Forest Service ignored information from hotshot leaders about Granite Mountain’s history of bad decisions

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The first of 19 hearses carrying the bodies of the Granite Mountain Hotshots passes through Peeples Valley, AZ.

The first of 19 hearses carrying the bodies of the Granite Mountain Hotshots passes through Peeples Valley, AZ.

The Yarnell Hill fire investigation conducted by the U.S. Forest Service deliberately ignored information provided by a former hotshot superintendent that the leader of the Granite Mountain Hotshots had a documented history of making bad decisions in violation of basic wildfire safety rules, federal records and interviews reveal.

A second former hotshot superintendent also contacted the Forest Service investigation leader, Mike Dudley, and reported that his conversations with Yarnell Hill wildfire supervisors immediately after the fire pointed to human error by the crew’s leaders as the only plausible explanation for what happen.

The communications are among 2,400 pages of records obtained by InvestigativeMEDIA from a 2014 Freedom of Information Act request. The records were released earlier this year and are heavily redacted even though the investigation was completed in September 2013.

Granite Mountain Hotshot Superintendent Eric Marsh’s decision-making was called into question by men who had directly worked with Marsh, or were aware of his reputation with other hotshot superintendents, in the weeks following the June 30, 2013, tragedy when Marsh and 18 members of his crew were overrun by fire.

Rather than contacting the hotshot superintendents to gather more information to determine what might be relevant to the Yarnell investigation, Forest Service investigators never replied to their emails that raised questions about Marsh’s competence.

Instead, senior Forest Service personnel derisively dismissed the emails and warned others who were copied that questions about Marsh’s leadership “tend to lead to a place they should not go.”

Following up on Marsh’s history of questionable decision-making could have provided insight into what remains today the fundamental unanswered question about the single largest loss of life of an interagency hotshot crew:

Why did Granite Mountain leave a burned-over, safe zone on top of the Weaver Mountains and descend into a box canyon packed with chaparral at the hottest time of day, without a lookout, with a rapidly moving wildfire approaching and a thunderstorm bearing down?

The Forest Service investigation concluded that nobody did anything wrong and that all actions taken by Yarnell wildfire supervisors and the Granite Mountain crew were reasonable and appropriate.

Other information that has surfaced since the report’s release indicates that Marsh ordered the crew to move from its mountaintop safety zone and head to a ranch house in the valley that was considered a safety zone because there was cleared vegetation around its perimeter.

Moving to the Boulder Springs Ranch would have put the crew in position to re-engage the fire that was sweeping through Yarnell and forcing mass evacuations of elderly people. The crew was about 600 yards west of the ranch when it was overrun by 2,000-degree flames.

The Arizona Forestry Division contracted with the Forest Service to conduct the Yarnell Hill fire investigation, which was ignited by lightning on state trust land on June 28, 2013. The forestry division released the Serious Accident Investigation Report in September 2013.

The investigation’s conclusion stands in sharp contrast to the assessment by other hotshot superintendents.

“These (Granite Mountain Hotshot) guys really messed up and paid for it with their lives,” retired Payson Hotshot Superintendent Fred Schoeffler wrote Dudley in a July 27, 2013, email. Schoeffler led the Payson crew for 26 years, the longest serving hotshot superintendent in history.

In his email, Schoeffler told Dudley that he had talked with the senior Yarnell Hill fire commanders and had been to the fatality site located at the base of the Weaver Mountains west of the small retirement community of Yarnell.

“This was absolutely a tragedy, no doubt – however it was one that was clearly avoidable,” Schoeffler writes. “I come to no other conclusion that (the deaths were caused by) Human Factors and human error on all this…but it’s hard to make heroes out of those who messed up fatally.”

Schoeffler’s email raised concerns that the structural firefighting philosophy focused on putting out fires and saving structures is creating dangerous situations in fighting wildfires and that Yarnell Hill is a tragic example. Wildfire crews typically construct firebreaks to encircle a wildfire and allow it to burn out.

The Granite Mountain Hotshots was the only hotshot crew in the country that was part of a structural fire department, in this case, the Prescott Fire Department. The structural firefighting mentality “is dangerously seeping into the wildland realm and needs to be stopped,” Schoeffler warned.

A few days later, Dudley received another email about the actions taken by the Granite Mountain crew and Marsh.

On Aug. 5, 2013, former Geronimo Hotshot Superintendent Dave Provencio sent Dudley an email raising concerns about Marsh’s decisions on previous fires. The Geronimo Hotshots are based on San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation east of Phoenix and frequently worked with Granite Mountain on fires.

“As you may know there are many of us Hotshots, past and present IHC superintendents that are not very happy with the decisions made at Yarnell Hill,” Provencio wrote.

“Yarnell Hill, although tragic, does not come as a surprise to me and many of us. To me this was just part of a trend that ended with this tragedy,” Provencio stated.

Provencio told Dudley that he had worked directly with Marsh on several assignments between 2010 and 2012 when he was the Geronimo superintendent and that Marsh had made recommendations to do work that was dangerous and there was no choice but to turn down his requests.

“If you would like to discuss those particular assignments, I have them well documented in writing, and in my mind,” Provencio wrote.

Moments later, Dudley forwarded Provencio’s email to other members of the investigation team including Steve Holdsambeck, the Forest Service’s firefighting safety program manager.

Dudley, however, didn’t forward Provencio’s email to Brad Mayhew, a member of the investigation team who was in charge of considering what role human factors played in the Yarnell fire catastrophe.

Holdsambeck, meanwhile, quickly responded by issuing a warning.

“Obviously you need to be careful how you respond to this,” Holdsambeck’s email states. “My advice would be somewhere between these two options:”

The options, however, are unknown because the Forest Service redacted the information from the email.

Another Forest Service official responded a few minutes later to Holdsambeck’s warning stating that Provencio’s comments “tend to lead toward a place he should not go.”

Provencio sent a second Aug. 5 email to Dudley providing more details on an assignment Marsh recommended to other hotshot crews that was turned down because it violated basic wildfire safety rules and was an example of “poor decision making.”

“I’m alive and my people are alive to tell you my story,” Provencio wrote. “I don’t agree that they are heroes…”

The next day, Aug. 6, 2013, Dudley made it clear to two other Forest Service officials playing a key role in the Yarnell investigation that he was not going to contact Provencio for more information.

“I’ll let you decide if either of you want to talk to him,” Dudley wrote. “I’m not.”

No one from the Forest Service investigation team ever contacted Provencio. If they had, they would have heard an account that would have been very difficult to dismiss.

In an interview with InvestigativeMEDIA, Provencio provided details of a situation on the Horseshoe 2 Fire on the Coronado National Forest in southern Arizona in 2011 where Marsh was a division supervisor and made a recommendation for work that was rejected by four hotshot superintendents. (Marsh was a division supervisor at the Yarnell Hill fire where he oversaw Granite Mountain, which was under the command of his assistant, Jesse Steed.)

“Marsh’s expectation was we can get this done in a short amount of time,” Provencio said. But Provencio and the other hotshot superintendents thought otherwise.

“There was just too much against us. The steep slopes, the weather, there was no safety zone, no escape routes,” Provencio said. “All the ducks were lining for a bad day, a bad week.”

The superintendents, Provencio said, all agreed that Marsh’s plan would likely end up with the hotshot crews being forced to “hurry” off the mountain. Being in a hurry, Provencio said, is something that hotshot crews never want to encounter.

“We said no, we don’t want any part of this,” Provencio said.

Marsh, Provencio said, was “pissed off” that his fire plan recommendation was turned down.

“He basically didn’t talk to us after that,” Provencio said.

Marsh, Provencio said, had quickly developed a reputation for pushing his crew to outperform other hotshot crews. By 2009, other hotshot crew superintendents began derisively referring to Marsh as “One Up” because of his attitude.

“His mentality was that when you came into a situation, a fire, an assignment…we are going to one up” any other crew that was working along side, Provencio said. “We are going to bust our asses, go down into the ugliest, most dangerous situation, we will show these guys we’re not pussies.”

“It was sad the way his mindset was,” Provencio said. “That’s the way he worked. I didn’t like that.”

Granite Mountain’s reputation was well known and a lot of crews, including his own, didn’t want to work with Marsh and his crew, Provencio said.

“I hoped I didn’t end up on the same piece of line as them,” he said.

Provencio said he talked to Yarnell Hill fire supervisors, including planning operations supervisor Paul Musser, and Blue Ridge Hotshot Superintendent Brian Frisby, immediately after the Granite Mountain crew was burned over as recovery efforts were under way.

“They were in shock in what had transpired and why it came down that way,” Provencio said.

In October 2013 a group of hotshot superintendents went to the Yarnell Hill fire fatality site and went over the scenario they believe led to the tragedy, Provencio said.

The hotshot superintendents concluded that the Yarnell Hill disaster was one that many of them saw coming for years. The crew, under Marsh’s leadership, had been lucky until June 30 because it had survived a series of bad leadership decisions.

“This shit shouldn’t have ever happened,” one hotshot superintendent said during the gathering of those who best know how a hotshot crew should safely operate.

© Copyright 2016 John Dougherty, All rights Reserved. Written For: Investigative MEDIA

Comments

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Repy to calvin post on June 20, 2016 at 7:42 pm

      >> calvin said…
      >>
      >> Am I the only one who wants to see Provencio s documentation?

      Nope.

      Most of the ‘discussion’ below got myopically focused on what may or may not have actually happened at just ONE particular ‘incident’… the 2011 Horseshoe 2 fire.

      That completely misses the POINT of what David Provencio himself was trying to tell SAIT Co-Lead Mike Dudley.

      David Provencio said he had WRITTEN PROOF for MULTIPLE ‘incidents’.

      Former Gernonimo Hotshots Superintendent ‘closed’ his email to SAIT Co-Lead Mike Dudley with the following…
      —————————————————————————————-
      Having worked with Granite Mtn before (we were next door neighbors), at San Carlos Apache Tribe, with Geronimo IHC. I can name several assignments from 2010 – 2012 where Eric Marsh made recommendations on some fire line work, BUT there was no other decision but turned it DOWN….. Yarnell Hill, although tragic, does not come as a surprise to me and many of us.

      To me this was just part of a trend that ended with this tragedy.

      If you would like to discuss those particular past assignments, I have them WELL DOCUMENTED in WRITING, and in my mind.

      Thanks for listening.

      Dave

      David Provencio xxxxxxxx (a) xx.com
      —————————————————————————————–

      Key phrases…

      “I can name several assignments from 2010 – 2012”

      As in: SEVERAL = More than just the 2011 ‘Horseshoe 2’ fire.

      “…this was just part of a trend…”

      As in: NOT just about what did or didn’t go on at the 2011 ‘Horseshoe 2’ fire.

      “If you would like to discuss those particular past assignments…”

      As in: assignments = PLURAL = MORE than just ONE.

      “I have them WELL DOCUMENTED in WRITING, and in my mind.”

      As in: them = PLURAL = MORE than just ONE

      So yea… it would be nice to see ALL of the information for ALL of these incidents that former Geronimo Hotshot Superintendent David Provencio was telling SAIT Co-Lead Mike Dudley he had ‘documented’… and were the basis for what Provencio says was an obvious trend, and not just some one-off ‘bad’ and/or ‘risky’ decision making on just one particular incident.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Personally… I don’t believe that ( as Ms. Holly Neill tried to assert ) just because David Provencio might have been ‘assuming’ Marsh was a DIVS ( since he was handing out line assignments that day ), when he ‘technically’ might not have been give that actual ‘field promotion’… that it changes the rest of the ‘general’ circumstances he was offering to report about to the SAIT.

          Even Ms. Neill herself is not arguing that a ‘turn down’ actually took place… and that it became a ‘big deal’ that day… which is the ‘essences’ of what Provencio was trying to report.

          The article above is not about one particular incident.

