have ‘labelled’ what that
                ‘Shield’ is on the doors of the
                trucks in my text….

                …So I gave you a link showing
                you exactly what it looks
                like and what it says…

                …expecting YOU to tell ME
                what the proper reference
                to that ( in text ) should be.

                Both of the links I posted
                above show clearly what
                was really on the doors.

                It is what it is.

                I’m still just trying to find
                out WHO these fellas
                really were. Any ideas
                on names?

      • Marti Reed says

        Great catches!!!

        Can you tell me again what is it that I should use to download video from YouTube? There’s just no way to see anything in these vids without slowing them down, and Mr Dougherty hasn’t posted this one to his dropbox yet.

  57. Marti Reed says

    Because I really, really hate skinny threads, I’m gonna write this here, although it’s a response to the earlier increasingly skinnily-threaded conversation about the dozer, and where it went, and where where Ball was in relationship to it, and all things otherwise connected.

    Sometime way early this morning I wrote about how one of the enigmas still totally befuddling me was how Ball was driving around Glen Illah, shooting his last batch of photos later that evening.

    Looking again, this evening at his earlier photos, I see that at 1628 he takes a photo, with his iphone, while RIDING SHOTGUN in a white pickup truck (and I have NO IDEA as to the id of that truck), as they approach the Yarnell Fire Department from the southwest.

    About 15 seconds later, he takes a second shot, as they pull into a parking spot there.

    (At about16:29 Papich shoots his last pic, with his iphone, of the evacuation of the Youth Camp.

    At 1635, Trew heads out of the Youth Camp, according to the GPS.

    At 1643, according to his GPS, Trew arrives at the Ranch House Cafe parking lot.)

    At 1643, Ball takes a photo approaching the Lakewood-Manzanita intersection out in Glen Illah.

    (At 1635, according to the timestamp, Papich shoots an iphone photo from just above the little green house on Manznita that he photographed that morning while riding shotgun on the UTV. This can’t even possibly be an accurate time-stamp. But it is a REAL photograph, and he did take it very INTENTIONALLY, for a REASON, so I’m wondering if possibly he managed to hitch a ride out with Ball and whoever was driving that WHITE PICKUP TRUCK. I am truly mystified by all this.)

    So I just decided to add this into the the whole conversation about the dozer (and what happened to it), Ball, and the still rather mystifying timeline off all things later that afternoon.

    And to underscore, I have NO CLUE whose white pickup truck Ball was riding shotgun in. Or how he got into it, or when, or where.

    Or whether he was still in it, or driving/riding in something different when he took his pictures wandering through that burning, smoking, area of Glen Illah.

    I’m sure this most likely doesn’t solve the riddle about the dozer, or where it went or why, but it does add a few dots to the timeline of where Ball was, even though they add a few more questions.

    WTK, I am really looking forward to, whenever you get the time, to work out and post a timeline of the GPS data related to Trew and the UTV after they were in the Ranch House parking lot. I don’t know how/if what I’m trying to figure out relates to that.

    • Marti Reed says

      And I think it also means Ball is on a rather different trajectory from the rest of his crew, but I have no idea what it is.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Marti… I hear you about ‘white pickup trucks’.

      They were all over the frickin’ place… and almost looks like
      the same Arizona dealership had a contract with the entire AZ
      Forestry Division and Prescott Fire Department, or something.

      They all really just look the same after a while.

      Example: I’m still trying hard to identify EXACTLY who that crew
      is taking the Helmet-Cam. Turns out there are THREE
      vehicles in that Helmet-Cam video… and TWO of them are
      towing trailers. The vehicle that the Helmet-Cam operator
      himself is driving seems to have had a trailer attached as
      well. It only comes into view for 6 frames near the start of
      the video but it’s a double-wheel trailer with the smaller
      tires and it has some kind of RED fendered UTV in it…

      …but NONE of these ‘white extended/access cab style’
      pickups in the Helmet Cam video seem to be the same
      ‘white extended/access cab’ pickups seen heading south
      at 4:16 in the Air Study video.

      More about all that later.

      Regarding how Ball got back down to near Lakewood and
      Manzanita ( where the BR truck with UTV trailer might have
      been )…

      I hate to blow your mind some more on this but I just found
      this in those totally ‘random access’ Blue Ridge SAIT interview
      notes…

      Page 9 of YIN…
      From Interview with Blue Ridge ( Frisby, Brown, Fueller, Ball )…

      Brian tells Trew we need to move our rigs and GM. Get to the trucks Brian gets GM with only minutes before the fire would have been on them. Everyone is moving out. Trew goes in GM chase truck calls Eric can you see me? Where the dozer line took off? We are bumping the trucks to the shrine…Eric says affirm I know where that’s at (Trew can tell Eric is moving and talking that he’s exerting himself) Trew tells Eric we will keep your trucks and Brendan until you meet up with them…copy.

      Did you see this sentence?…

      “Trew goes in GM chase truck”

      Could that POSSIBLY mean a scenario like the following?…

      Brown does take off from the Youth Camp to drop crew off
      to pick up the GM Carriers… but he does so in the GM
      Supervisor Truck instead.

      It’s POSSIBLE that Brendan did drive the GM Sup truck all
      the way around the long way on the paved roads and out
      to the Youth Camp… but now the GM Sup truck is used
      to go drop BR crew off at GM Crew Carriers.

      That would explain why the GM Sup truck is eventually NOT
      seen in the BR convoy video when the evacuated.

      Maybe Trew drove the GM Sup Truck out to where the GM
      Carriers were parked ( as their notes seem to say he did )…
      but Ball was riding along and HE continued on with the
      GM Sup truck down to Manzanita/Lockwood where the
      BR turck and UTV trailer were.

      So Brown goes BACK to the Youth Camp in the GM
      vehicles ( which is why we see his GPS returning )… but
      Ball went on down to Manzanita/Lockwood, took those
      photos, dropped ANOTHER BR crew member off to
      evac BR pickup with UTV trailer… and then they just
      exited Glen Ilah on Lakewood over to the Ranch House
      Restaurant.

      Whew. I’m dizzy now.

      I suppose all that is possible for explaining those 5 little
      words in the Blue Ridge interview…

      “Trew goes in GM chase truck”

      Wouldn’t this all be a lot easier if we could just talk to either
      the people who wrote these frickin’ cryptic notes… or to
      the people they were talking to in the first place?

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        More possible dizziness ( sorry )…

        Maybe Brendan really did come into play here more than
        has even been fully documented.

        Maybe Brendan really did do all of the following…

        1) Exited the Sesame area ‘right away’ (alone) in the
        BR Sup truck right after Frisby dropped him off and
        right after he took those series of pictures trying to
        capture that little ‘smoke tornado’ there by the trucks.

        2) Brendan exited SOUTH towards Glen Ilah alone
        in the GM Sup truck ( this still matches what a local
        witness reported seeing ).

        3) Brendan goes NORTH on Highway 89 and takes
        those other 3 pictures ( at 4:02 PM ) as he is heading
        north and was just north of the Ranch House Restaurant.

        4) Brendan continued NORTH on Highway 89, took
        a left onto Shrine Road… and then did, in fact, just
        drive all the way west on Shrine road to the Youth
        Camp where BR vehicles were staged.

        5) Moments later… it’s time to do the ‘dust off’ on the
        GM Crew Carriers. Brown (Trew) and Ball and 1 other BR
        crew jump into the GM Supervisor truck. Brendan
        is still driving.

        6) Brendan is then the one who drives the GM Sup
        truck WEST on the dirt cutover road and drops
        Brown (Trew) and the 1 other BR crew guy off at
        the GM trucks. They drive the GM trucks east back
        to the Shrine and that’s how we see Brown’s GPS
        going in both directions to get GM Carriers.

        7) But Brendan didn’t go back to the Shrine on the
        cutover road. He continued SOUTH through the
        Sesame area with Ball, and then dropped Ball off
        where Manzanita meets Lakewood so Ball could
        evac the other BR utility truck with the UTV trailer.

        8) Brendan then just hops over through Glen Ilah
        on Lakewood and goes right to the Ranch House
        Restaurant.

        9) Ball stops to take those pictures there at this
        time at Lakewood/Manzanita… and then just drives
        the BR truck with UTV trailer through Glen Ilah over
        to the Ranch House Restaurant.

        10) Everybody (and all these vehicles) all end up at
        the Ranch House Restaurant within a few minutes
        of each other… and Tom Story then takes his
        photograph showing them all there as if they all
        arrived at the same time.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Well… Brendan had to be headed
            SOMEWHERE north of the Ranch House
            Restaurant (cafe’) at 4:02… not that we can
            finally see the pictures he took.

            He was already headed north on Highway
            89 and AWAY from the cafe’ at 4:02, and
            I can’t imagine where else he would have
            been headed at that time other than to
            take the long way around to the Shrine
            road Youth Camp where the BR vehicles
            were already staged.

            Something also then still has to explain
            why the GM Supervisor truck is NOT
            seen in that Blue Ridge ‘Convoy’ video
            when they all left the Youth Camp.

            Before we could see Brendan’s own
            photos… it made sense to me that he
            would have just exited the Sesame Area
            (alone) in the GM Supt. Truck and just
            gone straight to the cafe’… since Frisby
            already knew that’s where everyone
            would be headed shortly, anyway…

            …but Brendan’s own pictures from 4:02
            that place him alone, in the GM Sup truck,
            heading NORTH on Highway 89 means
            he was headed somewhere other than
            the cafe’ after he left the Sesame area.

            All of these ‘pieces of the puzzle’ that the
            the SAIT has left us with will all fall into
            place pretty soon, I think.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Bad typo in first paragraph above.
              Meant to say…

              “…NOW that we can finally see the
              pictures he (Brendan) took.”

              I do wish we could EDIT these posts,
              somehow, after sending them.

        • Marti Reed says

          One other minute detail I’ve noticed about Trew’s GPS Tracking and the dropping of of the BR Crew to drive the GM Buggies.

          Trew never actually is in the GM Buggy Parking Spot. He stops on the road up above and to the east of it. He’s .22 miles away.

          And, also, in Trew’s timeline we have to remember that he makes a quick trip down to the north end of the Manzanita/Glenn Illah area, then turns around and comes back.

      • Marti Reed says

        You have some confusion in your comments about the second half of the scenario. I’ll leave out the Papich photos part, because that’s confusing you, I think.

        Here’s Ball’s timeline via his iphone photos:

        3:50:35 Shoots a gate in the Sesame area on the west end of the cutover. IMG_1886. (At least someone somewhere wrote that that is what that gate is.)

        4:28:16 Shoots the Yarnell Fire Station while riding shotgun in a white pickup as they approach it from the southwest. IMG_1886.

        4:28:33 Shoots the smoke as they are headed into a parking space at Yarnell Fire Station. IMG_1887.

        4:43:16. Heading north on Lakewood Drive. I haven’t identified exactly where this photo is. IMG_1888.

        Lakewood Drive heads north from 89 right across from the Ranch House Restaurant.

        4:43 is when Trew, along with the convoy, are arriving at the Ranch House Cafe.

        4:47:02. Ball shoots the Manzanita sign at the intersection of Manzanita and Lakewood, and then proceeds north on Manzanita. IMG_1890.

        In neither this nor the rest of the following photos, is there any “framing” of the truck in the photos.

        But after looking thru these some more and mapping some of the first part of the series, headed north on Manazanita, I can say now that I would almost bet money he’s on the passenger side.

        Ball continues to take a series of photos driving around this area in the smoke and fire. His last photo in this area is taken at 5:50:53.

        I think it’s pretty seriously improbable these photos taken in the Glen Illah area are from the GM Sup truck, which is shown in many photos from this time period in the Ranch House Cafe parking lot.

        Namaste!
        Remember I’m on my second day of retirement.
        I’m just practicing Google Earth, which is something I have to learn anyway.

        • Marti Reed says

          Where did Incident Command move after Evacuating Model Creek School? I have it in my head they went to Yarnell Fire Department. Is that a mistake?

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            I don’t think it ever actually ‘moved’ at all.

            That was one of the ( over 80 known ) errors
            in the ADOSH report. ADOSH said they
            ‘evacuated’ the Model Creek School when
            they never really did.

            The Yarnell Hill Fire Station WAS the
            ‘ICP’ on Saturday and early morning
            on Sunday… but it moved up north
            to the Model Creek Elementary School
            right after the 7:00 AM Sunday breifing
            at the Yarnell Fire Station and it never
            went back there.

            That’s my understanding, anyway.

        • Marti Reed says

          I just found a MAJOR THING in the above timeline.

          The images from 1888 thru 1891 are taken from 4:43:16 thru 4:48:54.

          The next photo taken, 1892, is at 5:48:03, nearly an hour later. And it’s taken just about at the same spot as 1891. In 1891, there are live flames close by. In 1892, just smoke. So it’s after that area was engulfed in the previous flames.

          At first I was wondering if Ball may have been on foot. He definitely wasn’t in the 14:43-ish photos. And I don’t think he is either in the following photos.

          So, most likely, he was riding shotgun with whomever he was riding shotgun with in a white pickup when they pulled into the YFD parking lot, and then they drove out to Glen Illah, and then, at precisely the time Trew and convoy headed into the Ranch House Cafe, they drove back there too.

          Then Ball, approx one hour later, went back out there with someone else, I think, but not neccesarily, and drove around the larger area, taking photos.

          This might also help explain Papich’s photo. (the iphone stamp is totally off). Papich might have been with Ball (maybe even driving the BR Buggy, maybe not). Papich would be the ONLY one with his camera who would know where to take that photo from and how to get there. He/They would have had to walk in from the road to that spot.

  58. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** AIR STUDY VIDEO SHOT AT 1613 ( 4:13 PM )
    ** 20130630 161202 fire behavior EP

    This is the AIR STUDY video shot just 3 minutes before the
    other one that definitely captures the following…

    1) ASM2 asking ground to verify GM status and if Marsh is with them.
    2) Ground command asking “Granite Mountain: What’s your status?”
    3) Marsh reporting “They (GM) are taking escape route SOUTH”
    4) Ground command asking (Marsh) “Are you with Granite right now?”
    5) Marsh not really answering that question and saying he is
    “Uh… just checkin’ it out to see where… ( controversial ending )”.

    THIS video was shot just 3 minutes before that.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n63fomLyevo

    I’ve been cleaning this one for a week and it’s a tough one… but
    there ARE some background radio captures here just 3 minutes
    before the others ones in the other (next) sequential video.

    Granite Mountain ( entire crew ) was already hiking SOUTH at
    this point ( as we are about to hear Marsh report in next video ).

    At 1612, they were only 8 minutes from dropping into the box canyon.

    The background conversation in this 1612 AIR STUDY video does NOT
    appear to contain any actual conversations with Marsh or Steed like the
    next sequential one does… but it does ‘set the stage’ for what is about
    to come in that next video.

    It DOES appear to capture ground command talking extensively with
    ASM2 ( Bravo33 ) and ASM2 does seem to mention ‘Granite Mountain’
    in here… just 2 minutes before he’s going to request that ground
    command ‘Verify their status’…

    VIDEO starts at 1612 ( 4:12 PM ).

    Background conversation

    +25.42 sec
    Unknown: Bravo 33, Copy (?you) go ahead.

    +25.81
    Bravo33: Are you gonna be able to call it on… ???

    ( ASM2/Bravo33 continues talking here and had a lot to say but there )
    ( is simply too much foreground conversation and traffic going by )
    ( on the road to decipher much of it… until… )

    +41.47
    ( Bravo33 is still speaking and seems to definitely say the words )
    ( ‘Granite Mountain’ at this point… and he continues talking… )
    ( but there really are too many cars going by to hear anything else. )

    Just more possible proof that there were EXTENSIVE discussions
    going on about Granite Mountain and their ‘status’ in the critical
    minutes leading up to their decision to drop into the fuel-filled box canyon.

    ALL of these people speaking in the background in these AIR STUDY
    videos need to be fully identified and talked to again by REAL investigators.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Correction above. In the title of the post above I mention 1613
      but the timestamp on the AIR STUDY video is actually
      1612 (+2 seconds).