          It is about someone who was Eric Marsh’s equivalent ( a Type 1 IHC Superintendent ) offering to supply actual ‘written documentation’ to Mike Dudley that MIGHT be relevant to why 19 men ended up dead on the floor of a fuel-filled box canyon…. but Mike Dudley didn’t even bother to follow up.

          If Marsh really did have a ‘nickname’ amongst his peers of “Mr. One Up”… then that is RELEVANT to what might have been the cause of the fatalities in Yarnell, on June 30, 2013.

          Keyword: RELEVANT.

          Maybe not a full explanation of what happened… but certainly ‘part of the story’ and any investigators worth their salt WOULD have ‘followed up’ on the ‘documented evidence’ that was being offered to them.

          All Ms. Neill was trying to do was introduce some ‘element of doubt’ about the veracity of just ONE of the incidents that Provencio was referring to… without even fully ‘investigating’ it ( or the other incidents ) herself.

          The STORY ( being told by the article above ) is/was not intended to be a full investigation of all this, either. It was Mike Dudley himself who had the opportunity ( and the obligation ) to do that… but he refused.

          The STORY ( being told by the article above ) is that a number of respected Type 1 IHC Superintendents were actually not surprised, in any way, to learn that Eric Marsh and Granite Mountain had just taken one risk too many… and that they had REASONS to not be ‘surprised’.

  1. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to Holly Neill post on May 31, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    >> Holly Neill said…
    >>
    >> Refusal/turn down protocols were used by Geronimo and the other
    >> IHC, and alternative suggestions were made to ‘back up to the next
    >> ridge’. But the original strategy and tactics led by the Branch Director,
    >> Operations Chief and Division Supervisor went forward as planned…

    …and then there was an ENTRAPMENT at this 2011 Horseshoe Two fire…
    …and Wildland Firefighters almost DIED.

    Funny you didn’t mention that.

    ** THE ENTRAPMENT AT THE 2011 HORSESHOE TWO FIRE

    Most of the online articles about the ‘Entrapment’ that took place at the 2011 ‘Horseshoe Two’ fire ( the one under discussion below ) contain links to the original release of the official ‘Horseshoe Two Entrapment Investigation Report’…

    …but most of those are DEAD LINKS.

    There is nothing there ( what WAS there has been REMOVED ).

    But the following appears to be the ‘new’ link to view those ‘Horseshoe Two Fire Entrapment Investigation Reports’…

    Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center
    Horsehoe 2 Fire ( 2011 )
    State: Arizona
    Incident Type: ENTRAPMENT
    http://www.wildfirelessons.net/orphans/viewincident?DocumentKey=0a7475d4-6060-4faf-848f-920e2e0d9158

    The Horseshoe Two Fire ENTRAPMENT took place after a ‘planned’ manual ‘burnout’ operation that was started at 12:30 PM.

  2. Holly Neill says

    I would like to comment on a recent article titled “Forest Service Ignored Information From Hotshot Leaders About Granite Mountain’s History of Bad Decisions”.

    From the article:
    “In an interview with InvestigativeMEDIA, Provencio provided details of a situation on the Horseshoe 2 Fire on the Coronado National Forest in southern Arizona in 2011 where Marsh was a division supervisor and made a recommendation for work that was rejected by four hotshot superintendents. (Marsh was a division supervisor at the Yarnell Hill fire where he oversaw Granite Mountain, which was under the command of his assistant, Jesse Steed.) …
    “Marsh’s expectation was we can get this done in a short amount of time,” Provencio said. But Provencio and the other hotshot superintendents thought otherwise”.

    Without additional information, it might be easy to oversimplify and condense Provencio’s account into a neat conclusion…suggesting that Eric Marsh acted in an unsafe/dangerous manner as Division Supervisor with supervisory responsibility for multiple IHC’s….all leading to evidence of “Granite Mountain’s history of bad decisions”. However, I believe it is important to follow through and check facts for such serious allegations.

    Marsh was not assigned Division Supervisor as stated, but was assigned Crew Boss (CRWB) on Horseshoe 2 fire in 2011. There are no records or sources* to indicate that Eric Marsh was assigned Division Supervisor.
    *SAIT: H: Qualifications: Master Record: Eric Marsh: pg 335
    *Crew Fire Record 2011: Eric Marsh: pg 340
    *Other: personnel recollections and payroll records.

    Personnel from the Horseshoe 2 fire, including the Type 1 Incident Commander and other overhead, provided their accounts for additional clarification.The following recollection is from overhead personnel on the Horseshoe 2 fire, who wants to remain anonymous:

    “I remember flying it and seeing it. It was a pretty tight little area. We were debating if we should back up to the next ridge or not, and there were a lot of conversations like that going on. Eric (Marsh) had the crew (GMIHC). They were coming down a ridge bringing fire with them. He asked Geronimo and another IHC from California to hike up to them and grab it and take it the rest of the way down. Both crews turned it down. There were a lot of conversations going on about this. The IC’s got involved when the two crews said they were turning it down. The two crews wanted to back up to the next ridge.”

    The Type 1 Incident Commander provided additional information about the refusal/ turn down protocol used by Provencio and the other IHC. Marsh was not assigned as Division Supervisor on Horseshoe 2 fire; he was assigned as Granite Mountain superintendent/crew boss. He was part of a group of 12-14 IHC superintendents. The planning and decision process was led by the Type 1 Operations Section Chief, Branch Director and Division Supervisor.

    The team had a very tricky piece of open line on the west side of the fire and they were trying to figure out how to best handle it. There were a multitude of options. Risk Management/Safety was the first priority.

    There were some long, well thought out discussions on the GO/ NO GO decision to fight the fire aggressively on the west side, and at the end, everyone agreed to go with the plan. When all the lines were constructed and in place (a couple days of extremely hard work by the hotshot crews that were there), and it was time to burn it out, there were a couple hotshot crews who decided it wasn’t safe and refused the assignment. (Not four crews as Provencio states…the recollection being two crews… Geronimo and another IHC from California.)

    The refusal caught everyone off guard because of the earlier agreements. It caused a serious delay in the operational work, by setting everything back several hours and putting a lot of extra strain on all the other hotshot crews that continued with the work. The refusal was a HUGE thing to the Incident Management Team. They immediately reviewed all of their plans, the thought process, the risk management, the values at risk, etc.….

    At the end they all agreed that it still was the best option, and the crews that were up there also agreed.

    When they were finally able to get on with the implementation, everything went off as planned. Crews burned and held some really difficult line. The lines held through the day, but early the next morning a spot fire took off, which erased all that the crews had gained—it was a sad time for everyone. Was part of the reason being the delay caused by the refusal??

    “Probably, but that was the hand we were dealt and we went with it….Those hotshot crews that implemented all the work were outstanding in their efforts and attitude—as good as it gets as far as I am concerned”. — Dugger Hughes, ICT1

    Refusal/turn down protocols were used by Geronimo and the other IHC, and alternative suggestions were made to ‘back up to the next ridge’. But the original strategy and tactics led by the Branch Director, Operations Chief and Division Supervisor went forward as planned, although serious delays occurred as a result of the refusal.

    The following link is to a letter and certificate of commendation from the Southwest Area Incident Management Team, to The Granite Mountain IHC for their professional work ethic, commitment to safety and exceptional performance on the Horseshoe 2 fire:

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5LiZw3EBzOWdnU3MlJSY2k0bDg

    If one sided accounts are taken at face value, we run the risk of over simplifying and making shortsighted insinuations. In this case, the importance of fact checking should be clear. I believe that we can and should be better.

    Holly Neill

    • David Turbyfill says

      Thank You Holly for doing John Dougherty’s job for him………..I had reached out to John last week or so to speak with him about this and he was in Canada. It doesn’t come as any surprise to me of Dave P’s comments. but have been wondering of the specifics.

      To the rest here on IM this is partly why Mike Dudley did not want to get into this area of thought during the investigation, it would have only presented a lot of BIAS and a whole other set of investigations.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to David Turbyfill’s post May 31, 2016 at 5:26 pm

        >> David Turbyfill said…
        >>
        >> This is partly why Mike Dudley did not want to get into this
        >> area of thought during the investigation, it would have only
        >> presented a lot of BIAS and a whole other set of investigations.

        Once again, Mr. Trubyfill, I am sincerely sorry that you lost your son Travis in that chaotic Arizona Forestry workplace that day.

        It wasn’t necessary… and it shouldn’t have happened.

        It is, truly, a tragedy in every sense of the word.

        When SAIT Co-Lead Mike Dudley first received former Type 1 IHC ‘Geronimo’ Hotshots’ Superintendent David Provencio’s email… and Provencio’s offer to supply him with WRITTEN DOCUMENTATION regarding his claims… SAIT Co-Lead Mike Dudley’s first instinct was to FORWARD that email and that offer of PROOF to someone who wasn’t even on the taxpayer-funded SAIT Investigation team.

        He immediately ‘forwarded’ it to fellow US Forestry employee Steve Holdsambeck, USFS Safety Programs Manager ( and a list of other people ).

        Holdsambeck’s name was the FIRST one in the list of ‘recipients’, and Holdsambeck was also the first one to REPLY to SAIT Co-Lead Mike Dudley regarding David Provencio’s email(s).

        Holdsambeck to Mike Dudley to be ‘careful’… and then he typed TWO ‘possible scenarios’ for how to handle the David Provencio offer of WRITTEN PROOF for his claims about Eric Marsh and Granite Mountain.

        The entire rest of Holdsambeck’s response to SAIT Co-Lead Mike Dudley was BLACKED OUT and REDACTED by the US Forestry service.

        So we ( for the moment ) still do not KNOW what USFS ‘Safety Programs Manager” Steve Holdsambeck actually TOLD SAIT Co-Lead Mike Dudley.

        All we CAN see ( unredacted ) is that Mike Dudley then immediately contacted the same list of email recipients and said he had absolutely no intentions of even following up on David Provencio’s email… or even asking to see the WRITTEN PROOF that Provencio said he was willing to share with Dudley and the SAIT.

        There remains the distinct possibility that the only reason the Co-Leader of the totally taxpayer-funded SAIT ‘Yarnell Hill Accident Investigation Team’ wouldn’t even bother to ‘follow up’ on the information is because they knew there was a distinct possibility that it was ALL TRUE.

        And, as even SAIT member Dr. Tom Zimmerman told Mike Dudley in HIS comment on the Provencio email… they simply “did not want to go there”.

        They weren’t actually DOING an ‘Investigation’.

        We all know that NOW.

        They had already planned to ignore all kinds of actual ‘evidence’ that was ALREADY in their possession because it simply didn’t fit the ‘story’ they had already decided they wanted to tell.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Mr. Turbyfill… quick apology… bad TYPO in the message above.

          I accidentally misspelled your NAME.

          Paragraph above SHOULD have read like this…

          ————————————————————————
          Once again, Mr. Turbyfill, I am sincerely sorry that you lost your son Travis in that chaotic Arizona Forestry workplace that day.

          It wasn’t necessary… and it shouldn’t have happened.

          It is, truly, a tragedy in every sense of the word.
          ————————————————————————–

    • calvin says

      Thanks Holly.

      I have always thought JD has been cooperative enough to let Fred Schoefler kind of hang himself with his own rope.

      And I again felt that way after this article was written.

      But it is hard to understand how this other guy Provence could get a detail such as Marsh’s job title wrong. If it is true that Marsh was not a Div at the horseshoe fire. How could any of the other information provided by Provence be trusted.?

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        In the same vein… if Marsh was just a CRWB… then what the heck was he doing giving out assignments to ( according to Provencio ) FOUR separate Type 1 IHC Hotshot Crews?

        Technically speaking… Superintendents of Type 1 IHC Crews are at least the org-chart equivalent of CRWB… but I believe Type 1 IHC Superintendents are considered a step ABOVE CRWB.

        That’s purely on an org-chart level… so something certainly isn’t quite right with at least that part of the story… on someone’s part.

        At the very least… it would be interesting to know how UNUSUAL that would have been in the first place… for just a CRWB to be developing a complete sector strategy and giving ‘orders’ to 4 ( count ’em, FOUR ) Type 1 GMIHCS.

        NEVER happens? HIGHLY unusual? Kinda unusual? Happens all the time?

        Which?

        • CL says

          Eric Marsh was actually a Div Sup that day and was in charge of division A making him Division a Sup and Giving Jesse Steed the Roll of running the crew.

          • Woodsman says

            CL,

            Which fire are you talking about here, Horseshoe 2 or Yarnell Hill? It sounds like you are talking about Horseshoe 2. Were you there?

            Thanks for your input.

            Woodsman

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Reply to CL post on June 1, 2016 at 8:04 pm

            >> CL said…
            >>
            >> Eric Marsh was actually a Div Sup that day and was in
            >> charge of division A making him Division a Sup and
            >> Giving Jesse Steed the Roll of running the crew.

            Echoing what Woodsman just said/asked.

            WHICH FIRE are you referring to?

            The ‘Horseshoe 2’ Fire… or the ‘Yarnell Hill Fire’?

            • cl says

              Considering this discussion is about the Yarnell Hill Fire that is what I am referring to and yes I was there not on the ground but in dispatch. The states type 2 “short team” that was assembled lacked positions such as div group supervisors and safety officers.

              • Joy A. Collura says

                this discussion branches off to other fires- Cl

                especially due to this article and last year with the Twisp fire- we need to get people who were there to speak up—not to point fingers but to get a better understanding why they left the black in the manner they did?

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                Reply to cl post on June 5, 2016 at 8:08 am

                >> cl said…
                >>
                >> Considering this discussion is about the Yarnell
                >> Hill Fire that is what I am referring to

                Thank you. Things got a bit confusing there because someone named Holly Neill started talking about the 2011 ‘Horseshoe 2’ fire… and whether Eric Marsh was ever actually a ‘DIVS’ on THAT fire.

                So thanks for clearing that up.

                >> cl also said…
                >>
                >> and yes I was there not on the ground but
                >> in dispatch. The states type 2 “short team”
                >> that was assembled lacked positions such
                >> as div group supervisors and safety officers.

                Norval Tyler testified to ADOSH that as of 10:20 AM on Sunday, June 30, 2013… the Arizona Forestry Dispatch Center ( ADC ) in Deer Valley officially stopped ‘recording’ radio transmissions taking place at the Yarnell Fire… since that is the moment that Roy Hall’s Type 2 short command took local control of the Yarnell Fire.

                But Norval Tyler also added the caveat “Except for aircraft”.

                Does that mean that even for the rest of Sunday, June 30, 2013, the Arizona Forestry Dispatch Center WAS recording ‘Airplane conversations’?

                If so… do you know if those recordings would have included BOTH the ‘Air-To-Air’ radio channel communications AND the ‘Air-To-Ground’ radio channel communications?

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Holly Neill post on May 31, 2016 at 3:00 pm

      >> Holly Neill said…
      >>
      >> Refusal/turn down protocols were used by Geronimo and the other
      >> IHC, and alternative suggestions were made to ‘back up to the next
      >> ridge’. But the original strategy and tactics led by the Branch Director,
      >> Operations Chief and Division Supervisor went forward as planned…

      …and then there was an ENTRAPMENT at this 2011 Horseshoe Two fire…
      …and Wildland Firefighters almost DIED.

      Funny you didn’t mention that.

      ** THE ENTRAPMENT AT THE 2011 HORSESHOE TWO FIRE

      Most of the online articles about the ‘Entrapment’ that took place at the 2011 ‘Horseshoe Two’ fire ( the one under discussion below ) contain links to the original release of the official ‘Horseshoe Two Entrapment Investigation Report’…

      …but most of those are DEAD LINKS.

      There is nothing there ( what WAS there has been REMOVED ).

      But the following appears to be the ‘new’ link to view those ‘Horseshoe Two Fire Entrapment Investigation Reports’…

      Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center
      Horsehoe 2 Fire ( 2011 )
      State: Arizona
      Incident Type: ENTRAPMENT
      http://www.wildfirelessons.net/orphans/viewincident?DocumentKey=0a7475d4-6060-4faf-848f-920e2e0d9158

      The Horseshoe Two Fire ENTRAPMENT took place after a ‘planned’ manual ‘burnout’ operation that was started at 12:30 PM.

  3. Tired of Bickering says

    This thread of comments does seem to offer some sort of insight into the deadly day almost three years ago. Unfortunately, it deteriorates into an opinion and emotionally driven piece of finger pointing that is more destructive than constructive. Opinion driven pieces of inflammatory “this one time I saw or felt”, does not address the facts of the day or the culture of coverup that many of you seem to associate with the responding agencies in question. 82 comments thus far and most of them are from the same individuals arguing with each other, It makes a reader wonder if any of you really want resolution and discovery regarding this tragedy or if you are simply vested in proving the previous commenter wrong.

    A suggestion,
    Offer a report of your own, with the information that is provided in all of these comments. Why would anybody who is unfamiliar with what happened read the narrative offered and the subsequent comments and draw any conclusion other than a bunch of angry people screaming at each other that claim to want truth from these events. Presenting a logical alternative that is absent of finger pointing is the most beneficial apparatus to achieve the learning most of you seem to say you are after.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Tired of Bickering on May 29, 2016 at 11:56 pm

      >> Tired of Bickering says…
      >>
      >> This thread of comments does seem to offer some sort of insight
      >> into the deadly day almost three years ago.

      Yes, it does.

      >> Tired of Bickering also said…
      >>
      >> Unfortunately, it deteriorates into an opinion and emotionally
      >> driven piece of finger pointing that is more destructive than
      >> constructive.

      It’s a PUBLIC forum. That can happen.

      Especially when people start suggesting that current/former highly respected Type 1 Hotshot Crew Superintendents are simply LIARS.

      >> Tired of Bickering also said…
      >>
      >> Opinion driven pieces of inflammatory “this one time I saw or felt”, does
      >> not address the facts of the day or the culture of coverup that many
      >> of you seem to associate with the responding agencies in question.

      The ENTIRE article above ‘addresses’ the ‘culture of coverup’ that has always existed ( and still exists ) regarding what really happened at the Yarnell Hill Fire.

      As for the ‘facts of the day’… that remains an ‘in progress’ process of continuing to ask questions and seek answers that SHOULD have been forthcoming a long time ago… but were NOT… because of this same aformentioned ‘culture of coverup’.

      >> Tired of Bickering also said…
      >>
      >> 82 comments thus far and most of them are from the same individuals
      >> arguing with each other, It makes a reader wonder if any of you really
      >> want resolution and discovery regarding this tragedy or if you are
      >> simply vested in proving the previous commenter wrong.

      You seem to be missing the point of discussions like this.

      Sometimes the ‘path’ to both ‘resolution’ and ‘discovery’ in a PUBLIC forum such as what you are reading right now DOES, in fact, involve taking on individual ‘posters’, discovering what their real AGENDA is… and seeing if anything they are saying can be trusted.

      >> Tired of Bickering also said…
      >>
      >> A suggestion,
      >> Offer a report of your own, with the information that is provided in
      >> all of these comments.

      Okay… here’s my report.

      Despite anything someone named Holly Neill has said… I ( me, personally ) still have no reason to believe that the information contained in the actual article above isn’t accurate.

      I have ( so far ) seen no reason to believe ( as others might be suggesting ) that current/former Type 1 Hotshot Superintendents might, themselves, have been LYING to SAIT Co-Lead Mike Dudley and the other SAIT investigators.

      He/they offered WRITTEN DOCUMENTATION for the claims being made.

      Mike Dudley ( and other SAIT and NON-SAIT members ) didn’t give a fuck, and never bothered to either ‘follow up’ on the evidence being offered OR do their own ‘homework’ regarding the veracity of the information.

      THAT is what the article we are down here commenting on was ACTUALLY about.

      >> Tired of Bickering also said…
      >>
      >> Why would anybody who is unfamiliar with what happened read
      >> the narrative offered and the subsequent comments and draw any
      >> conclusion other than a bunch of angry people screaming at
      >> each other that claim to want truth from these events.

      Because maybe that ‘somebody/anybody’ isn’t fully ‘reading for comprehension’?

      An article was published.

      Some people are disagreeing with the content, disputing it, and even calling some current/former Type 1 Hotshot Superintendents LIARS.

      And then others ( who still ‘Want To Know The Truth’ ) are disagreeing with THOSE people, and asking THEM to answer some other questions instead of just doing drive-by-shooting press-release style commenting.

      My suggestion to anyone is to read ALL of the comments… and WHO is making them… and try to see the real context of the discussion.

      There are MANY people ( like Mike Dudley and the SAIT investigators themselves ) who do not WANT the information being presented now to either be surfacing at all… or to end up turning out to be TRUE.

      They have their OWN AGENDAS. Always have.

      >> Tired of Bickering also said…
      >>
      >> Presenting a logical alternative that is absent of finger pointing
      >> is the most beneficial apparatus to achieve the learning most
      >> of you seem to say you are after.

      Okay… here’s my ‘logical alternative’ for anyone still reading along.

      There are still people who do not WANT the real TRUTH about what happened in Yarnell to ever see the light of day… and they are still trying to make sure that never happens.

      Some of these people are allowed to ‘comment’ on PUBLIC forums just like anyone else can ( and should ) be able to do.

      So my ‘logical alternative’ is “Buyer Beware”.

      Watch out for AGENDAS, when reading PUBLIC comments.

      Okay… YOUR turn.

      What do YOU think about the content of the article above?

      Do YOU think that the bad decision making which took place in Yarnell on June 30, 2013, and led to horrific consequences, was just some kind of ‘one-off’ never-happened-before set of circumstances?…

      …or do you think ( as other former Type 1 Hotshots were trying to tell Mike Dudley, but he didn’t care enough to follow up on ) that there is a *chance* that kind of poor decision making and penchant for ‘risky behavior’ and disregard for the rules of ones profession just *might* have been rooted in habit?

      This is an OPEN ( PUBLIC ) discussion. Just say what you think.

  4. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    This InvestigativeMEDIA article about Mike Dudley and the SAIT choosing to ignore important information/evidence about Granite Mountain is now appearing in many other places.

    Such as…

    http://m.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/smoke-screen/Content?oid=6230636

    An interesting comment has already appeared on that reprint of this article…

    ————————————————————————————–
    Comment by: Mark Hostetler – 05/26/2016 – at 9:09 AM

    Thank you Dave Provencio and Fred Schoeffler for telling the truth. Experienced leadership and non-hero based decision making on a hotshot crew or any fire crew is what keeps young, relatively inexperienced, crewmembers alive. My son, who Dave knows so well, has been exposed the past 16 years to the most extreme wildland fires in history. He is now leading a hotshot crew and I fully believe he has remained alive and fire wise in part because at the age of 20 I guided him to join the Geronimo Hotshots rather than another hotshot crew. The sole reason I gave him was based on my own experience of working many seasons with the Geronimo superintendent at the time. I emphatically told him, “you are going with Geronimo”, and that I completely trusted the experience and leadership of that superintendent, saying, “He will watch out for you and keep you alive.”
    ——————————————————————————-

    Mark Hostetler is a former Hotshot AND still an active USFS employee with
    a (current) PUBLIC USFS email address.
    https://govtribe.com/person/mhostetler-at-fs-fed-us
    ———————————————————————————————-
    Mark Hostetler Contracting Officer
    Email: mhostetler (at) fs.fed.us
    Name: Mark Hostetler
    Phone Number: (520) 388-8312
    Fax Number: (520) 388-8332
    Position: Contracting Officer
    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Office: Forest Service
    Location(s): R-3 Southwestern Region/Coronado NF R-3 Southwestern Region
    ——————————————————————————————–

    David Provencio himself ( Former Geronimo Type 1 Hotshot Superintendent ) said almost the exact same thing Mark Hostetler is now saying in his comment… that when it comes to placing their own SON(S) with a a ‘Hotshot Crew’… the primary consideration is “Who is most likely to keep you alive”.