      What I meant in the title was…

      There appears to be conversation about ‘Granite Mountain’
      going on from +41 sec into the video and beyond which
      would carry the possible GM conversations into the 1613
      timeframe as well.

  59. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** THE SPLIT IN THE FIRELINE

    Most of the ‘official’ reports about the actual fire behavior on the
    afternoon of June 30, 2013 all agree that after the wind shifted… the
    now south-moving fire SPLIT into two different ‘branches’ as it
    swept south… and one of those fast-moving ‘splits’ is the one that killed
    Granite Mountain.

    Page 77 of the SAIR talks specifically about this ‘split’ in the fire and
    the SAIT went to great lengths to even produce a ‘graphic’ that shows
    this ‘split’ in the fireline as it headed south, entering the ‘bowls’.

    As it turns out… the Blue Ridge Hotshots SAIT interview actually puts
    a primary CAUSE to this ‘split’… and it wasn’t all natural ( according to them ).

    NOTE: It’s still amazing how ‘disjointed’ those SAIT interview notes are with
    Blue Ridge ( Frisby, Brown, Fueller, Ball ). In some places… it’s almost just like
    ‘random association’ and things are just being mentioned that happened that
    day with no regard to WHEN or the context of the events. Very bad ‘notes’
    for any interviewer to record and very hard to follow with any real clarity.

    That being said… there is the following information about this ‘split’ in the fire
    where Blue Ridge interviewees say that the uncoordinated helitanker drops
    THEY were witnessing is what caused ( or contributed greatly ) to this
    eventual SPLIT in the fireline.

    On page 8 of the YIN notes… Blue Ridge interviewees say this…

    “The helos seemed to be free lancing dropping where they want, no one directing
    them on tactics. This is when the helitanker splits the east flank ( of the fire ).”

    Then ( later on ) on page 9 of the YIN notes, when they are discussing what
    the fire started doing later in the afternoon and they needed to start evacuating,
    they mention this ‘helitanker splitting the east flank’ event again…

    “…Column starts to lay down, smoky, the split the helicopter did earlier,
    is now evident.”

    This second statement corresponds to the SAIR’s own actual diagram
    on their own page 77 of the fire ‘splitting’ at this same time.

    Here are the actual full two paragraphs from the YIN notes with Blue Ridge first
    describing the ‘chaotic’ air attack they were wintessing early on in their
    interview… followed by their second mention of this ‘splitting’ of the east flank
    by the helitanker(s) and the eventual consequences later in the day…

    Page 8 of the YIN notes ( Page 3 of 5 BR interview pages )…

    The crew witness’ a near miss with the VLAT and the helitanker.
    B4 B & T get back to the buggies, Travis feels that AA sounds overwhelmed, the
    air show seemed troublesome. The helos seemed to be free lancing dropping
    where they want, no one directing them on tactics. This is when the helitanker
    splits the east flank. The tankers and helo’s aren’t picking up the black and
    establishing good black, no solid anchor point. Hit and miss, spotty, unanchored
    drops of water. Tankers were going indirect, this is when True says were going
    defensive around 1200-1215. This is when the seasonals say, this is like the
    Swiss cheese effect…Trew comes back with we need a piece of cheese.
    This is just one big hole.

    Page 9 of the YIN notes ( Page 4 of 5 BR interview pages )

    Brian thought GM would come down the same rd him and Trew went on.
    B & T went to the rd travis calls and says the winds are in my face the fire
    is right there so they flip around. Crew heads to buggies drive out to the
    hwy. B & T find engines still out there and they say leave now! Over by
    GM, no fire activity. Column starts to lay down, smoky, the split the
    helicopter did earlier, is now evident. Extreme fire behavior spot fire to
    the NW of them. Winds are howling, embers falling, instant spot fires
    10 x 10 in seconds, homes going up, fire leap frogging.

    • Bob Powers says

      And that WTKTT is when you do not want to be in unburned fuel
      erratic fire behavior at its worst. AND THE BIG DOG EATS…..

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Mr. Powers… just that one (last) paragraph above was
        included to show the second part of where Blue Ridge
        claims the Helitanker ‘split’ the fire…

        …but just look at that one paragraph and look at all
        the other ‘discrepancies’ in there.

        Very first sentence…

        “Brian (Frsiby) thought GM would come down the same
        rd him and Trew went on.”

        Clear as a bell. Frisby just thought Marsh meant that
        GM was coming back down the same road that he
        and Brown went up on in the UTV for the first
        face-to-face at noon.

        There is NO ambiguity in that sentence.
        There is NO ‘Frisby thought he meant a ranch to the north’
        There is NO ‘Frisby wasn’t sure what road Marsh meant’.

        Frisby WAS sure ( about what he thought he heard ).
        He was SURE Marsh meant they were bookin’ it down
        that same UTV trail back past the grader and back
        towards them.

        The SAIR just made up all that other stuff the reported
        about Frisby thinking he meant ‘a ranch to the north’.

        Then there is this ( in the same paragraph ).

        “Over by GM, no fire activity.”

        What the heck does that mean?

        All I can think of is that the interviewer just made some
        fast note about some Blue Ridge person saying there
        being was fire over by the GM Crew Carriers at that point
        (yet) so there was still time to go get them, or something.

        Reading these SAIT interview notes ( especially the
        Blue Ridge ones ) is like doing a jigsaw puzzle.

        I wonder if Blue Ridge will EVER be allowed to talk
        about this incident ever again. There are obviously
        still a lot of things that went on that day that still need to
        be straightened out and it’s also obvious ( even from
        these disjointed interview notes ) that they are the ones
        who can help do it.

        • Marti Reed says

          Agree. Every time I read those interview notes, it just makes my head hurt. Thanks for trying to decipher them. That’s not an interview. It’s a “whatever.”

          These guys are so important in relationship to what happened. Not just to Granite Mountain, but to a whole lot else.

        • Bob Powers says

          First I have said before BR never thought that GM would do any thing but stay in the black and move back towards where there vehicles had been parked.
          Second for at least some time there was no fire where GM was they were to the west and in the burn (BLACK) if they stayed there or moved on top and followed the ATV route back the way BR’s ATV had come for the meeting they could have walked black back and out. The real escape route and safety zone.
          Third the SAIT again used there own scenario because BR did not fit. BR’s statements were not used but changed to fit.
          This has to be the worst investigation in the history of WLF fatalities.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            >> Mr. Powers wrote…
            >>
            >> This has to be the worst investigation
            >> in the history of WLF fatalities.

            Agreed.

            I think the ongoing ‘conversation’ at this
            point should be just as much about how
            to prevent such a botched-up, obfuscated
            INVESTIGATION like this from ever
            happening again just as much as it
            needs to still be about what REALLY
            happened in Yarnell on June 30, 2013.

          • Robert the Second says

            Bob,

            “Third the SAIT again used there own scenario because BR did not fit. BR’s statements were not used but changed to fit.
            This has to be the worst investigation in the history of WLF fatalities.”

            I’ll say it once again. Contrary to the ‘traditional investigative process’ the SAIT will establish it’s own conclusion, then it will selectively find ‘facts’ to support their pre-established conclusion. They do this by means of selective interviews and ‘cherry picking’ evidence that fits; everything else is discounted. It has happened with every fatality SAIT since the Mann Gulch Fire.

  60. Gary Olson says

    Bob Powers: Gabbert banned you? Really? I think we need a reality check here. John Maclean writes books about people like you, he is not a person like you!John Maclean should be interviewing you and wanting to know what you think about the Yarnell Hill Fire. John Maclean is a very good author, but he is an observer and a writer…not a doer. The respect here needs to go to the right people…and that isn’t Gabbert as far as I am concerned.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Just as a point of information regarding this… it is NOT either
      automatic or usual for Mr. Gabbert’s WordPress software
      to ‘close comments’ on a post after a certain amount of time.

      Everything to do with the recent Maclean ‘claims’ about Marsh
      making it all the way to the ‘ranch’ BEFORE the burnover are
      the only articles over there that have now been specifically
      CLOSED TO COMMENTING.

      All his other blogs posts ( sic: articles ) concerning the Yarnell
      Fire, the SAIR and the ADOSH report… even the ones dating
      back to September, October, November, December…

      ALL of them remain fully ‘open’ for new comments.

      It’s only the recent Maclean ones that are now CLOSED
      for commenting to EVERYONE.

    • Bob Powers says

      Your right and Maclean wrote the book on my dad and knows me personally but what ever. Bills banning me is some what funny.
      Long story short its an Oak Grove and El Cariso personal thing.

  61. calvin says

    Video20130630 144508. Starting around 33 seconds….”they are at the bottom of the drainage” “affirmative”

    Thoughts? Recognize either voice? Who is “they”?

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      calvin…

      I don’t recognize whoever says ‘drainage’… but it’s the same
      person ( named Bob? ) that speaks at +0:18 in response
      to the question about “How they doin’ in Wickenberg?”

      The time of 1445 ( 2:45 PM ) for the video doesn’t seem that it
      would be in any way referring to GM ‘down in the drainage’,
      though.

      It sounds simply as if ‘Speaker 1’ was trying to locate someone
      on the ground at that time and ‘Bob’ just lets him know they
      are ‘at the bottom of the drainage’.

      The final transmission… right at the end…

      “Structure 3, Operations, on TAC1”

      Sounds like Abel to me ( based on Caldwell video radio capture ).

      Speaker 1 cound be Rory Collins?
      Speaker 2 seems to be named ‘Bob’ since that’s what
      the first speaker seems to call him in the first transmission.

      Here is what I THINK I’m hearing…

      VIDEO STARTS

      +0:01
      Unknown speaker (loudly in foreground): Yea

      +0:02 through +0:16
      Some faint background radio conversations along with
      foreground sound of helicopter passing overhead.

      +0:17
      Speaker 1: Bob… how they doing on ???? in Wickenburg?

      +0:18
      Bob: Uh… ( can hear what he says but can’t understand it )
      Speaker 1: Okay.

      +0:26
      And I’m on your (six?)… do not have any (ten?) in sight…
      Oh… I have (????) now. Never mind.

      +0:33
      Bob: They’re at the bottom of the drainage.
      Speaker 1: Affirmative
      Bob: Copy

      +0:34 ( Overlaps and starts out underneath the ‘Affirmative’ )
      Unknown speaker: Structure Group 3, Operations, on TAC 1

      END OF VIDEO

  62. calvin says

    Elizabeth video 20130630 144756 around 1 minute 24 seconds has a call from Musser to Abel. This is the first audio I have heard with a sample of Musser’s voice

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Below is the video that still hasn’t been released publicly by
      anyone. H&M listed it as the ‘source’ for their own report that
      OPS2 Paul Musser is ‘calling out’ specifically to DIVSA Marsh,
      but even they still haven’t posted that where anyone can
      listen to what they say they are hearing.

      1. “DivA-Ops Musser”:
      SAIT Investigation Record:AO5-20130630: AerialFirefightingStudyPhotosVideos F: PhotosAndVideos: Panebaker:Video:20130630_154232_fire_behavior_EP.MOV

      There *might* be more to this than just hearing Musser
      calling out to Marsh. There *might* be more conversation
      there that some ‘really good ears’ can hear such as the actual
      ‘request for GM resources’.

      Even if there is no such thing… notice the TIME on this video.

      1542 ( 3:42 PM ) + 32 seconds

      I wish someone would at least post an OFFSET time as to
      WHERE in this this video the supposed call from Musser
      to Marsh is.

      In other words…

      How LONG is this video with a starting timestamp of 1542…
      and WHEN in the video is the ‘call’ from Musser to Marsh
      supposedly heard?

      2 minutes in? 5 minutes in? 10 minutes in?

      It’s important.

      We also know that both Mr. Dougherty and Elizabeth have
      this specific AIR STUDY video… but they both seem reluctant
      to even say if they have any plans to make it available or not.

      Even if they don’t… I wish they could tell us WHEN ( at what
      offset in the video ) this Musser-to-Marsh radio call actually
      takes place.

      • mike says

        This video would be very interesting, no doubt. To give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe they are withholding it until they have a clear idea what they think was said.

        Since learning of this request, I have felt it was not the request, but the desperation that motivated Marsh to move. So would like to hear exactly what was said. The rest here is pure speculation on my part. The earlier it is means a couple of things. First it makes more sense as that would have given GM more time to get to Glen Ilah. Second that would have given Musser more time to enlist someone else’s help in persuading GM, since Marsh initially said no. Not saying that occurred, but the earlier the initial request, the more possible the latter.

        IF Musser did enlist someone else to call GM, he may have been reluctant to tell that part of the story as it would have involved someone he had asked to get involved. The only reason I really think this scenario might be possible is I think Musser was desperate, and might have reached out to a third party because of that. I still really doubt it, but since people have been speculating about an order, this is one way it might have plausibly taken place.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          mike… see just below in discussion with calvin
          where it now seems to be clear that it was this
          same Mr. OPS2 Paul Musser who was ALSO
          trying to pull the bulldozer away from Blue Ridge
          and have it sent ‘north’ because ‘fire was
          threatening homes’… but MIGHT have done it
          in the following timeframe…

          1) The winds had already shifted to the south
          so the ACTUAL threat up north was not near
          as bad as down south.

          2) He may have been making this SAME request
          for the dozer to protect homes up NORTH at
          the SAME TIME he was asking Eric Marsh
          for ‘resources’ to protect homes in the SOUTH.

          WTF?

          I know some people keep pestering us here about
          why we are chasing all the DETAILS… but here’s
          a case where it REALLY MATTERS.

          If Musser really was stepping outside his
          responsibilities as the designated ‘Planning
          OPS’ that day… and trying to ‘order up’ all
          these resources over the radio as it all
          started hitting the fan…

          …then exactly WHEN he made what requests,
          to WHO, for EXACTLY WHAT…

          …and whether the actual designated ‘Field OPS’
          Todd Abel was aware he was doing ANY of this…

          …is all very important.

          We KNOW it got very confusing that afternoon.
          So confusing that 19 good men died.

          HOW confusing and WHY it was so confusing
          remains one of the most important things to
          try to fully document.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      calvin… speaking of OPS2 Paul Musser…

      I know you’ve put a lot of work into tracing the DOZER
      and it’s movements that day.

      Well… it appears that the YIN notes continue to be the
      ‘gift that keeps on giving’.

      Did you ever see the quote in the YIN from the Blue Ridge
      interview notes where they say exactly WHO it was that
      was ‘ordering the dozer to come north’?

      It was none other than Mr. OPS2 Paul Musser.

      From page 8 of the YIN…

      “OPS Musser requesting dozer up to the north it’s close to homes.”

      Musser was officially designated PLANNING OPS that day,
      and Abel was FIELD OPS. Between this request and the
      direct callout to Marsh asking for ‘resources to protect Yarnell’,
      it seems like he was acting a lot more like a FIELD OPS
      that a PLANNING OPS that day.

      I wonder who ELSE who was talking to that afternoon and
      requesting/directing that resources be ‘relocated’… and I
      wonder if Abel was really fully aware of all these ‘requests’
      that Musser seemed to be making on his own that day.

      Actually… here’s the full paragraph from page 8 of YIN
      Interview with Blue Ridge ( Frisby, Brown, Fueller, Ball )

      Tied in with cortis for the 1st time, at this time he didn’t want to evacuate Yarnell, the trigger pt was the ridge. They needed 4 ppl to move the buggies @ 1530, they briefed the crew there 1st escape route was to the hwy and out, 2nd escape route was back to the junction burn out the grass. Meets Trew starts dropping people off with minimal prep. ½ chain in at that time call f/ ops Musser requesting dozer up to the north it’s close to homes. Trew leaves with the ranger to scout north. Brian tries to contact GM several times, GM direct 3 or 4x Brian passed on to Jesse there plan of Gm securing there piece to the 2 track. Jesse says we have about another hr before we are tied into the 2 track. Eric copy’s and says yes that’s a good plan, head back up here let’s do a face-to-face. B says ok.