    Sounds like the US Forestry Service really needs an ‘Amazon’ style rating system for ALL of their Type 1 Hotshot crews… since it seems common knowledge that some are more likely to KILL people than others and it’s an actual ‘consideration’ among WFF ‘fathers’ when choosing a Crew for THEIR son(s).

    FOUR STARS – They follow all the ‘rules’ of their profession and you are not likely to die.
    THREE STARS – You might, of course, die… but most of the time they TRY not to let it happen.
    TWO STARS – You have a 50/50 chance of going home from any given assignment.
    ONE STAR – Make SURE you have accidental death insurance.
    ZERO STARS – They think the safety rules are ‘Hillbilly’. Highly likely you WILL die.

    Or should it be the other way around ( the rating system )?

    The MORE ‘Stars’ a Type 1 Crew has… the MORE likely they are to kill you?

    Dunno. Either way would work, I suppose.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      And yet another interesting comment at the same ‘Tucson Weekly’ link…

      ———————————————————————————–
      Comment by: KOFR – 05/27/2016 – at 5:13 AM

      The truth is something the Forest Service has never wanted and never will. The truth is what gets people like these two guys blackballed for ever. The State knew they could count on the FS and there was no agency better to cover this mess up . They have lots of experience at it. Marsh wasn’t the only one out there. There’s still many more. Tragedy 19 men killed senselessly? YES, but the biggest tragedy is these corrupt agencies burying the truth.

      Where do they find these people?
      ———————————————————————————

  5. The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

    Crystal was likely overwhelmed by the onslaught of comments directed at her following her initial comment. I would like to think that all of that didn’t scare her off from further comment, but in actuality, I think it did.

  6. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to CRYSTAL post on May 23, 2016 at 5:50 am

    >> CRYSTAL said…
    >>
    >> I WAS AT THE TIME A FULL TIME STATE FORESTRY EMPLOYEE WHO
    >> WORKED IN DISPATCH AS AN IADP (INITIAL ATTACK DISPATCHER)

    Where were you working on Sunday, June 30, 2013?

    At the Arizona Forestry Dispatch Center ( ADC ) in Deer Valley?

    >> CRYSTAL also said…
    >>
    >> AND WAS WORKING WHEN ALL THIS HAPPENED

    When you say (quote) “when all this happened”… I assume you mean before, during and after the actual ‘deployment’ incident there in Yarnell, on Sunday, June 30, 2013?

    Were you working any shifts BEFORE that… such as Friday, June 28, 2013 ( the day of the initial lightning strike ) or at any time on Saturday, June 29, 2013 ( the day of Russ Shumates FAILED Initial Attack )?

    >> CRYSTAL also said…
    >>
    >> AND AM JUST WONDERING WHY I WAS LEFT IN THE DARK
    >> I WAS NEVER ASKED NOR WAS THE QUESTION AND ANSWER
    >> SIT DOWN EVER MENTIONED TO ME OR I WOULD HAVE
    >> WITHOUT A DOUBT BEEN THERE. I HAVE ALOT TO SAY AND
    >> FILL IN SOME MISSING BLANKS.

    Arizona Forestry was doing everything it could to keep the actual settlement-mandated ‘Question and Answer’ day for the familes of the deceased Granite Mountain Hotshots a SECRET. They had been trying to ‘schedule’ it since August of 2014 but could never find dates when everyone that wanted to attend and who was going to be REQUIRED to attend to all get together. They finally settled on February 5 of 2016.

    MANY of the Arizona Forestry employees and contractors who had worked in Yarnell that the GM family members had the settlement-mandated RIGHT to REQUEST be ‘there’ for the ‘Question and Asnwer’ meeting ( such as SPGS1 Gary Cordes ) REFUSED to appear… but they went ahead with the ‘secret’ Februrary 5, 2016 meeting anyway.

    Norval Tyler, the Director of the Arizona State Forestry Dispatch Center ( ADC ) was interviewed by ADOSH investigators on October 18, 2013.

    In that interview, Norval Tyler said…
    ——————————————————————————————-
    57 Q2: Um, does, uh, d- do you have the ability to, uh, record audio?
    58
    59 A: We do.
    60
    61 Q2: And has that always – was that in place in June?
    62
    63 A: There are audio recording capabilities on our – not on all our consoles, but
    64 they – there are on three-quarters of the consoles in there.
    65
    66 Q2: Um, was any of the audio associated with the Yarnell Hill fire recorded?
    67
    68 A: Prior to the 30th, yes. After when the team took it, no. Because they were
    69 going direct. So they were on a direct communication line not shooting
    70 through a repeater to us. So during initial attack phase prior to the 30th when
    71 the team took over we were directing communication with the incident, the
    72 incident commander. Once they transitioned at 1000 hours to the team they
    73 go direct communication. And we’re not involved any more except for with
    74 aircraft.

    ——————————————————————————————-

    Can you confirm ( or refute ) any of this ‘information’ coming from Norval Tyler?

    Was the ‘console’ you might have been working at one of the ones that Tyler said DID have the ability to ‘record audio’?

    Also notice that Norval Tyler says that after the Yarnell Incident ‘transitioned’ from Russ Shumate’s ICT4 team to Roy Hall’s ‘Type 2 SHORT’ team, circa 10:00 AM on Sunday, June 30, 2013… the ADC Dispatch Center was (quote) “not involved any more EXCEPT for with aircraft”

    Key phrase: “EXCEPT for with AIRCRAFT”.

    Does that mean there the ADC center really MIGHT have still been recording all the ‘Air-to Ground’ radio traffic taking place in Yarnell the rest of the day… or maybe just the “Air-To-Air” radio channel traffic?

    • Martininsocal says

      When an incident transitions from local agency management to team management, communications are usually transitioned as well. Communications for the incident will be moved to wherever the base camp is located, close to the Incident Command Post. Sometimes this may be co-located with an agency dispatch center, but usually it is not. What they had set up for comms on the incident can be found in the Camp plan and in any of the 204s. If they were using a mobile command module, there may not have been recording capabilities. But it still has not a whole lot to do with this issue- It was a bad decision made made by the shot crew’s leader and followed by 18 others for some unknown reason, they all walked into their deaths. This is not the first time something like this has happened. All they were missing were berets.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to Martininsocal post on May 24, 2016 at 9:58 pm

        >> Martininsocal said…
        >>
        >> When an incident transitions from local agency management
        >> to team management, communications are usually transitioned
        >> as well. Communications for the incident will be moved to
        >> wherever the base camp is located, close to the Incident
        >> Command Post.

        There was no ‘base camp’ set up yet when Russ Shumate handed over his ICT4 command of the Yarnell Incident to Roy Hall and his “Type 2 SHORT” team, at 10:20 AM on Sunday, June 30, 2013.

        Howard Carlson was the officially ‘ordered’ BCMG ( Base Camp Manager ) ‘in charge’ of setting up the ‘base camp’… but he would not even arrive in Yarnell with his ‘trailers’ until 3:38 PM.

        Even when he ( Carlson ) was first ‘ordered up’ as BCMG the night before, after Russ Shumate lost control of the fire and cried for help… Howard Carlson told the Dispatch Center he wouldn’t be in Yarnell until around 4:00 PM on Sunday.

        Here are the actual ‘Dispatch Log’ entries from the public evidence record regarding both Roy Hall and Howard Carlson being ‘summoned’ to Yarnell…

        Howard Carlson said he’d be in Yarnell about 1600 ( 4:00 PM ) with the ‘support trailers’ to set up the ‘base camp’…

        ——————————————————————————
        06/29/2013 18:47:16 DOWNEY NT HAVE ROY HALL AND HOWARD CARLSON REPORT TO FIRE TOMORROW

        06/29/2013 18:55:11 HALL NT GO AHEAD AND CALL CARLSON – WILL LET YOU KNOW IF MYSELF OR JOKI GOING

        06/29/2013 18:56:28 NT CARLSON STATED NEED YOU AT YARNELL FD IN MORNING – HE STATED WILL BE THERE BY 1600 6/30/2013 WITH TRAILER
        ———————————————————————–

        And Howard Carlson was true to his word.

        He is not seen arriving in Yarnell ( captured in a Panebaker Air Study Video ) until 3:38 PM on Sunday, June 30, 2013.

        That video ( Filename: 20130630_1544_EP.MOV ) is here in the public evidence folder…

        https://www.dropbox.com/sh/02ue6bnjp6nazkm/AABsWIxpJqjgl7GDgeB8sQ8ua/Photos%20and%20Video/AerialFirefightingstudy/Panebaker/Video/Video_with_134175_audio?dl=0

        Panebaker Air-To-Air Channel video 20130630_1544_EP.MOV
        Start Time: 1516:14 ( 3:16:14 PM )
        End Time: 1544 ( 3:44:26 PM )
        Duration: 28 minutes and 12 seconds.

        +12:24 ( 1528:38 / 3:38:38 PM )
        Howard Carlson and his ‘convoy’ of three ( orange ) ‘Arizona Incident Management Support Team’ vehicles are seen passing in front of the camera and headed west on Hays Ranch Road towards the ICP at the Model Creek Elementary School.

        However, as soon as Howard Carlson and his ‘convoy’ of base-camp support vehicles ARRIVED at the ICP, Roy Hall had the ICP in ‘evacuation mode’ because of the approaching fireline, now within sight of the doorstep of the elementary school. All the vehicles were being moved to the NORTH side of the school for safety and that’s where Carlson took his convoy. It would be a little while longer before it was ‘safe’ to even decide where to start setting up the ‘base camp’.

        >> Martininsocal said…
        >>
        >> Sometimes this may be co-located with an agency
        >> dispatch center, but usually it is not.

        See above. There was no actual ‘base camp’ being set up at all in Yarnell / Peeples Valley until very late in the afternoon on Sunday, June 30, 2013.

        Howard Carlson didn’t even get there until just 1 hour before Jesse Steed’s first MAYDAY radio call would hit the Air-To-Ground radio channel at 4:39 PM.

        For the entire day… all they had for ‘check-in’ was Engine Captain William Brewer, who had been up the whole night before, taking down names at the ‘gate’ of the Model Creek School. When he became totally exhausted around 11:00 AM… members of the Lewis Prison Facility DOC Type 2 Crew who had no assignment and nothing to do took over the ‘check in’ process so Brewer could go to sleep.

        >> Martininsocal said…
        >>
        >> What they had set up for comms on the incident can be
        >> found in the Camp plan and in any of the 204s.

        There was NO ‘comms’ manager in Yarnell for the entire morning… and even though there is some evidence of one showing up around 11:30 AM, there is no evidence he ever actually DID anything at all that day.

        Roy Hall did NOT order up a COML ( Communications Unit Leader ) for Yarnell on the night of Saturday, June 29, 2013, when he placed all the other orders for his put-together ‘Type 2 SHORT’ team. A COML was not ordered at all until the next morning, circa 6:11 AM, with Resource order O-16.15.

        His name was Clarence McMillan.

        His O-16.15 resource order said he was needed ‘right away’ in Yarnell… but McMillan didn’t even arrive at the ICP in Peeples Valley until around 11:30 AM or NOON that Sunday.

        When interviewed by ADOSH… Roy Hall himself said he had no idea when COML McMillan might have even arrived because Hall said he never even recalled seeing him that Sunday at all… and Roy Hall certainly had no idea whether even if had arrived… he was ever actually DOING anything.

        As late as 2:30 PM… there is a photograph taken at the ICP at the Model Creek School. Clarence McMillan is actually seen there standing by his truck near the Model Creek Elementary School just talking on his cellphone.

        And even on into the afternoon… as other people from Bea Day’s real Type 2 team started to arrive… McMillan was nowhere to be found and anyone arriving still had to go out onto the fireline somewhere just to find someone to clone their radios. Jason Clawson, Aaron Hulburd, KC ‘Bucky’ Yowell, Tony Sciacca, Marty Cole… etc… ALL had to just find someone out on the fireline to do a ‘clone’ because there was (quote) “No one at the ICP who could clone a radio” right up until the time of the deployment.