      • calvin says

        The Dozer/ Ball
        The Ball photos show the dozer moving south around 1530. There had been two weather forecasts calling for winds FROM the North and Musser was wanting to move the Dozer North?

        Well, I would like to know if the dozer was actually moved north? If not, where was it positioned that it wasn’t burned? Why was Eric Tarr searching for the Dozer operator and (up to 22 people) when he found GM?

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          That dozer was also the KEY to everything that
          Blue Ridge was doing trying to prep that line
          from Cutover Trail to the Shrine Youth Camp area.

          If it got ‘yanked’ away from them too soon… then
          that might have had everything to do with them
          having to tell Cordes ( when he asked ) that
          ‘burning off that road’ was ‘no longer an option’.

          I guess I’m still trying to fathom why… at that
          late point in the day… there was still only
          ONE bulldozer available and we hear fire
          command ‘fighting’ over it. ( North versus south
          work location ).

          That’s just nuts.

          • calvin says

            And why would Musseer call BR to request the dozer up north? It is not like they could put it on their UTV trailer and tow it with their BR Supt truck

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Yep. I’m with you.
              Where was that darn dozer trailer?

              The guy who was running it in the
              morning wasn’t ‘carded’ which is
              why Ball had to step in.

              If they DID move it north… did Ball
              go with it because he was ‘carded’,
              or did the ‘uncarded’ guy just go
              north with it and no one up there
              cared if he was ‘carded’ or not?

              Very confusing… but still very
              important to know.

              • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

                My assumption is that Ball was NOT the dozer operator, but was the Dozer Boss. Just as you would not send an engine into a firefight without an Engine Boss (supervisor), you would not send a dozer to work without a qualified supervisor (Dozer Boss). When the dozer moved north, Ball would not have to move with it. The dozer would only need a supervisor in the north when actually beginning to work there.

                • Bob Powers says

                  If Ball was assigned Dozer Boss he would stay with the dozer until relieved. Dozer Boss can handle 1 to 3 Dozers. But this fire seems to have its own what ever moments.

                  • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

                    If Ball was pulled off the crew so they could get some dozer work done before the ‘actual’ boss arrived, they may have pulled the dozer off the line later, awaiting the other boss, and sent Ball back to his crew. Lots of people know, but none are actually specifying what happened.

                • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                  TTWARE… yes… that’s
                  the way I’ve understood
                  the whole situation that
                  day myself. The rules
                  just required Ball to
                  become HEQB… but
                  the guy who owned
                  the dozer was still
                  the one running it.

                  So what does the
                  phrase ‘carded’
                  really mean?

                  Does that mean if
                  you have a ‘card’…
                  you can run the
                  dozer AND be your
                  own HEQB at the
                  same time?

                  • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

                    I think you have to have a boss AND an operator, but others may correct me on this

        • Marti Reed says

          Calvin,

          I’m not understanding your saying the dozer was headed south at 1530. The cutover is essentially west to east, and at 1530 the dozer is headed, essentially, east. What am I missing here?

          • Marti Reed says

            OK. I read it totally as going north-east from Sesame Street to Shrine Road. At about a 60 degree angle. At least on my version of Google Earth. So that would mean, in the two photos Ball took on the cutover, the dozer is headed NE.

            What am I missing? What you keep saying has been confusing me all along.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Marti… you are right.

              That ‘cutover’ trail that connected
              the Sesame Area to the Shrine
              road is more of an ‘angle’ running
              south-southwest to north-northeast
              rather than ‘due east-west’.

              I have to confess myself, tho, that
              at some point way back in this
              ongoing discussion I even resorted
              to just saying it runs ‘east-west’
              just to save all the typing.

              Same for Shrine road.
              It does NOT actually run
              due east-west on the compass
              but for the sake of discussions
              I think we have all just accepted
              a general ‘east-west’ description
              for Shrine road as well. It
              actually does run almost due
              east-west when it meets Highway
              89 so just for the sake of talking
              about it (generally) its been
              referred to as an ‘east-west’ road.

              • Marti Reed says

                I’m just an OCD map-freak. I spent three years drawing topos, and about 30 finding my way around with them.

  63. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to Bob Powers post on January 28, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    >> Mr. Powers wrote…
    >>
    >> WTKTT… Maybe you can if you want go back over t WFTD and answer
    >> Holly’s question about the GPS, Brown and the 1529 to 1550 that Frisby
    >> went to get McDonough. My answer did not post….
    >> Or tell Holly all the info we/you have laid out over here on that
    >> subject. Thanks

    Mr. Powers… thanks for your multiple replies above that helped me
    locate that exact conversation going on over at Wildfire Today.

    I had some time to go do what you asked…

    …but as of yesterday… NO ONE is allowed to make any more comments
    over at Wildfire today on ANY of those ‘Maclean’ related BLOG posts.

    Mr. Gabbert has set all those articles to COMMENTS CLOSED.

    Says so at the bottom of each page now.

    NO ONE was EVER allowed to make even one single comment on
    Mr. Maclean’s recent ‘retraction’ of things that were previously published…
    but even the other two articles where SOME discussion was allowed are
    now set to COMMENTS CLOSED.

    End of discussion… as far as he ( Gabbert ) is concerned.

  64. Gary Olson says

    FYI:

    1. I also have said many times (as Mike says) that nothing will change Eric Marsh’s or Jesse Steed’s responsibility for the safety of their crew, but additional information may add to our understanding of the casual factors.

    2. The term “Informants” has a negative ring to it. The official federal term for some time now has been “Sources of Information”, which does sound better…so, “No SOI’s…no cases!”

    3. Sitta: I really understand and appreciate your need for anonymity, but based on your comments, I am really curious what your position is in the fire organization and which agency you work for? You really seem to be squared away. I like to think you work for the USFS.

    4. I also agree with WTKTT, no detail is irrelevant and it is probably now or never, this story will not get better with age.

    5. Marti: I understand the enormous drain your work on our behalf is causing in your “other” life, but I am not aware of anyone who thinks what you are doing isn’t important, and I for one really appreciate your efforts.

    6. WTKTT: You really are some kind of technical genius.

  65. Gary Olson says

    I believe Mr. Donut has been given enough time to come forward with everything he knows. I have also found, based on my experience, that people generally do not do the “right thing”, especially if they have something to lose until you compel them to do so, or you clearly demonstrate to them that it is in their best interest to do so.

    Therefore, it is my humble opinion that everyone who has a Granite Mountain Hotshot Memorial Sticker on their vehicle in Prescott (which is a very large percentage of vehicle on the road) should make a point of asking Mr. Donut, “What do you know that you haven’t told us!” every time they see him.

    In addition, I don’t think Mr. Donut should get any more free drinks, slaps on the back for wandering around the fire and managing to survive thanks only to Brian Frisbee, or parade’s until he comes clean.

    I’m just sayin’.

    I also agree with Mike that there is unlikely to be a “Perry Mason moment” in this quest unless someone like…oh I don’t know…like Mr. Donut comes forward with what he knows about what happened that day in the critical moments leading up to the disaster.

    No informants…no cases.

  66. Gary Olson says

    RTS said Bob,

    “And just what is a “Gary Moment”?”

    Bob said “It Is What It Is.”

    This may be egotistical on my part…but Gary as is me? And what does “It is What It Is” mean?

      • Gary Olson says

        right on, Bill Gabbets or whatever his name is, sounds like a real dick. I know it’s his web site…but people are supposed to be able to express themselves in forums like this, that is how the truth comes out. Sometimes people only say the truth in emotional outbursts when they are not guarded, plus it sounds like he is filtering comments to shape the story, which is really, really, wrong.

  67. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Followup: In the Globe Type II Crew video ( link above ) shot in the morning
    at the Yarnell Fire Station… the fella in the backseat who shoots a bird at
    the camera also has a beard… be he also definitely has a mustache.

    The fella with the ( long ) beard we see standing in the middle of the road
    in the Helmet-Cam video definitely does NOT have a mustache.

  68. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    >> WantsToKnowTheTruth on January 31, 2014 at 3:33 pm said:
    >>
    >> We do NOT yet know if the Helmet-Cam video crew WAS the same “Globe
    >> Type 2 Crew” that shot the other four videos sitting in 4490red’s Youtube
    >> account.
    >>
    >> They MIGHT be… but I don’t think those ‘dots’ have all been fully connected
    >> yet with either positive IDs on vehicles or people seen in the videos.

    >> Marti Reed on January 31, 2014 at 5:19 pm said:
    >>
    >> It’s the same crew. Watch this one and then explain to me why it isn’t.
    >>
    >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgh_O9vcCyQ
    >>
    >> That’s the same radio guy riding shotgun in both.
    >> The guy with the helmet cam asks him if he should shoot some more video.
    >>
    >> I think that’s the crew sup. And I think that’s why the last moments video
    >> was kept off of YouTube and sent to the SAIT.
    >> That guy knew EXACTLY what they had.

    Marti…

    If you are talking about the guy with the beard in the passenger side of
    the vehicle who says ‘STUUUPID’ as he fools with the camera and tries to
    shoot video in the Globe Type II Crew video shot in the morning at the
    Yarnell Hill Fire Station…

    …and the guy with the beard seen later in the Helmet-Cam video standing
    in the road and holding the portable radio…

    …they are definitely NOT the same individual.

    Both have beards… but totally different.

    Guy in the video shot in the morning has a neat, close-crop chin beard
    and (apparently) a mustache.

    Guy in the Helemet-cam video has a longer beard and definitely NO mustache.

    I still think they MIGHT be the same ‘crew’ but those two individuals are definitely
    not the same person.

    Regardless of whether they turn out to be same ‘crew’ or not… I am totally with
    you on your wondering “What were they doing there in the first place?”.

    Whoever that ‘Helmet Cam’ video crew turns out to be ( There are USF AZ logos
    and ‘shields’ on the truck doors )… the question(s) still stand.

    WHO sent them there?
    WHERE were they right before arriving there?
    WHAT were they doing there (other than just standing around shooting video)?
    WHERE did they really go after the video ends?

    We KNOW that BR Captain Brown stopped right there in St. Joseph Shrine
    parking lot to talk to them ( for almost 2 minutes ) on his way out of the Shrine
    area and Brown only left them and continued on south to the Ranch House
    Restaurant just 60 seconds before Steed’s first MAYDAY call…

    …but did Captain Brown stop and ask THEM the same question(s) and/or
    give them a warning like…

    “WHAT are you doing here? Get OUT of here NOW!”

    • Marti Reed says

      Thanks for eagle-eye-ing this better than I did! There are a number of things about these visual elements that still mystify me. I guess this is still one of them!

    • Marti Reed says

      As long as I’m sitting here trying to make myself go back to sleep, I may as well describe two other visual mysteries that continue to baffle me.

      1. Papich, for most of the “evacuation” from the Youth Camp, appears to be driving one of the BR Buggies. But his last two photos (3957/3958) from his iphone, at about 4:35 PM are taken from the same hill over the same little green house where he photographed the BR Sup truck and a Buggy that morning while riding shot-gun on the UTV. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how he got there to do that, and what vehicle got him out there to do that. It couldn’t have just “happened.”

      2. Ball’s last collection of iphone photos (about 15 of them) are from a period of time starting about 4:47 PM (I’m typing this on my iPad while screen-recording a class, so I can’t access the photos in Lightroom on my computer). He’s driving around in some vehicle, but I have no idea what. He starts out in that same Manzanita area that Papich shoots his two pictures in, and then wanders around in the larger area. There is fire and smoke all around him.

      It would have taken me hours to try to identify where all he was in Google Earth Streetview, so I didn’t. I think he’s trying to find a way to somehow “get in” to where he thinks GM deployed. It’s really haunting to travel with him through these photos.

      I wonder, but don’t know if he has Papich with him. I wonder, but don’t know, if he’s in the BR Utility truck, with or without the trailer carrying/not carrying the UTV.

      The photos by both Papich and Ball say a lot. Papich’s are a testament to the difference between that morning and that tragedy. He’s being determined to document that. Ball’s are documenting the attempt to, and difficulty of, find access to what he knows is happening.

      I have no idea how either of them are doing this. But it’s obvious they both consider it extremely important to do it.

  69. Bob Powers says

    One of my concerns that every body keeps stating.
    ESCAPE ROUT– A predetermined route scouted marked and opened for quick access.
    What Granit Mountain was doing was cutting trail as they went.
    It was not an escape route……..
    A mile and a half walk thru the brush in a volatile situation is not an escape route to a safety zone.
    At the time they took that route they were not escaping from any thing.
    Granit mountain called it an escape route why I have no idea.
    That statement confuses the whole investigation.
    My Gary Moment…..

  70. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Some strange things still going on over at Wildfire Today regarding
    comments and whatnot ( NO ONE is allowed to even make a comment
    on Maclean’s retraction of his original “Marsh was at the ranch” findings, etc. )
    so in case the following comment disappears… I don’t feel like typing it
    all over again so I am ‘copying’ it over to here.

    SR asked me over at Wildfire today to post a description of EXACTLY
    what I did to produce my own ‘enhanced’ audio clips.

    It’s no secret… and I was glad to oblige.

    So in case this entire original comment suddenly evaporates over at Gabbert’s
    Wildfire Today site… here it the full 411 I typed up over there, on request.

    SR’s response to my posting is also included, in case that disappears too.

    >> On WildFire Today
    >> WantsToKnowTheTruth on January 26, 2014 at 4:11 am said:
    >>
    >> Reply to SR post on January 24, 2014 at 6:25 pm
    >>
    >> SR said…
    >> Perhaps WTTKT could state exactly what he did to his
    >> (enhanced audio ) version, and with what, so that H&J can use
    >> that as a point of comparison/ control?

    Sure. Be glad to.

    I downloaded the original (full) AIR STUDY video in question
    from Elizabeth’s public YouTube link.

    I removed the raw audio track from it with a free public domain
    program called AoA Audio Extractor. It was saved as a high
    fidelity WAV format audio file.

    I have access to any number of professional audio editing
    programs… but for something like this I have discovered that
    one of the best programs out there is totally FREE and in
    the PUBLIC DOMAIN.

    It is called ‘Audacity’ and I used version 2.5.

    Anyone can use this FREE software and do exactly what I did.
    You can download ‘Audacity’ 2.5 for Windows, Mac or *Nix here…

    http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/

    I loaded the high-fidelity WAV audio file extracted from the
    video into Audacity.

    Now to work…

    The most obvious ‘noise problems’ with that video/audio are…

    1) The wind.
    2) The cars going by.
    3) General background noise.

    So the first thing to do is ‘remove’ all three of those things.

    Audacity makes it really easy to do that. It has VERY
    sophisticated ‘Noise removal’ algorithms built in under
    the ‘Effects’ menu. All you do is ‘isolate’ a section of noise
    that you want to remove from the track… and then pick
    a ‘Remove Noise’ option and apply your ‘noise sample’
    to the entire track.

    So first I isolated just some pure wind. Removed that.
    Then I isolated some pure ‘car noise’. Removed that.
    Then I isolated just some ‘background noise’. Removed that.

    It was already sounding a lot better… but now we run into
    the other problems in this audio track.

    The conversation we want is the BACKGROUND radio
    traffic being captured… and NOT the two men talking in
    the foreground.

    Here again… Audacity makes this easy.

    You just treat the two men’s voices in the foreground as
    ‘noise’ and remove that just like the other three things.

    So I isolated a section where only man 1 was talking, treated
    it as ‘noise’… and did a removal pass on HIS voice.

    Ditto for man 2. Just isolate ONLY his voice. Remove it.

    NOTE: None of the things being described or targeted for
    ‘removal’ actually gets completely, totally removed… but
    its pretty close if you set the sensitivity high on removal.

    So now I’m left with an audio track that has had a lot of
    things ‘removed’ and the background audio is already
    clearer.

    Now for the worst problem.

    The background audio itself is still very ‘faint’ and hard to hear.

    That’s where a number of other ‘Effects’ tools in Audacity
    come into play.

    First you run a number of ‘Amplify’ passes, but don’t increase
    by more than 10db per pass or you start to bust the waveform.

    After each ‘Amplify’ pass Audacity lets you then run a ‘hard
    limit’ pass and a ‘Normalization’ pass to pull the higher decibel
    peaks back into ‘normal’ range before amplifying again.

    If you don’t do that… each amplification pass starts turning
    the foreground audio into ‘white noise’… which you don’t want.

    So you repeat this ‘Amplify’, ‘Hard Limit’ and ‘Normalization’
    sequence say… 4 or 5 times… and now the background audio
    is boosted a total of about 50db and coming out louder than
    before… but it was so faint to start with it’s STILL hard to hear.

    The final step was to just then simply really hard-boost the GAIN
    for both channels almost to the point where it’s red-lining.

    I believe I brought the gain up to 27db. (on both the left and
    the right channels equally ).

    This isn’t something you would normally ever want to do
    because things start to distort… but in this case it’s the
    only way to really bring that background audio all the way
    to the forerground.

    The by-product of such a drastic boost in the GAIN is that
    the entire audio clip becomes VERY, VERY LOUD.

    If you listen at full volume it will be nothing but distortion… but
    with a GAIN of +27db, and a volume level of, say, half… you
    get the best of both worlds. The audio is much clearer but
    you don’t run the risk of hurting your ears or your equipment.

    By the way… this ‘GAIN boost’ trick is exactly what they use
    to annoy the crap out of you when you are watching television
    and the commercials suddenly seem so LOUD. They aren’t,
    really ( the waveform is actually about the same as the primary
    audio signal reaching your TV ) but the big GAIN boost trick just
    makes you sit up and pay attention… which is all they
    (the advertisers) want, anyway.

    So that’s pretty much it.

    I should also mention that the original raw audio was recorded
    with what appears to be a stereoscopic microphone that had
    the balance somewhat off-center. It might have been set that
    way… or the microphone might actually have been a little
    broken. Regardless… that means that one of the audio channels
    was originally louder ( with more waveform ) than the other.

    In the H & M clip… they seem to have chosen to include just
    the left channel… and just totally wiped out the right channel.
    They thought that would be the equivalent of actually doing
    ‘noise removal’, or something.

    Well… that works sometimes… but what they lost from that
    conversion was a lot of the ‘fidelity’ since the original background
    radio captures were recorded on BOTH channels, not just one.

    Maybe they ‘merged’ the two STEREO channels into just
    a mono channel and worked on that single channel and that’s
    why the right channel in their clip is simply ‘dead’… Dunno.

    Regardless…

    I made no attempt to ‘go mono’ or just keep one channel or
    the other. All ‘noise filtering’, ‘amplification’, ‘hard limiting’
    and ‘normalization’ passes were done on the full original
    STEREO audio track… as were the GAIN boosts… and the
    final result clip is also full STEREO, unlike the clip that
    H & M were listening to.

    >> SR also said…
    >> I still find it hard to believe that the “escape route” chosen
    >> was being referred to as “vertical cut,”

    It wasn’t. What he ( Eric Marsh ) actually says there is…

    +0:54.09 to +1:03.81
    Eric Marsh: Well the guys… uh… Granite… is makin’ their
    way out the exact escape route from this mornin’… an’ it
    heads… ah… (pause) SOUTH. ( slight pause )
    mid-slope, cuttin’ over.

    Actually… here is what I believe is the FULL transcript of that
    video… including the part at the very beginning which is
    what causes someone to actually call Granite Mountain
    to ask them what their status was ( at 4:16 ).

    What is actually captured at the start of this video is someone
    confirming with ASM2 that he ( ASM2 / Bravo 33 ) can
    actually SEE Granite Mountain ‘behind those hills’ and ‘on the
    corner of the fire’… but ASM2 is concerned that they keep
    saying they are ‘comfortable’ where he can see them.

    ASM2 says that is ‘not credible’ ( based on the fire behavior
    he is seeing at 4:16 ) and he INSISTS that someone
    on the ground call Granite Mountain and at least insure that
    DIVS A (Marsh) is ‘with them’. ASM2 was being forced to play
    double duty as Air Attack at this point since Rory Collins
    abruptly left the area a few minutes earlier… and ASM2 needs
    to KNOW if ‘DIVS A’ ( or simply ‘Alpha’, as ASM2 says ) is
    actually with GM where he can see them down there at 4:16 PM.

    HUGE CAVEAT: This is MY best interpretation of the background
    audio for that entire video. Your mileage may vary, of course, but
    I would put money on the following translation for the background
    captured radio traffic in this ENTIRE AIR STUDY video…

    AIR STUDY VIDEO STARTS

    +0:08.23
    (Unknown): ASM2, Copy that… behind the hills is where you
    place Granite Mountain?

    +12.726
    (ASM2): They’re on the corner just repeatedly saying that they’re
    comfortable and that’s not credible. ASK him whether Alpha can
    be placed WITH them.

    NOTE: A few seconds later… Someone OTHER than who
    ASM2 was just talking to ( someone with what sounds like a
    Cajun accent? ) does exactly what ASM2 just TOLD them to do.
    He calls Granite Mountain directly and asks them to report their STATUS. If the time stamp on the AIR STUDY video can be
    trusted then it is now about 4:17 PM, just before the SAIR says
    they are about to leave the two-track road and drop into the box
    canyon at approximately 4:20 PM.

    +0:40.52
    (Unknown): Granite Mountain ( Five? )…
    What’s your status right now?

    NOTE: A pretty heavy accent on this speaker. Sounds like
    Louisiana Cajun? What he says almost sounds like…
    “Granite Montun… wuz yo status rat now?

    ALSO NOTE: Even though the caller asked for ‘Granite
    Mountain’ specifically, and not ‘DIVS A’… Eric Marsh responds
    immediately on behalf of Granite Mountain before Jesse Steed
    even has a chance to say anything. Jesse only ‘chimes’ in with
    his own ‘status’ report about “we’re pushin’ our way down into
    the structures” when Marsh is done speaking.

    +0:54.09 to +1:03.81
    Eric Marsh: Well the guys… uh… Granite… is makin’ their
    way out the exact escape route from this mornin’… an’ it
    heads… ah… (pause) SOUTH. ( slight pause )
    mid-slope, cuttin’ over.

    +1:07.18
    ( Another voice immediately adds to what Marsh said but it is )
    ( NOT Marsh this time. It sounds like Jesse Steed )

    Jesse Steed: We’ll be pushin’ our way down into the structures.

    +1:10.16 ( Another voice. Very quickly )
    Copy that.

    +1:21.17
    ( Unknown): Ten four. You with Granite Mountain right now?

    +1:24.68
    (Eric Marsh?): Uh… just checkin’ it out to see where we’re gonna
    jump out at.

    There appear to be some other background conversations
    in this video before we hear the 11 ( ELEVEN ) shutter
    clicks of the fellas in the foreground actually shooting photos
    of the VLAT drop… but there is also HEAVY road traffic
    at this point that will take a lot more work to filter out.

    AIR STUDY VIDEO ENDS

    >> On Wildfire Today… SR responded.
    >>
    >> Response from SR on January 27, 2014 at 8:06 am

    WTKTT,

    Thanks very much for taking the time for that comprehensive reply. I assume Holly and John are now in a position to circle back to the audio people they used and compare notes. At the end of the day perhaps the most important point, to me, is that there was communication during that time period. If Marsh were to be saying the “escape route” was “vertical cut,” to me that would imply a different set of training and judgment issues than simply “cuttin’ over” implies, but those are sort of micro points.

    What I would ask of Holly and John, in addition to circling back to their tech people, is actually a field-note question. I know they have walked the actual area of the YHF with Sonny and Tex among others. Have they, also, actually hiked down a roughly comparable bowl choked with the same general mix of chaparral?

    Page 20 of this document…
    ( See original Widlfire today comment for SR’s embedded document link )
    …contains one of the better composites of the bowl pre-fire.

    I am sure Sonny and Joy and other locals could also suggest nearby areas with similar dense brush and topography. And it is also likely that Holly and John have already done this.

    I think that experience is relevant to interpreting the audio. It may at the end of the day be clear as a technical matter what is being said. It may also stay murky and require some judgment. If Holly and John have already walked down a similar brush-choked bowl and do think in their judgment that Marsh believing using sawyers to create a “cut vertical” escape route, through that bowl, was something Marsh was likely to do and say, then so be it. As to the effectiveness of doing this, I’d go so far as to say it might make sense to have a couple teams do test “vertical escape route clearings” through similar chaparral. We know from GM’s own extremely slow progress in that bowl that whatever cutting they may have done didn’t speed their progress much, if any. A slow walking pace is around 2 mph. GM moved at roughly a half-mile per hour. I believe that a couple fit and efficient teams trying to clear similar brush would likewise have a bear of a time. This could simply mean that GM made a spur-of-the-moment choice of tactic that could have worked elsewhere, but was the wrong choice that day. It could also imply, if doubt does remain over what was actually said, that it would be more likely for Marsh to have said “cuttin’ over,” as WTKTT suggests.

  71. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to Marti Reed post on January 30, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    >> Marti said…
    >>
    >> Thank you BUNCHES for doing ( the BR GPS detail ).
    >>
    >> Especially the segment from the Youth Camp to the
    >> Ranch House Restaurant, which I spent quite a few
    >> hours today working on vis a vis the photographs.

    Marti…

    I left the detailed LAT, LONG, DISTANCE, RATE information for the
    1610 to 1643 timeframe out of the BR tracking stuff I posted last night just
    because that post was focused on Captain Trueheart Brown’s ‘scouting trip’.

    I see what you are doing with the photos, however, and so here’s the detail on
    the REST of that time sequence from when they actually retrieved the GM
    Crew Carriers, went back to the Shrine to prepare to evacuate, and then the
    actual evacuation down to the Ranch House Restaurant.

    It’s actually pretty easy to tell from the MPH values when Brown ( with the BR
    GPS unit ) was probably just ‘walking’ around on foot over at the BR staging
    area at the Youth Camp and when he was probably ‘bombing around’ in the
    BR UTV itself like the trip to get the GM Carriers and the final ‘evacuation’ from
    Youth Camp to Ranch House Restaurant.

    I think it’s pretty easy to see from this detail that the BR UTV was never
    ‘loaded up’ in this timeframe. It simply remained ‘on the loose’ and Brown
    drove it all the way down to the Ranch House Restaurant during the evac
    either ahead of, or behind, the actual BR vehicle ‘convoy’.

    The final leg into the parking lot of the Ranch House Restaurant is the fastest
    I’ve seen the GPS tracking unit moving at any time which is 28.05 MPH.

    I hope some of this helps you with what you are doing.

    Same format as previous post.

    First the ‘more than you wanted to know’ section that has each LAT,LONG
    coordinate for each GPS update but only short text descriptions.

    Second part just has the distance and the rate value(s) with longer text.

    ** FULL BR MOVEMENT DATA WITH LAT/LONG, DISTANCE, RATE,
    ** SHORT DESCRIPTIONS FOR TIMEFRAME 1610 – 1643

    Here are the GPS tracking updates with full Latitude and Longitude
    coordinates for each ‘move’ as well as ‘Distance traveled’ ( in feet )
    and the corresponding travel rate between ‘moves’ as ‘Miles Per Hour’.

    This section has minimal ‘Descriptions’ of movements and is just
    the raw data. See below for the same time sequence without the
    actual Latitude/Longitude information and longer ‘Descriptions’.

    LEGEND:

    YC = Youth Camp
    SA = Sesame Area, where GM Crew Vehicles were parked
    CR = Cutover Trail, the EAST-WEST trail that connected SA to Shrine Rd.
    BR = Blue Ridge ( Hotshots )
    GM = Granite Mountain ( Hotshots )

    SJS = St. Joseph Shrine (on Shrine Road). Where Helmet-cam video was shot.

    COLUMNS:

    Time – Latitude, Longitude – Distance traveled – Rate – Description

    1610 – 34.227183, -112.752758 – 1360.570 ft – 15.46 mph – EAST to SJS parklot
    1611 – 34.227183, -112.752758 – 0000.000 ft – 00.00 mph – Stationary
    1612 – 34.228387, -112.754123 – 0607.333 ft – 06.90 mph – WEST on Shrine Rd
    1613 – 34.230605, -112.756720 – 1182.110 ft – 13.43 mph – To YC BR vehicles
    1614 – 34.229682, -112.757910 – 0498.075 ft – 05.66 mph – SOUTH in YC
    1615 – 34.230392, -112.759573 – 0550.779 ft – 06.26 mph – WEST in YC

    NOTE: START of quick trip WEST to get the GM Crew Carriers.

    1616 – 34.227784, -112.757031 – 1573.510 ft – 17.88 mph – Start of trip
    1617 – 34.227048, -112.759756 – 1087.330 ft – 12.36 mph – WEST on CT to GM
    1618 – 34.226498, -112.762395 – 0932.676 ft – 10.60 mph – WEST on CT to GM
    1619 – 34.227021, -112.766011 – 1391.570 ft – 15.81 mph – NORTH to GM
    1620 – 34.228440, -112.770420 – 1579.230 ft – 17.95 mph – ARRIVAL at GM park
    1621 – 34.227119, -112.767019 – 1241.040 ft – 14.10 mph – SOUTH in SA
    1622 – 34.226604, -112.761934 – 1864.230 ft – 21.18 mph – SOUTH in SA
    1623 – 34.227349, -112.758651 – 1153.780 ft – 13.11 mph – EAST on CT
    1624 – 34.229097, -112.756548 – 1280.420 ft – 14.55 mph – CT and Shrine Rd.
    1625 – 34.229629, -112.754971 – 1320.340 ft – 15.00 mph – Back at BR trucks

    NOTE: END of quick trip WEST to get the GM Crew Carriers.

    ALSO NOTE: During the following time the GPS tracker stays at the
    Youth Camp (YC) and there are only small movements in/around the area
    where the BR Crew Carriers are parked. The tracker remain right around
    the staging area inside the Youth Camp compound during this time…

    1626 – 34.229984, -112.755239 – 0130.596 ft – 01.48 mph – At BR trucks in YC
    1627 – 34.230126, -112.755518 – 0102.908 ft – 01.17 mph – At BR trucks in YC
    1628 – 34.230126, -112.755518 – 0000.000 ft – 00.00 mph – Stationary
    1629 – 34.230232, -112.755486 – 0052.238 ft – 00.59 mph – At BR trucks in YC
    1630 – 34.230436, -112.755765 – 0131.196 ft – 01.49 mph – At BR trucks in YC
    1631 – 34.230206, -112.756130 – 0145.208 ft – 01.65 mph – At BR trucks in YC
    1632 – 34.230206, -112.755346 – 0239.823 ft – 02.73 mph – At BR trucks in YC
    1633 – 34.230108, -112.755175 – 0077.278 ft – 00.88 mph – At BR trucks in YC
    1634 – 34.229851, -112.754949 – 0125.806 ft – 01.43 mph – At BR trucks in YC

    NOTE: Blue Ridge evacuates the Youth Camp (YC) and Shrine area now
    and BR convoy heads directly SOUTH to the Ranch House Restaurant.
    They only stop for 2 minutes on the way out at the parking lot
    of the St. Joseph Shrine to (apparently) speak to the firefighters
    who are already there and who, only minutes later, are going to
    be shooting the Helmet-Cam video that captures GM radio traffic.
    According to this GPS tracking… The BR GPS unit ( Brown ) was
    actually still there where the Helmet-Cam video was about to be
    shot just 60 seconds before GM Captain Steed transmits his first
    “We are in front of the flaming front” MAYDAY message at 1639.

    1635 – 34.228414, -112.754134 – 644.378 ft – 7.32 mph – EAST out YC driveway
    1636 – 34.227183, -112.752758 – 624.010 ft – 7.09 mph – At SJS parklot
    1637 – 34.227183, -112.752758 – 000.000 ft – 0.00 mph – Stationary
    1638 – 34.227183, -112.752758 – 000.000 ft – 0.00 mph – Stationary

    1639 – 34.224803, -112.749746 – 1342.03 ft – 15.25 mph – EAST on Shrine Rd
    1640 – 34.222603, -112.746935 – 1188.17 ft – 13.50 mph – Shrine Rd. and Hwy 89
    1641 – 34.217985, -112.750025 – 1966.14 ft – 22.34 mph – SOUTH on Hwy 89
    1642 – 34.213532, -112.755497 – 2468.58 ft – 28.05 mph – SOUTH on Hwy 89
    1643 – 34.213279, -112.755239 – 167.099 ft – 01.90 mph – Arrive Ranch House

    NOTE: 1643 is one of the estimated times of the burnover in the box canyon.