        COML for Yarnell ( Clarence McMillan ) was NEVER interviewed by the SAIT or by ADOSH or anyone else.

        His actual involvement with the Yarnell Hill Fire… and what he might have even seen or heard or done that day… remains a complete mystery.

        >> Martininsocal said…
        >>
        >> If they were using a mobile command module, there may not
        >> have been recording capabilities.

        There is no evidence that there was ever any ‘mobile command module’ either available or functioning in or near Yarnell that day. We don’t even know what COML McMillan brought with him that Sunday… or whether he ever actually DID anything that day even after arriving.

        McMillan was never interviewed by ANYONE, nor was he required to submit any kind of ‘Unit Log’.

        >> Martininsocal said…
        >>
        >> But it still has not a whole lot to do with this issue- It was a bad
        >> decision made made by the shot crew’s leader and followed
        >> by 18 others.

        It is still not know how far ‘up the chain of command’ the ‘decision making’ went that day, with regards to Granite Mountain leaving the safe black.

        The ‘jury’ is still out on that… and even Brendan McDonough himself ( following the release of his new book ) is calling on the ‘investigation’ to be ‘re-opened’ because Brendan says there still “more to know” about ALL the ‘decision making’ that was ACTUALLY taking place that afternoon.

        >> Martininsocal said…
        >>
        >> for some unknown reason, they all walked into their deaths.

        See above. The sole survivor from the GM crew, Brendan McDonough, is now PUBLICLY calling for a ‘re-opening’ of the ‘investigations’ because he, himself, is sure there is “more to be learned” that future firefighters can ( and SHOULD ) “Learn from” with regards to what really happened that day.

        >> Martininsocal said…
        >>
        >> This is not the first time something like this has happened.
        >> All they were missing were berets.

        Not sure what you mean with the last statement.

        Do you mean that they were just ‘acting’ like ‘Green Beret’ jarheads and somehow blindly obeying orders ( even stupid ones )… or are you implying that anyone with even just a few hours of training and an FF1 rating is automatically the equivalent of highly trained members of the US Military “Special Forces”?

        This was only John Percin Jr’s SECOND fire that he’d even ever been on… in his entire life… and he never came home because the men he had trusted his life to didn’t bother to make sure he did.

        • Larry Sall says

          Martininsocal maybe be referring to the El Carriso Hot Shots (Loop Fire 1966) they wore Green Berets. They also walked into their death.

          • Larry Sall says

            Disregard my comment. Martininsocal aleady explained the “Beret comment” As a side note; El Carriso is the only Hot Shot crew granted permission to wear the Geen Berets. Striving for respect and gaining a reputation as an ‘elite’ Hot Shot crew has always been part of Hot Shot history. The key to fighting fire aggressively and safely is found in it’s leadership. Hot Shot crew members are simply young men and women in tremendous physical shape trained to construct fireline. Leadership grounded in the 10 Standard Fire Fighting Orders ‘as they were intended’ coupled with common sense and experience gets them home safely every time.

  7. CRYSTAL says

    I WAS AT THE TIME A FULL TIME STATE FORESTRY EMPLOYEE WHO WORKED IN DISPATCH AS AN IADP (INITIAL ATTACK DISPATCHER) AND WAS WORKING WHEN ALL THIS HAPPENED AND AM JUST WONDERING WHY I WAS LEFT IN THE DARK I WAS NEVER ASKED NOR WAS THE QUESTION AND ANSWER SIT DOWN EVER MENTIONED TO ME OR I WOULD HAVE WITHOUT A DOUBT BEEN THERE. I HAVE ALOT TO SAY AND FILL IN SOME MISSING BLANKS.

    • Woodsman says

      Hey Crystal,

      You said:

      “…JUST WONDERING WHY I WAS LEFT IN THE DARK I WAS NEVER ASKED NOR WAS THE QUESTION AND ANSWER SIT DOWN EVER MENTIONED TO ME OR I WOULD HAVE WITHOUT A DOUBT BEEN THERE. I HAVE ALOT TO SAY AND FILL IN SOME MISSING BLANKS.”

      My guess is because they didn’t want to hear what you have to say? Well, here’s your chance to speak up. Many would be very interested in the information you can provide from your prespective. There is a lot at stake on people such as yourself speaking up, to put it lightly. Thanks for being here.

      Woodsman

    • joy a collura says

      Yeah. Praise to Jesus. I’m so Ill and I actually prayed for you Crystal last night to finally speak up.. I have to hurry and call Dr Ted Putnam. You do not know this but you Crystal have been my private conversation since February 2015, so finally the path can begin. I knew about you that long and let me begin to say I don’t know how much time I have left and I can privately tell you the hospital or where I am at time that you reach out… you can reach me but yes you I want to meet in person before I expire.. Pretty please…only a few know about you…and indeed you have a testimony. God bless you Crystal. If you email yarnellhikers19@gmail.com I will begin to share how I know your testimony and you ARE a strong missing element. I have pure tears in my eyes. Thank you Lord and Crystal.

      • Joy A. Collura says

        Crystal,
        At this time I can only give you the initials who told us about you. EA.
        From there if this ever comes forefront there is only select few who know about this very topic. One of the regular followers here knows exactly what I mean…ain’t it ironic we hiked ya than took you to Prescott where we did and you were skeptical and suspect but now look..the topic we talked about all of a sudden comes and says she holds missing elements…

    • joy a collura says

      How did you first learn about investigative media Crystal.. And thank you…please email John Dougherty so he can do your story “live” for the world vs a blog…this is one area I have waited for…who was that authoritarian behind you in the room with grey rimmed glasses? Who gave you information to dispatch on the radio? If you can’t name him pleaseeeeeee describe him. Please.

      • joy a collura says

        This pain I feel is ridiculous 24-7 and I want some relief from the pain and you please do me a huge favor..if you live in NM…I Will do all might to get to you ASAP because in all this I have to say how important you have been to me since February 2015. You were just prayed with determination and demand about 2am so I don’t know your end yet but I directly asked for you to speak up. Please email John ASAP with the purity this fire deserves…my eyes are flooded with pure tears…thank you Crystal. Do you think the dispatched words from the authoritarian played a contributing factor in the end results?
        Thank you again…I want to hug you so deep…these 19 men and all fallen deserve your purity…

        • Joy A. Collura says

          Ok. Let me go look at sair and.adosh interview.
          Deer Valley, Prescott, Yarnell…So let me get rolling but I want your story…you may heard some aerial stuff that was never yet put out…also this is important…start a movement Crystal…Craig Knapp is one after you tAlk to John Dougherty to reach out so.this is.So important…also all and I mean.all of.us holding on to information should meet in Prescott for a conference and begin the process without subpoenas and maybe John Dougherty would be our voice of the information…it would be wonderful if.I had this to look forward to…I have been on a respite looking to be sparked…thank you Crystal. If you live in Arizona I would drive to you asap except I have a procedure tomorrow but.can after it or today…

      • Charlie says

        Exactly, John D. would be the source to contact–his articles and expose has done much to correct errors and clarify–material bound to make changes and safe lives. We are glad Crystal is on board and coming forward to help with the missing pieces of the puzzle.

    • Joy A. Collura says

      STATE FORESTRY EMPLOYEE—so that means Prescott huh?

      I know it is CRYSTAL clear facts need to come out to help people heal-

      • Joy A. Collura says

        How can the hours pass me today…I’m just really wanting to ask RTS…can you make some calls and.see who this is…you have the best current.connections…please..if you read.this site.And.my.comments this is my area I mentioned as.One.Of the missing elements..please RTS…forestry has my Doha requests but they are working on the lawyers concern

        • Joy A. Collura says

          glad to have you back cl-

          I am serious in all my comments-

          I would meet you even if I signed a confidentiality form for you-
          before I expire I do want clarity for what I saw that day on the same mountain as those men-

          There are just too many I have hiked CL that knew these men and never got to say goodbye- I hold their pains so deep— their love runs to the core and these are grown men and women – some have went on with their lives but some are stuck- The flames that began as containable became the gates of hell and those men did not have to die…please even if it is with anonymity please share…

          it chokes me.

    • joy a collura says

      Already requested the foia on you Crystal… Just been waiting…apparently they are working with the families lawyers on a concern. But just been waiting…

    • Joy A. Collura says

      Who was telling you information where you relayed radio information for another?

      Who was telling you what to say? if you don’t have a name- describe him. Was there more than one in the room but one who was more vocal?

      Do you feel that authoritarian person in your humble opinion was confused about where the men were and was repetitively repeating himself and getting frustrated because in his mind at that moment felt the men were disobeying- when reality the men were not comprehending this authoritarian person and it caused an innocent cloud of confusion. The information given to them did not make sense to them from where they stood from this authoritarian person. This authoritarian person can you describe or name them that was present in the room? or describe them.

      who was the GMHS who had the radio concerns that morning/day with his radio?

      do you know of any documented notes where it was reported about the radio concerns?

      signal concerns? or button concerns? any indications with the radios having problems?

      at what point did you last hear any of the GMHS? was there more radio communications not yet public?

      as the eyewitness of that fire we realize it slowly creeped behind them but is there any radio transmissions about this alleged drip torch/back burn between the Shrine to Sesame area not yet public?

      Was there a NW wash that people in command felt the men were traversing down and the men went down wrong part of the boulderous ridge?

      Via radio dispatching, was there ever any topic on the lookout and was there any affirmative on another person suppose to be that lookout that day; change in plans?

      In your opinion, do you feel there could of been a better way to communicate directions via radio? when someone calls for clarification that someone repeats the message so no one gets short-changed on clarifications. Radios aside, did you witness anyone in the room using cell phones in regards to YHF matters?

      By the way I am so sorry for your trauma in this, Crystal.
      I am here. I know it was very difficult for you to open up after all this time but I also know it has been keeping you oppressed from living the life God set for you as well- time to release this depressed phase and share with purity- be free from it-
      Please release that heaviness—-please because it lays heavy on me—and I would like to start healing but I can’t knowing folks like yourself have information that helps us understand that weekend- when I think how you came here today I have been teary-eyed all day awaiting “more” from you….

      Let’s just not have this happen again of lives lost…oops it did…Twisp fire…need a more standard way for this radio procedure on clarification/communication because that day there was no ill intent to be reckless just mistakes were made though- do you agree Crystal?

      Were there any radio transmissions that were not yet publicly noted of any injuries that day of 6-30-13 with any on that fire?

      How come you are not a serious part of the SAIR? were you ever interviewed formally? informally?

      There should of been more restitution in this matter- knowing what you know how did it feel to see the lawyers settled for so low?

      • Joy A. Collura says

        were you present to hear if they had a main group traversing and others behind and Marsh away from them and caught up with them? or did you feel the men were all together on the ridge? I am not talking just radio transmissions but cell conversations overheard…anything?

      • cl says

        I was not part of the SIAR because I was told nothing of it it was as if I was set aside and not known of. The loss of GM along with the CM of ADC (Pete Masiel) I had chose/was made to resign from the State Forestry Division as there last and only full time permanent Employ the had left at the time.

        • Joy A. Collura says

          Who is Pete Masiel?

          Pete Masiel who originally is from Lindsay, CA is now a Captain at Monte Vista Emergency Communications Center in San Diego, CA. He has been with the USDA Forest Service since April 1988. From 1999 to 2001 Pete had collateral duties as a computer technical specialist for Incident Management Type 1 Team 5. Pete has a MCSE certification, Web Master and many other computer certifications; which he attained at USDA Graduate School in Washington, D.C.