    ** SAME BR MOVEMENT DATA MINUS LAT/LONG AND LONGER
    ** TEXT DESCRIPTION(S) TIMEFRAME 1610 – 1643

    Here is the exact same BR GPS tracking data as above for the same
    1610 – 1643 timeframe, but this time the Latitude/Longitude values are
    removed and longer text descriptions of the actual movements are added.

    LEGEND:

    YC = Youth Camp
    SA = Sesame Area, where GM Crew Vehicles were parked
    CR = Cutover Trail, the EAST-WEST trail that connected SA to Shrine Rd.
    BR = Blue Ridge ( Hotshots )
    GM = Granite Mountain ( Hotshots )

    SJS = St. Joseph Shrine (on Shrine Road). Where Helmet-cam video was shot.

    COLUMNS:

    Time – Distance traveled (FEET) – Rate (MPH) – Description

    1610 – 1360.570 – 15.46 – EAST to SJS parklot
    1611 – 0000.000 – 00.00 – Stationary at SJS parklot
    1612 – 0607.333 – 06.90 – Back WEST to where Shrine Rd pavement ends
    1613 – 1182.110 – 13.43 – Back to Youth Camp BR vehicle staging area
    1614 – 0498.075 – 05.66 – A little SOUTH in YC but still on the property
    1615 – 0550.779 – 06.26 – A little WEST in YC but still on the property

    NOTE: START of quick trip WEST to get the GM Crew Carriers.

    1616 – 1573.510 – 17.88 – WEST on CT. Start of trip to fetch GM Carriers
    1617 – 1087.330 – 12.36 – WEST on CT towards GM Crew Carrier parking
    1618 – 0932.676 – 10.60 – WEST on CT towards GM Crew Carrier parking
    1619 – 1391.570 – 15.81 – NORTH in SA towards GM Crew Carrier parking
    1620 – 1579.230 – 17.95 – ARRIVAL at the GM Crew Carrier parking spot
    1621 – 1241.040 – 14.10 – Immediately headed back SOUTH again through SA
    1622 – 1864.230 – 21.18 – SOUTH in SA, then headed EAST on CT
    1623 – 1153.780 – 13.11 – Still heading EAST on CT
    1624 – 1280.420 – 14.55 – Arrival back where CT meets Shrine road
    1625 – 1320.340 – 15.00 – Arrival back with BR vehicles at YC.

    NOTE: END of quick trip WEST to get the GM Crew Carriers.

    ALSO NOTE: During the following time the GPS tracker stays at the
    Youth Camp (YC) and there are only small movements in/around the area
    where the BR Crew Carriers are parked. The tracker remain right around
    the staging area inside the Youth Camp compound during this time…

    1626 – 0130.596 – 01.48 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at YC
    1627 – 0102.908 – 01.17 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at YC
    1628 – 0000.000 – 00.00 – Stationary
    1629 – 0052.238 – 00.59 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at YC
    1630 – 0131.196 – 01.49 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at YC
    1631 – 0145.208 – 01.65 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at YC
    1632 – 0239.823 – 02.73 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at YC
    1633 – 0077.278 – 00.88 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at YC
    1634 – 0125.806 – 01.43 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at YC

    NOTE: Blue Ridge evacuates the Youth Camp (YC) and Shrine area now
    and BR convoy heads directly SOUTH to the Ranch House Restaurant.
    They only stop for 2 minutes on the way out at the parking lot
    of the St. Joseph Shrine to (apparently) speak to the firefighters
    who are already there and who, only minutes later, are going to
    be shooting the Helmet-Cam video that captures GM radio traffic.
    According to this GPS tracking… The BR GPS unit ( Brown ) was
    actually still there where the Helmet-Cam video was about to be
    shot just 60 seconds before GM Captain Steed transmits his first
    “We are in front of the flaming front” MAYDAY message at 1639.

    1635 – 0644.378 – 07.32 – EAST out the driveway of the Youth Camp (YC)
    1636 – 0624.010 – 07.09 – At the St. Joseph Shrine (SJS) parking lot now
    1637 – 0000.000 – 00.00 – Stationary at the SJS parking lot
    1638 – 0000.000 – 00.00 – Stationary at the SJS parking lot

    1639 – 1342.030 – 15.25 – EAST on Shrine Rd, almost to Highway 89
    1640 – 1188.170 – 13.50 – At intersection of Shrine road and Highway 89
    1641 – 1966.140 – 22.34 – SOUTH on Highway 89 to the Ranch House cafe
    1642 – 2468.580 – 28.05 – SOUTH on Highway 89 to the Ranch House cafe
    1643 – 0167.090 – 01.90 – Arrival at the Ranch House Restaurant (cafe)

    NOTE: 1643 is one of the estimated times of the burnover in the box canyon.

    • Marti Reed says

      Another thanks BUNCHES for this. It’s really helpful for me in trying to better identify what the Blue Ridge crew are seeing and capturing through and, thus, documenting through their camera lenses during this critical time.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Marti… I hear ya. The original latitude/longitude values
        from Blue Ridge’s GPS tracker are NOT actually
        available (yet). All we have to go on is that video.

        So I had to create a transparent ‘overlay’ map out of
        the background map in that video… lay it on top of
        a clickable copy of Google maps with a lat/long plugin
        that allowed me to ‘click’ on the blue dots in order to
        get each lat/long value for each GPS waypoint.

        Caveat: The might not match the actual original
        Blue Ridge GPS tracker values but I can guarantee
        accuracy within 20 feet or so for each waypoint.

        That’s the best we’re going to do unless we can ever
        see the ACTUAL data from the GPS unit and not
        just a video made from that original data.

        As I was doing all that ‘clicking and recording’ I could
        visualize other activity going on all around Brown… so
        I think I understand exactly what you are doing with
        the photos.

        QUESTION: It’s pretty clear now that the BR UTV was
        NOT ‘loaded up’ onto any trailer when they evacuated
        from the Youth Camp… but do you have a sense
        whether Brown evacuated AHEAD of the full BR
        vehicle Convoy… or just AFTER it?

        I’ve looked at the BR ‘Convoy’ video itself again a
        number of times and I don’t see any trace of a UTV
        there at the rear of the convoy… so either Brown
        did, in fact, precede the vehicle convoy… or he
        hung around at the Youth Camp in the UTV long
        enough to not appear anywhere ‘following it’ on
        the way down to the Ranch House Restaurant.

        I’m thinking Brown must have been at least 3
        minutes BEHIND the rest of the Convoy… probably
        because he stopped to talk to those Helmet-Cam
        firefighters at the St. Joseph Shrine parking lot.

        Brown was there with them ( The guys who were about
        to shoot the Helmet-Cam video capturing GM MAYDAYs )
        just 60 seconds before Steed came on the radio with
        his first “We are in front of the flaming front” message.

        If Brown had just stayed there ( in the UTV ) another
        50 or 60 seconds… we would acutally be SEEING
        him in that video.

        So based on conditions seen in that Helmet-Cam
        video, and the fact that Brown was there just 60
        seconds before it was shot…

        …I’m thinking that has to be proof that the full BR
        Convoy went on AHEAD of him… and arrived at the
        Restaurant about 3 minutes earlier than him at 1640.

        • Marti Reed says

          In case you missed it where I posted it somewhere over the rainbow up above:

          “Marti Reed
          on January 31, 2014 at 12:47 pm said:
          I think the reason for Trew’s little trip down Sesame to just north of that neighborhood wasn’t random.

          I believe, via the photos I’ve mentioned several times, they parked the utility truck somewhere around here, with the trailer attached, got the UTV off it and someone (not Trew) rode it in with Papich riding shotgun and taking photos.

          That would mean somebody had to go back and get it and drive it over to the Ranch House Cafe parking lot. I think that’s what the GPS is telling us is going on here.”

          I want to make sure you see this. I think it’s really important for clarification.

          Ok, now I’ll go back and read what you just wrote.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            That certainly would explain some of the
            GPS tracking that shows them down near
            that residence at the very south end of
            the Sesame Area and only about 100 yards
            west of where the pavement of Lakewood
            Drive in Glen Ilah ends ( as well as the
            still photo taken at that location with the
            white fence in it. ).

            I have towed open trailers with small
            pickups myself… in rural areas. It
            would make sense they would decide
            it to be safer ( and easier ) to offload the
            UTV there at the last bit of hard-pack road
            before getting into that possible ‘soft dirt’
            up ahead in the Sesame Area.

            It’s always a bad start to a work day when
            you get your loaded trailer stuck in soft dirt.

        • Marti Reed says

          Yes. I’ve been picking my way through the Blue Ridge Photos README.txt this afternoon. Some of it is not accurate, imho. But some of it offers details I wasn’t aware of.

          When Papich is taking photos while driving out of the Youth Camp in the GM Buggy, Brown and the atv and somebody else riding shotgun in it, are still there. Apparently this is part of the whole “getting those engines out” deal. So yes, I think Brown is a ways behind the rest of the convoy.

          And I think you’re right about the timing vis a vis his stopping at the Shrine just before they started hearing things and turned the helmet cam on. I’m guessing Brown and whoever was riding shotgun were hearing all that as they headed into town.

          And it also looks like the buggies were are all parked by the time Trew got there.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            The SAIT notes from the interview with
            Blue Ridge Hotshots ( Frisby, Brown,
            Fueller and Ball ) are pretty confusing
            in this entire timeframe… but this IS
            the following which matches what you
            just said about them ‘hearing’ the GM
            radio transmissions WHILE the convoy
            was in-transit from Shrine Youth Camp
            to the Ranch House Restaurant…

            Page 9 of SAIT Yarnell Investigation Notes
            Interview with Blue Ridge Hotshots

            Tie in with the crew at the ranch house and hit main rd @ 1640 they make a turn, and hear yelling on Tac 1, a little further they hear yelling on Tac 5 AA and GM7 yelling multiple times. AA says unit yelling at AA on A/G stop yelling and stand by. Marsh cuts in and says were cut off there cutting a deployment site, trying to burn around, cutting a deployment site, there is panic in his voice. Todd gets on AA and says raise GM on A/G. Focused on that Trew tries to raise GM on crew. He hears a keyed mic. Trew gets a crew member and sits him in GM trucks and says listen for anything on the radio. 1 minute later he hears click click. Brendan was w/ BR. B-33 is on scene trying to make passes calling them. Trying to get GM and pin point their location. Fire behavior was extreme.

            Couple of things about that…

            1) I’ve listened hard to the Blue Ridge
            Convoy video and there is no evidence
            of them hearing the GM radio traffic
            in the video itself. Not surprising. Video
            was shot out the back of the BR
            Crew Carrier and the radios were
            probably only audible up in the CAB.

            2) Their own notes here say that they
            had only just made the turn off Shrine
            Road onto Highway 89 ( what they
            refer to as ‘main road’ in their notes ) at
            1640. That would mean they ( the convoy )
            didn’t get all the way down to the cafe’ until
            about 1642. The Ranch House Restaurant
            wasn’t that far south from Shrine road…
            but you still had to go all the way through
            downtown Yarnell, around that big curve,
            and all the way down to Lakewood drive
            in Glen Ilah to reach the cafe’.

            Even so… 1642 is still 60 seconds before
            the GPS tracker puts Brown arriving there
            as well.

            So a lot of this is ‘matching up’, fer sure.

            Also… regarding them saying ‘Brendan
            is with BR’ in their notes… still not quite
            sure what that says about Brendan’s
            actual location in this whole timeframe.

            They only say ‘Brendan was with BR’
            AFTER they had arrived at the cafe’… so
            that COULD mean that Brendan never
            really did make it all the way to the
            Youth Camp and did not ‘convoy’ down
            from there with them. Brendan MAY
            have already been at the cafe’ in the
            GM Supervisor truck waiting for them
            all to arrive and was only ( technically )
            ‘with them’ again after the BR convoy
            arrived at the cafe’ circa 1642.

            The reason Brendan’s exact whereabouts
            in this exact timeframe is still important
            is because Brendan has said any number
            of times that he “spoke to Marsh and Steed
            and told them the vehicles were all safe
            at the cafe’ (now)… and to call me if
            they needed anything.”

            Well… if that really is true… then we know
            now that that moment when the GM
            vehicles really were “safe at the cafe’ now”
            ( ALL of them, not just GM Supt truck )
            didn’t take place until 1640-1643.

            That would mean Brendan supposedly
            had this ‘causal’ conversation with
            Marsh and Steed WHILE they were
            preparing the deployment site and
            climbing into their shelters.

            Not likely.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Sorry… bad single-word typo above.
              I meant ‘casual’ and not ‘causal’.

              Meant to say…

              That would mean Brendan supposedly
              had this CASUAL conversation with
              Marsh and Steed WHILE they were
              preparing the deployment site and
              climbing into their shelters.

              Not likely.

  72. Robert the Second says

    Something is up with the gatekeeping on this site all of a sudden.

    Benign, formerly-approved-type comments are now being relegated to the “Your comment is awaiting moderation” vortex.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Something to remember is that Mr. Dougherty has his
      WordPress settings at a level where just ONE hyperlink
      or a link to a document will allow a comment to bypass
      ‘moderation’…

      …but if there is MORE than just one external ‘link’ in any
      particular comment… it will go to ‘moderation’.

      Not sure if that’s what you’re seeing now… but something to
      keep in mind nonetheless.

  73. Robert the Second says

    Mike,

    Regarding the “turnover on these Crews.” GENERALLY, there is NOT high turnover on these Crews unless there are such things as internal issues. All rews have high turnover every 4-5 years or so (4-7 employees maybe) because of transfers, other jobs, marriage, personal reasons, and such.

    I ALLEGE the high turnover on the GMHS very well MAY have had to do with the ‘bad decsions with good outcome’ attitude that SEEMED to be prevelent.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      RTS… totally ‘ack’ all the GENERALLY, MAY and SEEM
      caveats you could muster up above and I totally agree.

      There MAY have been something more than just ‘coincidence’
      involved in what SEEMS to have been a ‘high turnover rate’
      just between the 2012 and 2013 season alone.

      It might not have been anything that ever rose to either a
      confrontational or even a documented level ( complaints,
      emails, memos, whatever )… or even anything that rose
      to a definable ‘feeling’ like “These people might get me
      killed”… but there MAY have been a palpable and similar
      “uncomfortable” feeling amongst previous employees after
      serving even just a single season with this particular crew.

      ONLY the people that did serve with this organization ( and are
      still alive to talk about it ) could shed any final clarity on all that.

      Was a SEEMING ‘high turnover rate’ just totally coincidence,
      or was there really more to it than mere coincidence?

  74. Robert the Second says

    WTKTT,

    Good job on the GPS and travel data above. Thanks. Regarding travel rates, 3 mph hiking is about average and 4 mph is hustling along, with gear. And the whole 40-60 pound fire pack thing is bogus. More media and PFD hype.

    I talked with BRHS today regarding their UTV. They had only ONE UTV, a Polaris Ranger. So, all references to “the Ranger” are their UTV, NOT a Ford Ranger. They did NOT ever borrow another ATV or UTV, although Frisby and Trew traded off from time-to-time. Trew did occasionally go off on his own on scouting forays.

    Regarding the ADOSH Report, a few folks I talked to since it was released said that there were as many as 80, yes 80, INACCURACIES in that report. Such as, the ICP was NEVER evacuated.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      RTS… thanks ( ongoing thanks ).

      Yes… the whole drill-down on the BR GPS thing actually
      ended up a study in ‘relativity’.

      At first glance… watching the BR Tracking video… it might
      appear there are places where a LOT of ground is being
      covered VERY quickly… which would indicate speeds
      greater than 20 mph or so.

      That’s what I THOUGHT I was seeing during that 21 minute
      period when Trew did his scouting pass on the cutover road.

      Not the case.

      It’s all ‘relative’. The ‘Ranger’ is actually NEVER moving
      near 20 mph at almost any time during the entire tracking video,
      except near the end when Trew ( and others ) were frantically
      searching for GM. THEN they were ‘hauling ass’, of course.

      So the ‘moves’ being seen for Trew’s scouting trip were
      ( in reality ) not ever really reaching a ‘speed’ that someone
      could not accomplish ‘on foot’. It only appeared that way.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          When I say ‘relative’ above I meant the difference
          between might seem apparent just LOOKING at
          the BR Tracking video and the ACTUAL distances
          and speeds involved. That’s all.

          Just watching that ‘blue dot’ move around on a
          TOPO map might APPEAR as if a lot of ground
          is sometimes being covered very quickly during
          the 60 second update periods.

          As it turns out… the moves are all ‘relative’ to the
          ACTUAL distances involved and the ACTUAL
          speed being achieved.

          Some of the moves and speeds are simply not
          as far or as fast as one might ‘assume’ just
          watching the blue dot jump around in the video.

          All the distances and times I’ve posted are the
          REAL DEAL. Distances are all actual ‘road
          distances’ ( curves and all ) and not ‘as the
          bird flies’.

    • Sitta says

      RTS,

      Thanks for clarifying things. Sorry I complicated things with phantom Ford Ranger!

      I agree with your assessment of the fire pack. I doubt they ever realistically weigh more than 35 lbs (my guesstimate) on a typical assignment, and they go down significantly in weight as the water gets used up. The absolute minimum water we carry is one gallon, which is 8 lbs by itself. The only time I’ve carried 60 lbs is when I’ve worn a “piss pump” and bladder bag on top of my regular pack.

  75. Bob Powers says

    Elizabeth I agree with you on the “help out at” That’s what I was hearing but with my hearing not willing to bet the farm on it

    If you are asking about the GPS time frame for BR.
    What is the relevance?
    Blue Ridge GPS is giving us a specific time frame for Frisby’s trip to the meeting and pickup of McDonough since we have very little time frame on Marsh it sets an estimated time he was at the meeting spot.
    It is part of the investigation to turn over every rock for evidence since the SAIT did not and more evidence has surfaced.
    I do not know what has been said that would distress family members please email me on specifics so I understand you.

    WTKTT a lot of work on all those GPS times on BR that really zeroed in on the info we were discussing Thanks.

    As far as Holly and Maclean, if they read here but wont give us any info on there findings and discuss it with us I have no hesitation to discuss there findings with out them, there adults in this discussion enough said.

  76. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to Marti Reed post on January 30, 2014 at 12:11 am

    >> Marti said…
    >> I’ve spent the entire day trying to make sense of everything having to do
    >> with Air Support, and at the end of it, nothing does. It’s really a complete
    >> jumble.
    >>
    >> But, as I was reading the ADOSH Inspection Narrative I found this:
    >>
    >> “September 4, 2013 – ADOSH e-mails five ex-Granite Mountain Hotshots
    >> requesting interviews.”
    >>
    >> Unfortunately, after that, there’s nothing indicating they got them.

    Not sure what ever happened with the ADOSH requests… but have you seen
    the ‘Privilege Log’ in Mr. Dougherty’s online Dropbox from the SAIT FOIA/FOIL
    request?

    That’s where they ( the Arizona Forestry Commission ) list documents that they
    were invoking standard FOIA ‘protect privacy’ privilege on.

    MOST of the MANY documents they invoked ‘privacy privilege’ on just say it was
    because there was at least one email address or at least one phone number
    somewhere in the document.

    Rather than just redact those single items… they invoked ‘privacy privilege’ on
    the ENTIRE document(s) whenever they could.

    See this folder in the SAIT package…

    Yarnell Hill Investigation Data Oct 10 2013 > Privilege Log
    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/s12ue25v999j4lk/gwLh1_p43N/Privilege%20Log

    • Elizabeth says

      TOTALLY not true, WTKTT. Yet again.

      You realize that folks like Holly Neill and various family members of the deceased GM guys READ this website, right? Therefore, with all due respect, my view is that you (and others on this website) have the obligation to be FAR more careful than you have been about what you say and what you assert as a fact.

      This is part of the reason why it HORRIFIED me (and annoyed me) that “mike” (whoever he is) lumped me in with you and others.

      • mike says

        I wanted to let sleeping dogs lie, but oh well.

        The conversation started by Marti about the forecast of the fire not reaching Yarnell for 1-2 hours and that letting GM think they had time was what set me off the other night. You had answered her, hence I used your name. I realize you might not had agreed with her. Nonetheless that should not have been the basis for GM to do something so reckless.

        As to a larger point, I think we have a broad idea already of what happened that day. Some details might be filled in, but I do not think they will essentially change the story (this includes a possible order). I think the major lessons have already been learned, and sadly are the same ones from other disaster fires. I think fullsail might have been right, this is less about lessons learned and more about getting a scalp.

        • Sitta says

          I can only speak for myself, Mike, but I’m NOT in this for a scalp (save my own, and my fellow crew members).

          I want to come home at the end of the day, and I want to be fully aware of anything that threatens that. I can study weather (so did Scott Norris), I can get in great shape (like the entire GMIHC crew), have a very experienced crew boss (like Eric Marsh), and apparently that isn’t enough. So why were these guys in so much danger, when they appeared so strong?

          How much could they control (e.g., adherence to safety rules and guidelines, choice of route, response to orders and requests), and how much was out of their control (e.g., bad commo, unrealistic expectations, a culture that promotes risk and heroism over safety — including when considering who gets promoted and rehired, a work/rest standard that guarantees deep fatigue at the end of an assignment).

          I still have some *theories* about what happened, and they remain just that. Until someone eventually speaks up to fill in the gaps, we’re left trying to piece this puzzle together ourselves. I honestly don’t know which, if any, of my theories are true. Every explanation I’ve heard or thought of just seems too crazy to be real.

          • mike says

            Sitta –

            Thank you for your very thoughtful response.

            I think active WFF are the ones least likely to be “scalp-hunting”, the lessons learned mean a lot more to you all. As much as your posts can reveal, I think you have the temperament and curiosity to be a fine leader.

            We may never know what factors blinded Marsh and the crew to the danger that day. Those things may not have been verbalized on the radio, and may have died with them. But we know a lot of things they did NOT do, things that would have kept them safe. And those lessons can protect you as well. Unfortunately those are not new lessons, they are the lessons of a lot of fire tragedies. And we are always looking for “new” lessons in these disasters. But just because they are old lessons, do not reject them. You do not have to repeat the mistakes others have repeated.

            Why the rest of the crew went along may be hard to know for sure as well. I do not know the dynamics of the GMHS crew. Many were young, and might have felt constrained, or did not know better. A couple of the squad bosses were new, they too might have been reluctant to speak up. Sometimes “groupthink” does just take over. Certainly one lesson should be safety is everyone’s business and people need to be able to speak up. I have had nurses go “Whoa” when I was doing something, and although I do not have a reputation as embracing the “team” concept of medicine, I know enough to stop and reassess what I am doing when that happens. I do not always change my actions, but I do reassess (and have changed course more than once).

            I truly hope the lessons of this fire do resonate and help protect future crews. That is the best we can hope for from such a sad event.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to Elizabeth on January 30, 2014 at 7:13 am

        .>> Elizabeth…
        >> TOTALLY not true, WTKTT. Yet again.

        And ( Yet again I ask )… WHAT is not TOTALLY TRUE?

        Are you saying the documents referenced above
        are NOT what they seem to be… documents withheld
        from release for the reasons stated?

        There ARE cases where document can be withheld
        from a FOIA/FOIL release… or be heavily redacted…
        and ‘privacy’ is one of the exceptions that can be
        claimed.

        You know that.

        If that’s NOT what they are… then what are all those
        documents in that folder?

        I’m serious.

        As Mark Twain said…

        “We are all ignorant… just about different things.”

        If I am TOTALLY misunderstanding what those
        ‘Privilege’ documents are in that Dropbox… then please
        TELL me ( and please enlighten the rest of us ) what
        the heck they really are?

        If you’re saying that you’re the only one who knows
        what that stuff really is… then please SHARE.

        >> Elizabeth also wrote…
        >> You realize that folks like Holly Neill and various family
        >> members of the deceased GM guys READ this
        >> website, right?

        Yes. Some of them have actually posted here and
        thanked ALL of us for what we are (trying) to do.

        >> Therefore, with all due respect, my view is that
        >> you (and others on this website) have the obligation
        >> to be FAR more careful than you have been about
        >> what you say and what you assert as a fact.

        I’m sorry… are you talking to people HERE… or people
        over at Wildfire Today? I’m confused.

        You don’t think publishing a theory ( before it even had
        a chance to be fully vetted like we try to do here ) that
        someone made it all the way to safety… and then ran
        BACK to their death… or not realizing that if your theory
        was in any way true it meant that ALL those men should
        have had the same amount of time to make it to safety…

        …might not have been a little disturbing to family members?

        Have you seen the press release that basically
        RETRACTS that ( unvetted ) theory now?

        • Elizabeth says

          WTKTT – Entire documents were NOT withheld. Rather, a word or two (or phone number or two) here or there were redacted. Your suggestion that someone was somehow withholding full documents rather than just redacting words is not accurate.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Reply to Elizabeth post
            on Jan 30, 2014 at 9:38 pm

            See reply to Marti just below.
            I see what you are saying… but I still can’t
            find ALL of the documents listed in all
            the files in the ‘Privilege Log’ folder that
            are using the standard ‘Bates’ style legal
            naming convention in Mr. Dougherty’s
            online Dropbox. Stay tuned.

            I’ll ask this question again ( I guess ) for
            about the fourth time.

            Does ANYONE have an actual MANIFEST
            for ALL the things that were actually
            included in this SAIT/FOIA package?

            Not contents. Just a simple MANIFEST
            of what is SUPPOSED to be in it.

            If anyone who made FOIA/FOIL package
            request has that… it would be great to
            see it.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Marti… Elizabeth did answer this just above (kinda).
          The ‘Privilege Log’ folder in the Dropbox contains
          4 documents that have lists of other documents
          using the standard ‘Bates’ naming convention for
          legal documents, and it then lists ‘Privilege’
          exceptions being claimed on THOSE documents.

          However… I still can’t find ALL of the ‘Bates’ name
          format documents listed in the ‘Privilege’
          documents in the actual FOIA/FOIL package.

          They MAY all actually be there… but as you can
          imagine… verifying that fer sure is going to take
          a while. Stay tuned.

  77. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** BLUE RIDGE HOTSHOT BROWN’S SCOUTING TRIP FROM 1529 TO 1550

    There was a lot of discussion yesterday and the day before about this
    ‘scouting trip’ that Blue Ridge Hotshot (Captain) Trueheart Brown took
    from 1529 to 1550 on June 30, 2013.

    The real mystery was whether or not he would HAVE to have had the BR UTV
    ( or anyone’s UTV ) to accomplish this full ‘scouting trip’… or whether
    it really could have fully accomplished ‘on foot’.

    If he really did NEED an ATV for that trip… then that was playing
    havoc with the known trip ( during that same time ) where Frisby took
    the BR UTV out to try and make that second face-to-face that Marsh
    had requested… which turned into the rescue mission for McDonough.

    I posted the following somwhere in that discussion…

    >> WantsToKnowTheTruth on January 28, 2014 at 3:33 pm said:
    >>
    >> I guess the only real answer to this part of the puzzle is to just
    >> take a moment and put a distance number on all the `moves’ being
    >> shown in that 21 minute time period and determine if we really are
    >> seeing a guy with a GPS unit `on foot’… or whether he really would
    >> have had to have some fast vehicle for some of those `moves’ recorded
    >> in the BR GPS tracking.

    Well… just to satisfy my own curiosity… I went ahead and did that.

    Results follow…

    ** SUMMARY

    From 1510 to 1516 ( 6 minutes ) The BR GPS tracker is simply moving
    around over near/around the Youth Camp on Shrine Road where the Blue
    Ridge Crew Carriers are now staged.

    At 1517, the GPS tracker leaves that area and heads WEST on the
    Cutover Trail that connects the Youth Camp area on Shrine Road
    with the ‘Sesame Area’ where the GM vehicles and the Blue Ridge
    Superintendent Truck are still parked.

    At 1520 ( 3 minutes later ) the GPS tracker STOPS at a point on
    the Cutover Trail near its western end.

    The GPS tracker remains stationary here for 8 minutes.

    It is during these 8 minutes when Frisby then ‘borrowed’ the BR UTV
    and headed west (alone in the UTV) to attend the second face-to-face
    meeting that Marsh must have just requested some few minutes earlier.

    So at this point the GPS tracker stay with Brown over at this
    western end of the Cutover Trail while Frisby heads WEST in the BR UTV.

    At 1529 we see the beginning of Brown’s documented ‘scouting trip’
    that he did during the time Frisby was trying to get out WEST for
    the second face-to-face meeting that Marsh had requested only a
    few minutes earlier. The GPS tracker movements have now SLOWED DOWN
    considerable, indicating that Brown performed this entire ‘scouting
    trip’ ON FOOT while Frisby had the ATV.

    From 1529 to 1541 we see Brown ‘walking/running’ EAST along the Cutover Trail.
    From 1542 to 1550 we see Brown ‘walking/running’ WEST back on the return trip.

    Brown’s slowest rate of travel in-between any 60 second GPS update
    during this ‘scouting trip’ is 1.07 mph.

    Brown’s fastest rate of travel in-between any 60 second GPS update
    during this ‘scouting trip’ is 5.31 mph.

    His ‘average’ rate of travel for the entire scouting trip all
    the way EAST and then back again is about 3.5 to 4.0 mph.

    This would be consistent with a healthy man being ‘on foot’and simply
    walking at a brisk, fast pace the entire time… EXCEPT for the following…

    The entire scouting trip took Brown 21 minutes.
    There are 21 60-second GPS updates during that time.

    For SEVEN of those 60 second ‘legs’ of his trip… his rate of travel
    exceeds 4.0 miles per hour and that would be considered either
    a ‘jog’ or a ‘running’ rate.

    For FOUR of those SEVEN… his rate exceeds 4.5 miles per hour.
    For ONE of those SEVEN… his rate suddenly jumps to 5.3 miles per hour.

    Anything over 4.5 mph ( and certainly 5.3 mph ) would be considered
    a VERY fast rate of travel for a man on foot on a winding dirt road
    so either Brown was, in fact, almost RUNNING during those 60 second
    travel segments… or he had ‘hitched a ride’ with someone or
    something… but JUST for those travel segments.

    Brown never exceeded 5.3 mph and he averaged only about 3.5 to 4.0 mph.,
    so there is no reason to believe that Brown would have had to
    have had an actual powered ATV for this ‘scouting trip’.

    There’s no real reason to believe he could NOT have accomplished this full
    ‘scouting trip’ on foot ( with, perhaps, just one or two hitched rides
    or times when he had to RUN quickly ) while Frisby was gone for with
    the BR UTV for 21 minutes.

    The fastest human, Usain Bolt, can reach 44.72 km/h (27.79 mph).
    The average long distance running speed of humans is 5 to 8 miles per hour.
    Average humans can sprint for short distances at 12 to 15 miles per hour.

    Brown stayed well within all those MPH limits for his entire ‘scouting trip’.

    ** FULL BR MOVEMENT DATA WITH LAT/LONG, DISTANCES,
    ** TRAVEL RATES, AND SHORT DESCRIPTIONS

    Here are the GPS tracking updates with full Latitude and Longitude
    coordinates for each ‘move’ as well as ‘Distance traveled’ ( in feet )
    and the corresponding travel rate between ‘moves’ as ‘Miles Per Hour’.

    This section has minimal ‘Descriptions’ of movements and is just
    the raw data. See below for the same time sequence without the
    actual Latitude/Longitude information and longer ‘Descriptions’.