          As a Wildland Fire Fighter, Pete battled many large forest fires all over the United States as part of a Helicopter Rappel Crew, Hotshot Crew and Engine Crew. Since 1997, after having had back surgery from a work related injury Pete has worked as a Dispatcher on the Cleveland National Forest. Pete also volunteered with the Kern County Sheriff Department for 7 plus years in the early 90’s. Before the Forest Service, Pete was a U.S. Marine where his job was Crash, Fire and Rescue. While in the Marine Corps, he received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal (Highest peace-time medal for Heroism). He was in the Marine Corps for just under 11years.

          • Joy A. Collura says

            I think I met him-

            when I lived in Chandler Arizona I was known there not as the desert walker but the cyclist and I owned so many bicycles- from there in Chandler to Phoenix I’d ride or Superstitions/Globe or Casa Grande/Maricopa/Florence areas (endurance was my thing) and I think I met him and I can dig some but I think we met and if it is same man—I do not see him coming forward at all.

            what I think is weird is my old Chandler neighbor Tonya moved to Maricopa because they had spacious two story homes and she was a mormon about to embark on many babies…and she loved the 3 car garages—She lived off of Desert Cedar drive off of John Wayne pkwy—I think I have met him and I think small world—the homes were built like 05’/06′ and I was in hospital and learned my neighbor was having a baby and she was my neighbor in the hospital—she named her kid with my name as her kid’s middle name-

            let me keep go see if Tonya can help me on this-

            • Joy A. Collura says

              what is funny the higher up military balls I attended I went with a Pete that looks like this Pete-

          • cl says

            The things he can do and the certificates he has no meaning as to the type of person he was and the way he treated his employees Pete simply liked you or hated you there was no in between.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Reply to cl post on June 8, 2016 at 4:53 pm

              >> cl said…
              >>
              >> The things he ( Pete Masiel ) can do and the
              >> certificates he has no meaning as to the type
              >> of person he was and the way he treated his
              >> employees Pete simply liked you or hated you
              >> there was no in between.

              Thank you for continuing to comment.

              Since you were, in fact, working at the Arizona Forestry Dispatch Center ( ADC ) in Deer Valley during the Yarnell Hill Fire… I’d like to ask you another question.

              ADC Director Norval Tyler testified to ADOSH that as of 10:20 AM on Sunday, June 30, 2013… the Arizona Forestry Dispatch Center ( ADC ) in Deer Valley officially stopped ‘recording’ radio transmissions taking place at the Yarnell Fire… since that is the moment that Roy Hall’s Type 2 short command took local control of the Yarnell Fire.

              But Norval Tyler also added the caveat “Except for aircraft”.

              Does that mean that even for the rest of Sunday, June 30, 2013, the Arizona Forestry Dispatch Center WAS recording ‘Airplane radio channel conversations’?

              If so… do you know if those recordings would have included BOTH the ‘Air-To-Air’ radio channel communications AND the ‘Air-To Ground’ radio channel communications?

  8. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to Pat Beers post on May 19, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    >> Pat Beers said…
    >>
    >> So if the were two IHC SUPS alleging they had witnessed dangerous
    >> decisions prior to the yarnell fire

    Actually… if you look at just the email from Type 1 IHC ‘Geronimo Hotshots’ Superintendent David Provencio that he sent to SAIT Co-Lead Mike Dudley, and factor in his direct quotes from his interview with InvestigativeMEDIA…

    …the ‘count’ right there ( by itself ) is at least 4 ( FOUR ) IHC SUPS ‘witnessing’ this apparent penchant for ‘dangerous decision making’ on Marsh’s part… just on one occasion alone.

    >> Pat Beers also said…
    >>
    >> what action did they take to correct this?
    >> Near miss report, reports to command staff on the particular fire or simple inaction?

    Good question(s).

    It sounds like they all just “let it go”… even though we are talking about a situation where at least FOUR elite Type 1 IHC Hotshot Superintendents had to ALL ( collectively ) turn down an entire ‘Division Action Plan’ out of fear for their safety and the men who are in their charge.

    FOUR Type 1 IHC Hotshots ALL turning down an entire ‘Division Action Plan’ because of safety concerns?

    That sounds like a pretty BIG DEAL… on ANY Incident… and the Incident Commander and Operations people most certainly SHOULD have been fully aware it took place.

    If they were NOT… then WHY not?

    What is MISSING from this entire ‘system’ that prevented such a thing from being known and ‘discussed’ in an ‘After Action Review’ just for that one Incident alone?

    David Provencio says he ( himself ) has WRITTEN DOCUMENTATION for this particular incident… and OTHERS involving Marsh’s ‘poor decision making’.

    Provencio is probably referring to his own ‘Unit Logs’… and the ‘Unit Logs’ of the other Type 1 IHC Superintendents who were witnessing the same things he was.

    But YOU are RIGHT… what about ‘After Action Reviews’… and some sort of documentation at THAT level?

    Are we staring directly at a serious ( and potentially deadly? ) FLAW in the existing command/control/organizational/reporting structure that could easily be fixed… but no one wants to (quote) “go there”?

    >> Pat Beers also said…
    >>
    >> Hindsight bias is dangerous in the learning world.

    So is ‘teaching’ the WRONG “Lessons to Learn” from a historic fatality incident, or not actually ‘teaching’ any real “Lessons to Learn” at ALL.

    And as far as the ‘feedback’ goes coming from those who have already attended the ‘test runs’ of the official Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride… the situation there seems to be the latter and not the former.

    Participants have come out of the ‘Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride’ saying there are no REAL “Lessons” being offered to even “Learn” at all. Just a total regurgitation of the original SAIR thing and just some vague bullshit concept about “Windows opening and closing”… like the totally unnecessary deaths of 19 firefighters all boils down to how to properly ventilate your summer beach cottage.

    >> Pat Beers also said…
    >>
    >> Obviously poor decisions were made, 10-18 not observed or we would
    >> not have had the outcome of 19 dead firefighters.

    Agreed.

    Those “Rules of Engagement” were ALREADY paid for at the highest price possible.

    If they had been diligently followed by Granite Mountain on June 30, 2013… we would NOT be here having this discussion.

    >> Pat Beers also said…
    >>
    >> The real question that comes to my mind is that if other experienced leaders
    >> saw actions prior to this fire what did they do? Ignore it? It’s great to have it
    >> all documented and offer it up after the tragedy but how about being proactive
    >> with the information rather than having an “I knew this would happen”. That
    >> perhaps could be a topic of a lessons learned AAR.

    There is no question that the ‘question that comes to your mind’ is VALID, and REMAINS part of the REAL “Lessons to Learn” from what basically amounts to ( and will hopefully never be surpassed ) the “Greatest Blunder in the History of Wildland Firefighting”.

    Notice that, in his email(s), David Provencio seemed to be ‘pointing out’ to SAIT Co-Lead Mike Dudley that there was/is a PLURALITY of ‘questionable’ Type 1 IHC Hotshot Crews operating out there… and that he ( and, apparently, other Type 1 IHC Hotshot Superintendents ) KNOW this.

    In his first emal to SAIT Co-Lead Mike Dudle, David Provencio said…
    ———————————————————————————
    Myself and others were in contact with Blue Ridge and T3 OSC several hours after the incident. Brian Frisby is one I would value my life with, so as I’m thinking and getting ready to send my son to a Hotshot crew next year, I know the good ones and the not so good ones.
    ———————————————————————————-

    Provencio is saying to Dudley, flat out, that there are SOME ‘Type 1 IHC Crews’ ( PLURAL ) out there that he would trust with his own son’s life… but as for some ‘others’… no fucking way.

    What else are we supposed to make of THAT other than it seems to be ‘common knowledge’ among some Type 1 IHC crews which other ones are worthy of ‘trust’ ( and unlikely to ‘kill’ crewmembers and/or their own sons ) and which ones are NOT?

    So… is anything being DONE about THAT?

    How many OTHER ‘Type 1 Hotshot Crews’ and/or ‘Superintendents’ are ‘out there’ ( right now? ) that have EARNED descriptive nicknames like “One Up”… or are Crews that many OTHER Crews always HOPE they don’t have to have anything to do with on a fire assignment?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    Is ANYONE in the U.S. Forestry Service ( the agency responsible for CERTIFYING ALL of these ‘Type 1 IHC Crews’ ) even interested in THAT little ‘revelation’?

    The ‘answer’ there appears to be the same one that U.S. Forestry Safety Programs Director ( and not even a member of the SAIT ) Steve Holdsambeck wrote back to Mike Dudley with regards to the Provencio emails.

    “That’s a place we do NOT want to go”.

    Investigations 101 says that you “GO wherever the evidence LEADS you”, no matter what.

    To say you are actually running an ‘investigation’ ( and being paid good taxpayer dollars to do so ) and then be telling your own investigative team flat-out that there are “places we don’t even want to go”… means you are NOT doing what you are SUPPOSED to be doing, AND being PAID to do.

    It means you are AFRAID to “go wherever the evidence might lead you”, and you have already DECIDED to just do a ‘whitewash’, sorta-kinda explain what might have happened, make it ‘sound like we did our jobs’, and then call it a day.

    And then you are ALLOWED to “get away with it”.

    That is exactly what happened with this totally taxpayer-funded ‘SAIT investigation’.

    It was NOT an ‘investigation’ at all… and they got away with ‘pretending’ that it WAS.

    There still needs to be an ACTUAL ‘investigation’ of what happened that entire weekend in Yarnell.

    Even the sole survivor of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew ( Brendan McDonough himself ) has said so… in PUBLIC… .just 2 weeks ago.

    • Martininsocal says

      Many IHCs out there are Prima Donnas who do what they want on incidents and don’t care about what DivS or ICs say. I know this from personal experience and have forwarded information regarding improper and unsafe actions on incidents and you know what? Nothing is done. And it is stuff like this that will continue to allow Sups like Marsh to make bad choices and create working environments where saying ‘no’ is not accepted. There is too much emphasis placed in titles rather than abilities these days. And much of that can be blamed on the folks simply doing the card punching for D.C.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to Martininsocal post on May 24, 2016 at 10:07 pm

        >> Martininsocal said…
        >>
        >> Many IHCs out there are Prima Donnas who do what they
        >> want on incidents and don’t care about what DivS or ICs say.
        >> I know this from personal experience and have forwarded
        >> information regarding improper and unsafe actions on
        >> incidents

        Forwarded… to WHO?

        Names, please… and any other details you can provide.

        >> Martininsocal said…
        >>
        >> and you know what? Nothing is done.

        That’s NOT acceptable. Never has been. Never will be.

        And it’s NOT what I ( and MANY others ) are paying tax dollars to support.

        >> Martininsocal said…
        >>
        >> And it is stuff like this that will continue to allow Sups
        >> like Marsh to make bad choices and create working
        >> environments where saying ‘no’ is not accepted.
        >> There is too much emphasis placed in titles rather
        >> than abilities these days. And much of that can be
        >> blamed on the folks simply doing the card punching for D.C

        Then it’s time to ‘shut it down’… before any more ‘kids’ who have their whole lives ahead of them get killed because of all this.

        I understand that MANY of these ‘Battalion Chiefs’ who are just signing off on each other’s ‘red-card’ qualifications like a bunch of corrupt boy scouts handing out merit badges to each other are a BIG part of the problem as well.

        That also has to stop.

        Thank you for taking the time to add your comments to this discussion.

  9. jglenn says

    This one is “difficult” for me…

    Researchers argue that certain factors fuel our tendency toward hindsight bias “also known as the knew-it-all-along effect or creeping determinism, is the inclination, after an event has occurred, to see the event as having been predictable, despite there having been little or no objective basis for predicting it”.

    “Research also shows that we selectively recall information that confirms what we know to be true and we try to create a narrative that makes sense out of the information we have. When this narrative is easy to generate, we interpret that to mean that the outcome must have been foreseeable. Furthermore, research suggests that we have a need for closure that motivates us to see the world as orderly and predictable and to do whatever we can to promote a positive view of ourselves.”