    LEGEND:

    YC = Youth Camp
    SA = Sesame Area, where GM Crew Vehicles were parked
    CR = Cutover Trail, the EAST-WEST trail that connected SA to Shrine Rd.
    BR = Blue Ridge ( Hotshots )
    GM = Granite Mountain ( Hotshots )

    SJS = St. Joseph Shrine (on Shrine Road). Where Helmet-cam video was shot.

    COLUMNS:

    Time – Latitude, Longitude – Distance traveled – Rate – Description

    1510 – 34.228276, -112.753941 – 0000.000 ft – 00.00 mph – At entrance to YC
    1511 – 34.228276, -112.753941 – 0000.000 ft – 00.00 mph – Stationary
    1512 – 34.230263, -112.757267 – 1334.500 ft – 15.16 mph – NW corner of YC
    1513 – 34.229713, -112.756923 – 0204.331 ft – 02.32 mph – SOUTH on YC lot
    1514 – 34.229145, -112.756730 – 0359.642 ft – 04.09 mph – Back to Shrine Rd.
    1515 – 34.229944, -112.758640 – 0746.938 ft – 08.49 mph – WEST on Shrine Rd.
    1516 – 34.229163, -112.756859 – 0636.595 ft – 07.23 mph – EAST on Shrine Rd.
    1517 – 34.227300, -112.757417 – 0942.079 ft – 10.71 mph – WEST on CT
    1518 – 34.227216, -112.759042 – 0651.860 ft – 07.41 mph – WEST on CT
    1519 – 34.226480, -112.762883 – 1296.040 ft – 14.73 mph – WEST on CT
    1520 – 34.226187, -112.763903 – 0359.430 ft – 04.08 mph – WEST on CT. STOPS

    NOTE: The tracker is STATIONARY for 8 minutes here at the western end
    of the Cutover Trail (CT). Somewhere in these 8 minutes would appear
    to be the moment when Frisby borrowed the BR UTV for his solo trip
    out west for the second face-to-face meeting Marsh requested, and
    left to try and make that meeting ( only to have it turn into the
    rescue mission for Brendan McDonough instead )…

    1521 – 34.226187, -112.763903 – 0000.000 ft – 00.00 mph – Sationary
    1522 – 34.226187, -112.763903 – 0000.000 ft – 00.00 mph – Sationary
    1523 – 34.226187, -112.763903 – 0000.000 ft – 00.00 mph – Sationary
    1524 – 34.226187, -112.763903 – 0000.000 ft – 00.00 mph – Sationary
    1525 – 34.226187, -112.763903 – 0000.000 ft – 00.00 mph – Sationary
    1526 – 34.226187, -112.763903 – 0000.000 ft – 00.00 mph – Sationary
    1527 – 34.226187, -112.763903 – 0000.000 ft – 00.00 mph – Sationary
    1528 – 34.226187, -112.763903 – 0000.000 ft – 00.00 mph – Sationary

    NOTE: This is now the record of Brown’s 1529 – 1550 ‘scouting trip’
    where he (apparently) WALKS almost the entire length of the Cutover
    Trail (CT) to the EAST, then immediately turns around and WALKS
    back WEST again to the point where he started and arrives back
    there just as Frisby returns with the BR UTV.

    1529 – 34.226178, -112.764450 – 0149.672 ft – 01.70 mph – EAST on CT
    1530 – 34.226178, -112.764450 – 0000.000 ft – 00.00 mph – Stationary
    1531 – 34.226178, -112.764450 – 0000.000 ft – 00.00 mph – Stationary
    1532 – 34.226418, -112.763087 – 0410.240 ft – 04.66 mph – EAST on CT Start
    1533 – 34.226498, -112.762465 – 0180.530 ft – 02.05 mph – EAST on CT
    1534 – 34.226968, -112.761135 – 0467.143 ft – 05.31 mph – EAST on CT
    1535 – 34.226826, -112.759976 – 0374.364 ft – 04.25 mph – EAST on CT
    1536 – 34.227216, -112.759139 – 0309.871 ft – 03.52 mph – EAST on CT
    1537 – 34.227243, -112.758409 – 0251.268 ft – 02.86 mph – EAST on CT
    1538 – 34.226994, -112.757637 – 0224.759 ft – 02.55 mph – EAST on CT
    1539 – 34.227562, -112.757444 – 0305.361 ft – 03.47 mph – EAST on CT
    1540 – 34.228006, -112.756854 – 0203.820 ft – 02.32 mph – EAST on CT
    1541 – 34.228449, -112.756543 – 0184.107 ft – 02.09 mph – EAST on CT End
    1542 – 34.227828, -112.756972 – 0265.927 ft – 03.02 mph – WEST on CT Start
    1543 – 34.227065, -112.757455 – 0397.723 ft – 04.52 mph – WEST on CT
    1544 – 34.227314, -112.758581 – 0370.696 ft – 04.21 mph – WEST on CT
    1545 – 34.227110, -112.759643 – 0351.847 ft – 04.00 mph – WEST on CT
    1546 – 34.226941, -112.760223 – 0226.160 ft – 02.57 mph – WEST on CT
    1547 – 34.227003, -112.761177 – 0326.175 ft – 03.71 mph – WEST on CT
    1548 – 34.226569, -112.762068 – 0324.763 ft – 03.69 mph – WEST on CT
    1549 – 34.226480, -112.763119 – 0322.840 ft – 03.67 mph – WEST on CT
    1550 – 34.226187, -112.764471 – 0409.585 ft – 04.65 mph – WEST on CT End

    NOTE: Brown has now completed his ‘scouting trip’ along the Cutover
    Trail (CT) and has returned to where he started. Frisby is now back
    from his ‘rescue mission’ with the BR UTV. Brown gets back in the ATV
    right away (with Frisby) and this is now the start of quick trip
    out WEST to the NORTH end of the Sesame Area (SA) to move the
    BR Superintendent truck.

    1551 – 34.227057, -112.766048 – 0788.484 ft – 08.96 mph – NORTH in SA
    1552 – 34.227021, -112.767336 – 0412.537 ft – 04.69 mph – NORTH in SA
    1553 – 34.229256, -112.771348 – 1566.380 ft – 17.80 mph – NORTH in SA
    1554 – 34.231782, -112.773124 – 1197.480 ft – 13.61 mph – Arrive BR Sup truck
    1555 – 34.230223, -112.771692 – 0749.953 ft – 08.52 mph – SOUTH in SA
    1556 – 34.228893, -112.771145 – 0628.204 ft – 07.14 mph – SOUTH in SA
    1557 – 34.228582, -112.770619 – 0206.368 ft – 02.35 mph – SOUTH in SA
    1558 – 34.227216, -112.767636 – 1115.170 ft – 12.67 mph – SOUTH in SA
    1559 – 34.227012, -112.766038 – 0537.775 ft – 06.11 mph – SOUTH in SA
    1600 – 34.226196, -112.764471 – 0746.553 ft – 08.48 mph – EAST on CT
    1601 – 34.227101, -112.761027 – 1125.580 ft – 12.79 mph – EAST on CT
    1602 – 34.226977, -112.760587 – 0160.272 ft – 01.82 mph – EAST on CT (Slight)
    1603 – 34.226977, -112.760587 – 0000.000 ft – 00.00 mph – Stationary
    1604 – 34.227340, -112.758602 – 0703.909 ft – 08.00 mph – EAST on CT
    1605 – 34.229035, -112.756553 – 1187.240 ft – 13.49 mph – EAST on CT (Fast)
    1606 – 34.228742, -112.754740 – 0695.706 ft – 07.91 mph – EAST on Shrine Rd.
    1607 – 34.229851, -112.755491 – 0507.458 ft – 05.77 mph – Up driveway of YC
    1608 – 34.229851, -112.755491 – 0000.000 ft – 00.00 mph – At BR staging area
    1609 – 34.229851, -112.755491 – 0000.000 ft – 00.00 mph – Stationary
    1610 – 34.227183, -112.752758 – 1360.570 ft – 15.46 mph – EAST to SJS parklot

    NOTE: That’s it for the detailed Latitude/Longitude/Distance/Rate data.
    The following are just simply miniute-to-minute descriptions of the
    rest of the tracking data leading all the way up to the time of
    deployment out in the box canyon… including the trip to retrieve
    the Granite Mountain Crew Carriers…

    1611 – Still stationary at St. Joseph Shrine (SJS) parking lot
    1612 – Back WEST just a bit to where Shrine Rd pavement ends
    1613 – All the way back to Youth Camp BR vehicle staging area
    1614 – A little SOUTH in Youth Camp but still on the property
    1615 – A little WEST in Youth Camp but still on the property

    NOTE: START of quick trip WEST to get the GM Crew Carriers…

    1616 – Headed WEST on CT again. Start of trip to fetch GM Carriers
    1617 – Still heading WEST on CT towards GM Crew Carrier parking spot
    1618 – Still heading WEST on CT towards GM Crew Carrier parking spot
    1619 – Now headed NORTH in SA towards GM Crew Carrier parking spot
    1620 – ARRIVAL at the GM Crew Carrier parking spot.
    1621 – Immediately headed back SOUTH again through SA
    1622 – More travel SOUTH in SA… then headed EAST on CT
    1623 – Still heading EAST on CT
    1624 – Arrival back where CT meets Shrine road
    1625 – Arrival back where BR vehicles are parked at Youth Camp

    NOTE: END of quick trip WEST to get the GM Crew Carriers.

    ALSO NOTE: During the following time the GPS tracker stays at the
    Youth Camp (YC) and there are only small movements in/around the area
    where the BR Crew Carriers are parked. The tracker remain right around
    the staging area inside the Youth Camp compound during this time…

    1626 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at Youth Camp (YC)
    1627 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at Youth Camp (YC)
    1628 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at Youth Camp (YC)
    1629 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at Youth Camp (YC)
    1630 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at Youth Camp (YC)
    1631 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at Youth Camp (YC)
    1632 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at Youth Camp (YC)
    1633 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at Youth Camp (YC)
    1634 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at Youth Camp (YC)

    NOTE: Blue Ridge evacuates the Youth Camp (YC) and Shrine area now
    and BR convoy heads directly SOUTH to the Ranch House Restaurant.
    They only stop for 2 minutes on the way out at the parking lot
    of the St. Joseph Shrine to (apparently) speak to the firefighters
    who are already there and who, only minutes later, are going to
    be shooting the Helmet-Cam video that captures GM radio traffic.
    According to this GPS tracking… The BR GPS unit ( Brown ) was
    actually still there where the Helmet-Cam video was about to be
    shot just 60 seconds before GM Captain Steed transmits his first
    “We are in front of the flaming front” MAYDAY message at 1639.

    1635 – Heading EAST out the driveway of the Youth Camp (YC)
    1636 – At the St. Joseph Shrine (SJS) parking lot now
    1637 – Stationary at the SJS parking lot
    1638 – Stationary at the SJS parking lot
    1639 – Suddenly all the way EAST on Shrine Rd, almost to Highway 89
    1640 – At the intersection of Shrine road and Highway 89 now
    1641 – Heading SOUTH on Highway 89 to the Ranch House Restaurant
    1642 – Heading SOUTH on Highway 89 to the Ranch House Restaurant
    1643 – Arrival at the Ranch House Restaurant

    NOTE: 1643 is one of the estimated times of the burnover in the box canyon.

    ** SAME BR MOVEMENT DATA WITH LAT/LONG REMOVED
    ** AND LONGER TEXT DESCRIPTION(S) ADDED

    Here is the exact same BR GPS tracking data as above but this time
    the Latitude/Longitude values are removed and longer text descriptions
    of the actual movements are added.

    LEGEND:

    YC = Youth Camp
    SA = Sesame Area, where GM Crew Vehicles were parked
    CR = Cutover Trail, the EAST-WEST trail that connected SA to Shrine Rd.
    BR = Blue Ridge ( Hotshots )
    GM = Granite Mountain ( Hotshots )

    SJS = St. Joseph Shrine (on Shrine Road). Where Helmet-cam video was shot.

    COLUMNS:

    Time – Distance traveled (FEET) – Rate (MPH) – Description

    1510 – 0000.000 – 00.00 – On Shrine Rd, near entrance to Youth Camp (YC)
    1511 – 0000.000 – 00.00 – Stationary
    1512 – 1334.500 – 15.16 – Moved to NORTHWEST corner of YC property
    1513 – 0204.331 – 02.32 – SOUTH just a little, still on YC property
    1514 – 0359.642 – 04.09 – SOUTH across YC field back to Shrine road
    1515 – 0746.938 – 08.49 – WEST on Shrine Rd to where YC property ends
    1516 – 0636.595 – 07.23 – EAST on Shrine Rd along YC property line
    1517 – 0942.079 – 10.71 – WEST on the CT towards Sesame Area (SA)
    1518 – 0651.860 – 07.41 – Still heading WEST on CT
    1519 – 1296.040 – 14.73 – Still heading WEST on CT
    1520 – 0359.430 – 04.08 – More WEST on CT, then STOPS here for 8 minutes

    NOTE: The tracker is STATIONARY for 8 minutes here at the western end
    of the Cutover Trail (CT). Somewhere in these 8 minutes would appear
    to be the moment when Frisby borrowed the BR UTV for his solo trip
    out west for the second face-to-face meeting Marsh requested, and
    left to try and make that meeting ( only to have it turn into the
    rescue mission for Brendan McDonough instead )…

    1521 – 0000.000 – 00.00 – Sationary
    1522 – 0000.000 – 00.00 – Sationary
    1523 – 0000.000 – 00.00 – Sationary
    1524 – 0000.000 – 00.00 – Sationary
    1525 – 0000.000 – 00.00 – Sationary
    1526 – 0000.000 – 00.00 – Sationary
    1527 – 0000.000 – 00.00 – Sationary
    1528 – 0000.000 – 00.00 – Sationary

    NOTE: This is the section where Brown appears to be ‘on foot’. He takes a
    long walk EASTWARD on the Cutover Trail (CT) to almost where it meets the
    Shrine Rd., then he turns around and walks BACK (WEST) to where he started.
    This appears to be the time section where Frisby had ‘borrowed’ the BR UTV
    and headed WEST for his planned second face-to-face requested by Eric Marsh.
    This would also be the timeframe where that meeting was aborted and turned
    into the rescue mission for Brendan McDonough instead.

    1529 – 0149.672 – 01.70 – On CT, Slight (walking?) move WEST from 1520 spot
    1530 – 0000.000 – 00.00 – Stationary
    1531 – 0000.000 – 00.00 – Stationary
    1532 – 0410.240 – 04.66 – Slight movement EAST on CT. Start of EASTWARD trip
    1533 – 0180.530 – 02.05 – Slight movement EAST on CT
    1534 – 0467.143 – 05.31 – Slight movement EAST on CT
    1535 – 0374.364 – 04.25 – Slight movement EAST on CT
    1536 – 0309.871 – 03.52 – Slight movement EAST on CT
    1537 – 0251.268 – 02.86 – Slight movement EAST on CT
    1538 – 0224.759 – 02.55 – Slight movement EAST on CT
    1539 – 0305.361 – 03.47 – Slight movement EAST on CT
    1540 – 0203.820 – 02.32 – Slight movement EAST on CT
    1541 – 0184.107 – 02.09 – Slight movement EAST on CT. End of EASTWARD trip
    1542 – 0265.927 – 03.02 – Slight movement WEST on CT. Start of WESTWARD trip
    1543 – 0397.723 – 04.52 – Slight movement WEST on CT
    1544 – 0370.696 – 04.21 – Slight movement WEST on CT
    1545 – 0351.847 – 04.00 – Slight movement WEST on CT
    1546 – 0226.160 – 02.57 – Slight movement WEST on CT
    1547 – 0326.175 – 03.71 – Slight movement WEST on CT
    1548 – 0324.763 – 03.69 – Slight movement WEST on CT
    1549 – 0322.840 – 03.67 – Slight movement WEST on CT
    1550 – 0409.585 – 04.65 – Slight movement WEST on CT. End of WESTWARD trip

    NOTE: Frisby has now returned from his trip out WEST and has already dropped
    Brendan off at the GM Supervisor Truck. Frisby returns with the ATV to the
    exact point on the Cutover Trail (CT) where his WESTWARD trip started…
    and the next thing that happens is a very quick trip to retrieve/move the
    BR Superintendent truck parked out at the NORTH end of the Sesame Area (SA).