    Research also suggests that people (we) still exhibit the hindsight bias even when we are aware of it or possess the intention of eradicating it. There is no solution to eliminate hindsight bias in its totality, but only ways to reduce it. Some of which include considering alternative explanations or opening one’s mind to different perspectives (I believe several of the Yarnell staff rides focus on this prior to kicking off).

    So… Did Schoeffler and Provencio really see this coming??? Or are they attempting to create a post narrative that makes sense out of the information we now know? The “human” behavior need for closure + the motivation to see the fire/IHC world as orderly and predictable and promote a positive view of ourselves??? This, I don’t know…

    Excellent discussions/thoughts…

    • Martininsocal says

      Unfortunately, this is not the first time something like this has happened. It is a replay of something very similar in 1966. The crew dynamics that played a part in the Loop Fire seem like a ghost from the past here. Just missing the berets.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to Martininsocal post on May 24, 2016 at 10:11 pm

        >> Martininsocal said…
        >>
        >> Unfortunately, this is not the first time something like
        >> this has happened. It is a replay of something very similar
        >> in 1966. The crew dynamics that played a part in the
        >> Loop Fire seem like a ghost from the past here.

        Yep. Right down to the “ghost from the past” ‘Conclusions and Recommendations’ made after the ‘investigation’ ( cough, cough ) of THAT tragedy…

        Official REPORT…
        The LOOP FIRE Disaster – Angeles National Forest – California Region
        Report Title: A Brief of the Report of the Group Assigned to Analyze
        the LOOP FIRE Accident.
        From: The U.S. Department of Agriculture – Forest Service – Washinton, DC.
        Published: November 1, 1996
        http://www.coloradofirecamp.com/fire-origins/loop-fire-brief.htm

        From the ‘Conclusions’ section of the official LOOP FIRE report…
        ——————————————————————————–
        From all that can be determined at this time, there was NO evidence of negligence, disobedience or carelessness in the Loop Fire control operation based on present standards and practices.
        ——————————————————————————–

        And now… from PDF page 8 of the Yarnell Hill Fire SAIT report…
        ——————————————————————————–
        The Yarnell Hill Fire “Serious Accident Investigation Team” generated the following conclusions:

        The Granite Mountain IHC… crew followed all standards and guidelines as stated in the Standards for Interagency Hotshot Crew Operations and the Arizona State Forestry Division’s Standard Operational Guideline 804.

        The judgments and decisions of the incident management organizations managing this fire were reasonable. Firefighters performed within their scope of duty, as defined by their respective organizations. The “Serious Accident Investigation Team found NO indication of negligence, reckless actions, or violations of policy or protocol.
        ——————————————————————————–

        Is there an ECHO in the room?

        >> Martininsocal said…
        >>
        >> Just missing the berets.

        Thank you for participating in this ongoing discussion… but that’s that curious phrase of yours again.

        Can you clarify what you were/are really trying to say there?

        Do you mean that they were just ‘acting’ like ‘Green Beret’ jarheads and somehow blindly obeying orders ( even stupid ones )… or are you implying that anyone with even just a few hours of training and an FF1 rating is automatically the equivalent of highly trained members of the US Military “Special Forces”?

        This was only John Percin Jr’s SECOND fire that he’d even ever been on… in his entire life… and he never came home because the men he had trusted his life to didn’t bother to make sure he did.

        • Smokey307 says

          I will comment because I was on the Dalton IHC on that sector of line when the chimney blew up. The El Cariso Superintendent, Gordon King, knew that hot shots worked harder and in the more dangerous parts of a fire than many others. He establish some incentives for his men. After a crewman worked a shift of hot line he was awarded a black beret. The crewmen had pulaski handles which were totems that recorded that crewman’s fire history for that particular fire season. Most IHC had “hotshot attitudes” and believed we (all hotshots) were the best. My experience was that the El Cariso guys wore those berets in camp and lorded it over other hotshot crews. The berets were subsequently banned because it was said they created an invincible attitude. The Dalton Super, Chuck Hartley, turned down the same assignment for us because he believed the assignment was too dangerous after scouting the line. Unfortunately, the Line Boss did tell Gordon that Chuck turned down the assignment. I think there were many things that contributed to the Loop tragedy. The big one was poor communication. Line Boss did not tell Gordon that one of his peers did not consider the assignment safe, and that El Cariso did not have a radio that communicated with anyone else on the fire. I think they believed their sense of invincibility stressed by the crew culture.

  10. Jon says

    As I had talked with two hotshot crew bosses and marsh….I caught wind of the unsafe practices and animosity and the written of history of the crew…this was before the burnover…..never brought it up till now. …

    • Woodsman says

      Jon,

      Spill it, friend. You’ll feel better and potentially help prevent anything like this from happening again or as a minimum, reduce the chances. Thank you for your contribution to the effort!

      Woodsman

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Jon post on May 22, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      >> Jon said…
      >>
      >> As I had talked with two hotshot crew bosses and marsh….I caught
      >> wind of the unsafe practices and animosity and the written of history
      >> of the crew…

      When you say ‘animosity’… can you tell us a little more about what you mean there?

      Are you saying you actually heard/saw first-hand some kind of ‘animosity’ happening either between other Hotshot Superintendents and Eric Marsh… or within the Granite Mountain organization itself?

      >> Jon also said…
      >>
      >> this was before the burnover…..never brought it up till now. …

      Well… thank you for doing so now.

      What else can you tell us?

      This ‘radio channel’ is OPEN. Fire away.

  11. Pat Byrnes says

    John Dougherty’s article here seems to be following a similar line to Kyle Dickman’s book, in which Dickman seems to think he understood Eric Marsh’s frame of mind and considered Marsh aggressive, or was willing to entertain the idea that Eric Marsh felt he had a lot to prove in the face of critics or threats to his crew.
    Where does Fernanda Santos come down on the issue of Eric Marsh’s decision-making in her book?

    • Joy A. Collura says

      Pat Byrnes says Where does Fernanda Santos come down on the issue of Eric Marsh’s decision-making in her book?

      MY REPLY:
      Santos said her book was not at all touching the investigation or decisions on that day-
      it was to place a book to hinor the men and their families-

  12. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to Joy A. Collura post ( down below ) on May 20, 2016 at 9:26 am

    >> Joy A. Collura said…
    >>
    >> John did you ask for everything pertaining to yarnell because
    >> we already know David turbyfill asked to be a.part in question n answer
    >> and I never saw that in link but we know by his testimony

    David Turbyfill: The FATHER of deceased Granite Mountain Hotshot Travis Turbyfill.

    Mr. David Turbyfill himself recently posted over in Chapter XX ( 20 ) of the ongoing Yarnell Hill Fire discussion that he was NOT allowed to attend the same settlement-mandated ‘Question and Answer’ day that the other Family Members who were part of Patrick McGroder’s ‘consolidated wrongful death’ lawsuits were allowed to attend.

    But Mr. David Turbyfill WAS allowed to attend the equivalent settlement-mandated ‘Family Members (Beta) Staff Ride’ that was held the first week of April, 2016.

    From the following post from David Turbyfill…
    http://www.investigativemedia.com/please-begin-yarnell-hill-fire-chapter-xx-here/#comment-334317

    —————————————————————————-
    >> WantsToKnowTheTruth asked Mr. David Turbyfill…
    >>
    >> I was just wondering if YOU, yourself, had the opportunity to
    >> particpate in the settlement-mandated “Question and Answer Day”?

    David Turbyfill responded…

    In short, no I was not at the Q&A day.

    Longer version; I had been in to a private meeting last summer with Jeff Whittney and also met with Joy Hernbrode, expressed my desire to attend said Q&A meetting, they said they thought it might ok but needed to run it by the Attorneys, Ultimately the Plaintiff Attorneys didn’t want any one that was not part of their case to participate, according to Joy Hernbrode.
    —————————————————————————-

    Recently released emails now CONFIRM that’s the way it went down.

    But it was more than just because attorney Patrick McGroder didn’t want any Family Member who wasn’t a ‘client’ of his to attend.

    It was because THEY ( and some of the family members they represented? ) specifically thought Mr. David Turbyfill was (quote) “abrasive” and that it would be (quote) “counterproductive” for him to be allowed to attend a meeting where he would actually be allowed to ask questions about the death of his son.

    Here is the email exchange itself which ‘shut down’ Mr. Turbyfill’s request to attend the official Question and Answer session…

    ** THE NAMES…

    David Turbyfill – The FATHER of deceased Granite Mountain Hotshot Travis Turbyfill.

    Jeff Whitney – Arizona State Forester. He replaced Scott Hunt, who was the Arizona State Forester in June, 2013, when the Yarnell Hill Fire took place.

    Joy Hernbode – A lawyer, and Arizona State Forestry Division’s Deputy Director for Administrative Services.

    Patrick J. McGroder – Prescott Attorney that handled ONLY the 12 consolidated Granite Mountain Family Members’ ‘wrongful death’ lawsuits that were ‘settled’ out of court in an agreement with Arizona Forestry.

    Shannon L. Clark – An attorney with the firm “Gallagher & Kennedy” in Phoenix who was working with attorney Patrick McGroder and helping to set up the settlement-mandated Yarnell Hill Fire ‘Question and Answer’ day.

    ** THE EMAILS THEMSELVES…

    Mr. Turbyfill had expressed his desire to attend the official ‘Question and Answer’ day in meetings he had with both Arizona State Forester Jeff Whitney and his Deputy Administrative Assistant Joy Hernbrode.

    That request has been ‘passed on’ to attorney Patrick McGroder and his assistants… and here they are coming back to Arizona Forestry’s Joy Hernbrode with their ‘decision’ about whether the father of deceased Granite Mountain Hotshot Travis Turbyfill should even be allowed to attend the Q/A meeting…

    ===========================================================
    From: Clark, Shannon L.
    Sent: Tuesday, January 26, 2016 12:08 PM
    To: Joy Hernbrode
    Cc: McGroder, Patrick J.
    Subject: David Turbyfill

    We think it would be counterproductive for him to attend.
    He is abrasive and he’s not our client.
    ===========================================================

    And here is Joy Hernbrode, just TWO MINUTES after receiving this email ‘shutting down’ Mr. Turbyfill’s attendance, asking Jeff Whitney how they should go about telling Mr. Turbyfill…

    ===========================================================
    From: Joy Hernbrode
    Sent: Tuesday, January 26, 2016 12:10 PM
    To: Jeff Whitnery
    Subject: Re: David Turbyfill

    Jeff: Do you want to call Mr. Turbyfill or should I?

    Included: The email that came from Shannon L. Clark.
    ===========================================================
    From: Jeff Whitney
    Sent: Tuesday, January 26, 2016 1:16 PM
    To: Joy Hernbrode
    Subject: Re: David Turbyfill

    So, it would appear that our call to him would be to wave him off?
    If so either of us could call MrTurbyfill…I could but it’ll tomorrow at the earliest. Regardless of
    which of us contacts him, I’d like to offer him some time if he would interested … Let me
    know. Thx, Jefe

    Sent from my iPhone
    ===========================================================
    From: Joy Hernbrode
    Sent: Tuesday, January 26, 2016 5:14 PM
    To: Jeff Whitnery
    Subject: Re: David Turbyfill

    I called him back but had to leave a message. Told him to call either you or me.
    ===========================================================
    From: Jeff Whitney
    Sent: Tuesday, January 26, 2016 6:53 PM
    To: Joy Hernbrode
    Subject: Re: David Turbyfill

    Thx!

    Sent from my iPhone
    ===========================================================

  13. Sharm Jenson says

    If Eric Marsh has a documented history of ignoring safety protocol, that is important information.. SOMEONE ordered his men off the safety of the black into a very dangerous trap to save time getting to the ranch.

    Apparently those who cling to the hero story don’t want to accept the fact that it’s VERY possible that many men died a preventable death due to human error and recklessness. If so, this tragedy could save lives in the future, but authorities and survivors want to cling to the hero story for the money, recognition and fame it has brought them. They are not at all interested in looking into this important aspect of the facts involved. Not at all.