    1551 – 0788.484 – 08.96 – On CT. Start of ‘quick trip’ WEST to BR Supt truck
    1552 – 0412.537 – 04.69 – NORTH in SA towards BR Supt truck parking
    1553 – 1566.380 – 17.80 – NORTH in SA towards BR Supt truck parking
    1554 – 1197.480 – 13.61 – Arrival where BR Supt truck is parked top of SA
    1555 – 0749.953 – 08.52 – On the move back SOUTH through the SA again
    1556 – 0628.204 – 07.14 – Still heading SOUTH in the SA
    1557 – 0206.368 – 02.35 – Still heading SOUTH in the SA (Right by GM Carriers)
    1558 – 1115.170 – 12.67 – Still heading SOUTH in the SA
    1559 – 0537.775 – 06.11 – Still heading SOUTH in the SA
    1600 – 0746.553 – 08.48 – SOUTH in SA, then a left onto the CT. EAST on CT
    1601 – 1125.580 – 12.79 – EAST on CT (quickly). Seems to STOP at this point
    1602 – 0160.272 – 01.82 – Only a slight movement EAST on cutover road
    1603 – 0000.000 – 00.00 – Stationary
    1604 – 0703.909 – 08.00 – On the move EAST again on CT
    1605 – 1187.240 – 13.49 – Fast push EAST on CT almost all the way to Shrine Rd
    1606 – 0695.706 – 07.91 – Right on Shrine Rd, then EAST to YC entrance
    1607 – 0507.458 – 05.77 – Up YC driveway to where BR Crew Carriers parked
    1608 – 0000.000 – 00.00 – Stationary
    1609 – 0000.000 – 00.00 – Stationary
    1610 – 1360.570 – 15.46 – All the way EAST on Shrine Rd to SJS parking lot

    NOTE: That’s it for the detailed Distance/Rate data.
    The following are just simply miniute-to-minute descriptions of the
    rest of the tracking data leading all the way up to the time of
    deployment out in the box canyon… including the trip to retrieve
    the Granite Mountain Crew Carriers…

    1611 – Still stationary at St. Joseph Shrine (SJS) parking lot
    1612 – Back WEST just a bit to where Shrine Rd pavement ends
    1613 – All the way back to Youth Camp BR vehicle staging area
    1614 – A little SOUTH in Youth Camp but still on the property
    1615 – A little WEST in Youth Camp but still on the property

    NOTE: START of quick trip WEST to get the GM Crew Carriers.

    1616 – Headed WEST on CT again. Start of trip to fetch GM Carriers
    1617 – Still heading WEST on CT towards GM Crew Carrier parking spot
    1618 – Still heading WEST on CT towards GM Crew Carrier parking spot
    1619 – Now headed NORTH in SA towards GM Crew Carrier parking spot
    1620 – ARRIVAL at the GM Crew Carrier parking spot.
    1621 – Immediately headed back SOUTH again through SA
    1622 – More travel SOUTH in SA… then headed EAST on CT
    1623 – Still heading EAST on CT
    1624 – Arrival back where CT meets Shrine road
    1625 – Arrival back where BR vehicles are parked at Youth Camp

    NOTE: END of quick trip WEST to get the GM Crew Carriers.

    ALSO NOTE: During the following time the GPS tracker stays at the
    Youth Camp (YC) and there are only small movements in/around the area
    where the BR Crew Carriers are parked. The tracker remain right around
    the staging area inside the Youth Camp compound during this time…

    1626 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at Youth Camp (YC)
    1627 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at Youth Camp (YC)
    1628 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at Youth Camp (YC)
    1629 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at Youth Camp (YC)
    1630 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at Youth Camp (YC)
    1631 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at Youth Camp (YC)
    1632 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at Youth Camp (YC)
    1633 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at Youth Camp (YC)
    1634 – Still at BR vehicle staging area at Youth Camp (YC)

    NOTE: Blue Ridge evacuates the Youth Camp (YC) and Shrine area now
    and BR convoy heads directly SOUTH to the Ranch House Restaurant.
    They only stop for 2 minutes on the way out at the parking lot
    of the St. Joseph Shrine to (apparently) speak to the firefighters
    who are already there and who, only minutes later, are going to
    be shooting the Helmet-Cam video that captures GM radio traffic.
    According to this GPS tracking… The BR GPS unit ( Brown ) was
    actually still there where the Helmet-Cam video was about to be
    shot just 60 seconds before GM Captain Steed transmits his first
    “We are in front of the flaming front” MAYDAY message at 1639.

    1635 – Heading EAST out the driveway of the Youth Camp (YC)
    1636 – At the St. Joseph Shrine (SJS) parking lot now
    1637 – Stationary at the SJS parking lot
    1638 – Stationary at the SJS parking lot
    1639 – Suddenly all the way EAST on Shrine Rd, almost to Highway 89
    1640 – At the intersection of Shrine road and Highway 89 now
    1641 – Heading SOUTH on Highway 89 to the Ranch House Restaurant
    1642 – Heading SOUTH on Highway 89 to the Ranch House Restaurant
    1643 – Arrival at the Ranch House Restaurant

    NOTE: 1643 is one of the estimated times of the burnover in the box canyon.

    • Sitta says

      WTKTT,

      I haven’t double-checked your times and figures, but this is wonderful, wonderful work!

      11.3 minutes per mile is pretty quick hiking for a pack on, but within the range of possibility. I’ve seen a few guys (and one gal) do the pack test (45lbs for 3 miles) at that speed, so it seems within reason for short bursts wearing field gear.

      I’m going to copy your list to watch with the GPS video, so maybe I’ll finally get an idea of how all these locations relate.

      Thank you!!

      • Bob Powers says

        Pack test is on flat ground 11/2 mile test not a 5 or 6 mile test..
        I do a lot of Horse riding in the Mountains. Horses walk faster than people. On flat ground 5mph average.
        Mountains 3mph average. That’s at a walk. Horses in the mountains will out walk people two to one. 1 mile in 11 min. is fast in any ones book in the mountains. I could not keep that pace with a horse unless it was a trained endurance horse. 3 Mph. on a trail with no obstacle’s is doable for a crew.

        • Sitta says

          Current arduous work capacity test qualification is 3 miles, carrying 45 lbs, within 45 min. See page 13-10 in the redbook:
          http://www.nifc.gov/PUBLICATIONS/redbook/2012/Chapter13.pdf

          I’ve seen people complete it without running in 32 minutes.

          From 15:29 – 15:50 the GPS is recording movement along a relatively flat stretch of road.

          I’m not saying that Brown *didn’t* have a vehicle at that time, just that it’s not impossible (or improbable) that he was on foot.

          • Bob Powers says

            Unless some one is doing it different here in twin Falls the BLM and FS do it at the collage flat ground, not in the mountains, on up hill and down hill terrain. That would probably change the 45min requirements.
            And I am sure there are a few that could do the same in the mountains. I would have gladly hired you on my crew any time.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Please check away.
        That’s what this is
        all about here. Vetting conclusions and checking facts.

        Remember, though, that we already have at least one photo of Brown showing he was NOT wearing a pack at all in this timeframe.

      • Sitta says

        I can’t speak for everyone else, but here’s what I get out of this:

        1. Location/time of Brown, Frisby, and the Ranger UTV
        2. Time of McDonough pick up
        3. Time of face-to-face meeting and proposal of such
        4. Time that BR and GM buggies get picked up
        5. Therefore, time range of photos taken from lunch spot and resting place, and better understanding of the time stamps on those photos and videos.

        The timeline isn’t entirely clear yet. This can help.

        • Elizabeth says

          But for what purpose? So what if the SAIR and the ADOSH reports are off by small amounts of time? I am asking because I honestly do not understand, not by way of suggesting the reasoning is wrong.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Elizabeth… you have made it clear that
            YOUR primary reasoning for ‘investigating’
            this incident is that you simply want to know
            the WHY. Everything that doesn’t seem
            ( to YOU ) to be directly leading to an
            answer to that question seems irrelevant
            ( to YOU ). A diversion. A tangent.

            That’s OK. It really is.

            The entire country ( perhaps the world )
            still wants to know WHY… if that can
            ( still ) be possibly determined.

            But as for the DETAILS ( which you say
            don’t much matter )… that’s one of
            those things where an old saying just
            comes into play…

            To those who understand…
            No explanation is necessary.
            To those who do NOT…
            no explanation is possible.

            Some of us want to know the exact
            DETAILS of this event/incident almost
            as mush as we want to know the WHY.

            ( Re-read Marti’s eloquent post about this
            very thing somewhere above where you
            even responded asking if there was
            any litigation. )

            Perhaps we’re thinking of incidents in our
            own past where the DETAILS were, in
            fact, just as important as the WHY.

            Perhaps some of us are thinking of a LOT
            of children who are going to grow up
            without fathers who will, themselves,
            want to know EVERYTHING that
            happened that day… and perhaps even
            (many) grandchildren with the same desire.

            Perhaps we just simply WANT TO KNOW.

            To us… the DETAILS MATTER.

            They really do.

            If you don’t get that… I, personally, can’t
            explain it to you.

            I hope you find (only) what you seem to
            be looking for, here. I really do.

            But please don’t criticize a lot of us for
            diligently pursuing the DETAILS of that
            day just because YOU don’t think they
            matter.

            • Joy A. Collura says

              spot on, WWTKTT-

              I along with Sonny care for Elizabeth yet in recent times it did come off as you say above yet we also know she can be misunderstood when it comes to online communication. She is a fine woman.

    • Marti Reed says

      WTKTT!~

      Thank you BUNCHES for doing this!

      Especially the segment from the Youth Camp to the Ranch House Restaurant, which I spent quite a few hours today working on vis a vis the photographs.

      I had finally finished figuring out (and it wasn’t easy) that Trew was on/off/on the UTM in the midst of that firestorm with someone I haven’t yet id’d riding shotgun, as they rode from there through burning embers to the Ranch House in about 10 minutes, in time for him to be seen in that photo with Frisbee.

      In case anyone would like to revisit those visuals, here is the link to the video slideshow I made out of them and posted on YouTube:

      http://tinyurl.com/mmnlxlv

      • Marti Reed says

        Also, but I don’t have the energy to go into this in detail tonight, I am 100% sure Trew didn’t drive the UTV in, but someone did from somewhere south of where the photos of the road going past the little green house were taken from above it. This is the spot:

        34°13’13.35″N, 112°45’40.33″W

        The photographer was Papich, riding shotgun. That’s him in the DeSoto photo of the UTV.

        Papich is also the one who photographed Trew standing on the driver’s side of the ATV at the Youth Camp. McCord shot the photo of Trew and the ATV in the midst of the burning embers.

        When Papich shot Trew and the ATV at the Youth camp, he was on the driver’s side or in the drivers seat of a vehicle, but I don’t know which one. He also shot another photo from above that same green house on Sesame Street at 1635, but I am currently clueless as to how he managed to do that.

        Currently I don’t know where/what vehicle McCord was in when he shot the photo of Trew and the ATV in the burning embers.

        There are some folks that worked this fire that deserve some kind of medals. Maybe some people don’t believe these visual records are all that important. I think these guys took all these pictures for a reason.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          >> Marti wrote…
          >> Currently I don’t know where/what vehicle
          >> McCord was in when he shot the photo of
          >> Trew and the ATV in the burning embers.

          Not sure about that photo… but BR Hotshot
          Mccord is the one who shot the
          YARNELL_GAMBLE video ( circa 1630? )
          while sitting in the driver’s seat of one of the
          BR Crew Carriers.

          1630 still looks like the time of that video
          since that’s exactly in the middle of the time
          when the BR GPS tracking shows they were
          just ‘preparing to leave’ the Youth Camp area
          and the fire was just coming over the ridge…
          which is what Mccord was actually trying
          to capture in that YARNELL_GAMBLE video.

          • Marti Reed says

            Thx for that reminder! I tend to focus more on stills than video, partly bcuz Lightroom can get squirrely in how it shows videos.

            McCord’s camera was way off in it’s timestamping. I has to move it around a bit to get the sequences I used for my YouTube video.

            One of the bennies to me of your listing of the GPS data of Trew evacuating is that it, relative to the photos, accurately tells me when Trew arrived at the Ranch House Cafe parking lot. That’s pretty major because the only time-stamped photo we have from that parking lot is McCord’s photo of Trew, Frisbee, and a part of the crew, with Trew and Frisbee on radios.

            All the other photos we have of the parking lot are media photos and, off the top of my head, I don’t think any of them are timestamped. That’s been really frustrating for me.

            When I synced McCord’s photos, I forgot to sync the video with them. So it still has the rather wildly original inaccurate timestamp. I’m gonna sync that video to the others I already synced.

            Next, I’m gonna assume McCord’s pic of Trew and Frisbee is most likely about five minutes or so after Trew arrived there. So I’m gonna sync that photo to that time. Then I’ll re-sync the rest of his stuff to that photo and see what happens. It may help get a bead on when he took that video.

            Also, I think the visual info in that video is totally peripheral. It’s all about the radio capture. But it does help me that you reminded me he’s in the buggy when he takes it. One less vehicle to try to identify.

          • Marti Reed says

            I think the reason for Trew’s little trip down Sesame to just north of that neighborhood wasn’t random.

            I believe, via the photos I’ve mentioned several times, they parked the utility truck somewhere around here, with the trailer attached, got the UTV off it and someone (not Trew) rode it in with Papich riding shotgun and taking photos.

            That would mean somebody had to go back and get it and drive it over to the Ranch House Cafe parking lot. I think that’s what the GPS is telling us is going on here.

  78. mike says

    John MacLean has a new post up at Wildfire Today. Basically backing away from the “house” claim and that about Marsh’s location. Now emphasizing the fact the videos show ongoing communication about the move and the fact that these conversations were not revealed in the investigation interviews (except I guess for the Musser request, revealed by ADOSH). Both the latter points are very valid, they were overshadowed by the claim about the word “house”.

  79. Elizabeth says

    “HELP OUT AT” – that is what the audio says. Not “JUMP OUT AT.” As in “GM is going to the ‘structures’ toward ‘Cordes’ to ‘help out at’ those structures.”

    • Elizabeth says

      WTKTT – you cut the CONTEXT of the clip. It says “help out at” – a discussion is being had about where GM is going, and they are going to “help out at” the structures in Yarnell, with Cordes, who has been calling for help.
      That said, if you have a meaning for the phrase “jump out at,” please tell us. What does it mean?

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to Elizabeth on January 30, 2014 at 6:47 am

        >> Elizabeth said…
        >> WTKTT – you cut the CONTEXT of the clip.
        >> It says “help out at”

        Elizabeth… I may be the only one who has actually
        identified the REAL context of the clip. H&M didn’t
        even attempt to translate the REAL start of the
        whole exchange in that video which begins with
        the conversation between ASM2 and ground command.

        The ENTIRE context of that captured conversation is
        that ASM2 wanted ground to check on Granite themselves
        and at least find out if Marsh was ‘with’ the group of
        men he could already ‘see’ down there ‘behind those
        hills’ and ‘on the corner’ ( of the fire ).

        Regardless… I’m confused now about EXACTLY
        what piece of that video YOU are actually even
        talking about.

        Please give me an exact minute:second value for
        the part that you are saying says “help out at”.

        Your lack of detail ( and context ) in your own post(s)
        leaves me wondering if I’m even understanding what
        PART of the video YOU are even talking about.

        >> a discussion is being had about where GM is going,
        >> and they are going to “help out at” the structures in
        >> Yarnell, with Cordes, who has been calling for help.

        Sorry. I’m even more confused now.

        Are you saying that Cordes has been identified in
        the background audio of that AIR STUDY… or that there
        is now some other new evidence that Cordes ( like
        Musser ) was specifically reques