    If only these men said ‘no’, the order was too dangerous. They would be home today. And that’s a lot better than being in the ground with everyone claiming you are a hero. Seems a lot of survivors prefer the current situation (!!!) as they seem to have no interest in even considering their loved ones may have suffered and died needlessly due to bad leadership. They often are hostile to anyone who even suggests a problem with leadership that day. THAT in itself is VERY telling! A very sad situation and I feel sorry for those who died because they followed a rogue leader where no firefighter with a brain should have gone.

    The truth isn’t always pretty. It is what it is. And, often it can prevent further harm in the future, if you are not too selfish to allow it.!! Not the case here. Selfish and hateful. Greedy and self absorbed. Truly a pathetic situation. One of the worst examples of human response to tragedy in my lifetime.. Heroes? If they were alive, they would want the truth to be clear. THAT would be a hero and I believe the victims of this tragedy will NOT rest until the truth is known.

  14. William Riggles says

    The Forest Service investigation concluded that nobody did anything wrong and that all actions taken by Yarnell wildfire supervisors and the Granite Mountain crew were reasonable and appropriate.

    This approach makes it O.K. to make the same mistakes in the future!

    • Joy A. Collura says

      To me the recent article with link to emails showed to me if
      https://youtu.be/YDQRLXZV1Ro
      https://youtu.be/J1lBgicPq5A can get rounding up on the one.video.48,000 looks than 2144 pages with.some.redundant redacted documents is not everything and John did you ask for everything pertaining to yarnell because we already know David turbyfill asked to be a.part in question n answer and I never saw that in link but we know by his testimony and the list goes on. I was told by forestry today they are working on a concern with the families lawyers…so maybe this article delayed my requests but sure wish the families did not have to face any of this. Stinks.

    • Joy A. Collura says

      Welcome back William Riggles..been a long time…I remember you August 2013..12 yes with Smokey near hotshot right..good to see.you here again…

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to William Riggles post on May 20, 2016 at 8:04 am

      >> William Riggles said…
      >>
      >> The Forest Service investigation concluded that nobody did anything
      >> wrong and that all actions taken by Yarnell wildfire supervisors and
      >> the Granite Mountain crew were reasonable and appropriate.
      >>
      >> This approach makes it O.K. to make the same mistakes in the future!

      Yes, it does.

      The best that some of the people that actually knew the men who died will ever be able to admit to themselves is probably something along the lines of “Well… maybe they weren’t as RIGHT that day as they could have been… but that still doesn’t mean they actually did anything WRONG”… and I suppose that is perfectly understandable.

      Brendan McDonough himself put it this way when he was being interviewed by the Arizona Department of Occupational Safety and Health ( ADOSH ) who were/are always legally tasked with investigating ALL serious accidents ( and especially fatalities ) in ANY Arizona employer workplace…

      From Brendan McDonough’s second ( of two ) ADOSH interviews on October 10, 2013…

      Q2 = Marshal Krotenberg, ADOSH lead investigator.
      A = Brendan McDonough
      ——————————————————————————————-
      1074 A: And I’m not saying anyone made any mistakes because, you know, it – it
      1075 happened because of what decisions were made. I know. Whether – whether
      1076 it was – it’s not that it wasn’t a wrong decision. It just wasn’t the right one, if
      1077 that makes sense, you know?
      1078
      1079 Q2: Didn’t work out.
      1080
      1081 A: Yeah.
      ——————————————————————————————

      But in his new book, released just 2 weeks ago, Brendan actually CONFIRMS that the basic ‘operational policy’ of the Granite Mountain organization was, in fact, “risk a lot… save a lot”… and that ‘operational policy’ was coming form the “top down”.

      This, too, just reconfirms what Brendan told ADOSH investigators in that same interview way back on October 10, 2013…

      ——————————————————————————————-
      831 A: I think that’s just the job in general. I mean, you know, you want –
      832 you risk a lot, you save a lot.
      ——————————————————————————————-

      But when asked by ADOSH ( just moments after admitting that it was ‘policy’ for Granite Mountain to always ‘risk a lot… save a lot’ ) about the established SAFETY RULES for Wildland Firefighting ( like “Fight fire aggressively, but with SAFETY FIRST”, the 10&18, LCES, etc. )… Brendan just said the following…

      ——————————————————————————————–
      1025 A: It’s – it’s hillbilly. It’s what it is.
      1026
      1027 Q2: Yeah?
      1028
      1029 A: It’s old. It’s, uh, no offense to whoever came up with that, um, I mean no
      1030 disrespect to anybody, but, I mean, it is the way they fight wildland fires today
      1031 is, I mean…
      1032
      1033 Q2: Oh it’s…
      1034
      1035 A: We’re smart. We’re a lot smarter.
      ——————————————————————————————–

      And even in his ‘new book’… Brendan confirms this.

      I would give you a page reference in Brendan’s new book where he ever even mentions LCES… if I could… but I can’t. That’s because he NEVER mentions it at all. Not once. Not ever.

      Not even when he was describing what he thought might have been going through Eric Marsh’s and Jesse Steed’s minds that day with regards to the risky move to the Boulder Springs Ranch.

      So to say ( officially ) that “No one did anything wrong that day. Zero. Zip Nada” is to also ( officially ) ‘condone’ the “risk a lot… save a lot” approach ( with little or even no attention to the established safety rules ) to Wildland Firefighting… which we know now really was one of the underlying causes of this terrible tragedy in Yarnell.

      And that’s also what former Type 1 IHC Geronimo Hotshots Superintendent David Provencio was trying to point out to SAIT Co-Lead Mike Dudley on August 5, 2013, WHILE Dudley was conducting his ‘investigation’ into the tragic ( and unnecessary ) deaths.

      That he ( and OTHER Hotshot Superintendents ) were being introduced first-hand to Eric Marsh’s “risk a lot… save a lot” Firefighting policy that day… and THEY ( collectively ) ALL said “No way, Eric… it’s TOO risky”.

      • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

        The ‘risk a lot to save a lot’ terminology should NEVER, EVER, have been brought into, or utilized in, the wildland world, and here’s why:

        The complete terminology of ‘risk a lot to save a lot, risk a little to save a little, and risk nothing to save nothing’, was brought into the structural firefighting world to promote safer operations, at a time when too many structural firefighter were being killed in situations where nothing could have possibly been saved anyway.

        The “lot” in the saying, SPECIFICALLY MEANS “LIVES”, as in, risk a life to save a life. The “little” in the saying, simply means structures, as in, risk a little to save a structure. The “nothing” in the saying, simply means, if nothing can be saved, risk nothing (which could be applied to vacant land, as well).

        You will notice that there is NOTHING in the above paragraph that describes risking a lot (life) for anything other than saving the life of another human being (and specifically, that’s a viable human being, who would not have already succumbed to heat and poisonous gases).

        Apparently the phrases in question, got ‘mission-creeped’ into GM thinking processes, where they became bastardized into meaning something totally outside of the specifics they were created for.

        This, in and of itself, is a strong example of just one of the external factors never investigated, because the USFS has decided “external factors” shouldn’t be included in any of their fatality investigations, even though, during the SAIT, they had someone designated to do just that.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Reply to The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive TTWARE
          post on May 21, 2016 at 11:34 am

          >> TTWARE said…
          >>
          >> The ‘risk a lot to save a lot’ terminology should NEVER, EVER,
          >> have been brought into, or utilized in, the wildland world, and
          >> here’s why:
          >>
          >> The complete terminology of ‘risk a lot to save a lot, risk a
          >> little to save a little, and risk nothing to save nothing’, was
          >> brought into the structural firefighting world to promote
          >> safer operations, at a time when too many structural
          >> firefighter were being killed in situations where nothing
          >> could have possibly been saved anyway.

          Yep.

          Original ‘quote’ came from Phoenix, Arizona Fire Chief Alan Brunacini’s book he write in 1985, entitled “Fire Command” and published by the National Fire Protection Association ( NFPA ).

          “Risk a lot to save a lot, risk a little to save a little, and risk nothing to save nothing.” ( Brunacini, 1985)

          By his own admission… Brunacini said the concepts and advice in his book were ONLY meant to cover “STRUCTURAL firefighting”.

          STRUCTURAL Fire Chief Brunacini’s 1985 book is still available on Amazon…
          http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Command-Alan-Brunacini/dp/0877652848/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

          By 2001… even on the STRUCTURAL side of firefighting… the International Association of Fire Chiefs ( which original book author Brunacini himself was a member of ) decided that even STRUCTURAL firefighters had begun to ‘bastardize’ that original saying to justify their own over-the-top risk taking… so they ( the IAFC ) issued a new bulletin and ‘updated’ their own official ‘Rules of Engagement’…

          http://feti.lsu.edu/resources/2015/SB-21.pdf


          IAFC’S 10 RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

          The International Association of Fire Chief’s (IAFC), in 2001, developed and published its “10 Rules of Engagement for Structural Firefighting” that apply to all fires:

          Acceptability of Risk

          1. No building or property is worth the life of a firefighter.

          >> TTWARE also said…
          >>
          >> The “lot” in the saying, SPECIFICALLY MEANS “LIVES”, as in, risk
          >> a life to save a life. The “little” in the saying, simply means
          >> structures, as in, risk a little to save a structure. The “nothing” in the
          >> saying, simply means, if nothing can be saved, risk nothing (which
          >> could be applied to vacant land, as well).
          >>
          >> You will notice that there is NOTHING in the above paragraph that
          >> describes risking a lot (life) for anything other than saving the life of
          >> another human being (and specifically, that’s a viable human being,
          >> who would not have already succumbed to heat and poisonous gases).
          >>
          >> Apparently the phrases in question, got ‘mission-creeped’ into GM
          >> thinking processes, where they became bastardized into meaning
          >> something totally outside of the specifics they were created for.

          Thank you for pointing that out.

          YES… ‘adrenaline junkies’ and people who are too obsessed with the whole HERO thing have been ALLOWED to turn the phrase into something that ( to them ) just means…

          “If we ‘risk a lot’ ALL THE TIME… then every now and then we might
          SAVE A LOT and keep the HERO MOJO going”.

          Once again… Brendan CONFIRMED that WAS the ‘GM way of thinking’ in his October 10, 2013 ADOSH interview. Right after telling ADOSH that he was ‘taught’ that the job of being a ‘Hotshot’ is to “risk a lot, save a lot”, Brendan takes it a step further and confirmed that they would ALWAYS do that ( risk ANYTHING )… even if there was the chance nothing would come from it…

          A = Brendan McDonough
          ———————————————————————————–
          836 A: …Risk anything, sometimes don’t get anything out of it.
          ———————————————————————————–

          And just moments later… Brendan also told ADOSH that as far as Granite Mountain was concerned… simple ‘structures’ ( even empty ones ) were right up there on their “risk a LOT, save a LOT” radar…

          ———————————————————————————–
          846 A: …if you risk a LOT, we could save a house.
          ———————————————————————————–

          >> TTWARE also said…
          >>
          >> This, in and of itself, is a strong example of just one of the
          >> external factors never investigated, because the USFS has
          >> decided “external factors” shouldn’t be included in any of their
          >> fatality investigations, even though, during the SAIT, they had
          >> someone designated to do just that.

          Yep. His name was Brad Mayhew, and he was the DESIGNATED “Human Factors” investigator for the SAIT investigation Team.

          Here is what his ‘job’ was supposed to be during the SAIT investigation, as per his ‘credit’ at the bottom of the publicly released SAIR report…

          PDF page 119 of the SAIR…
          Appendix H: SAIT Team Members & Signature Page
          Investigation Team
          Brad Mayhew, Investigator / Human Factors, Fireline Factors Consulting

          According to the emails just released by USFS… The actual person who was in CHARGE of the “Human Factors” aspects of the SAIT investigation was never even informed by Mike Dudley about the emails he was receiving ( with the offer of DOCUMENTED PROOF ) from Type 1 IHC Geronimo Hotshot Superintendent David Provencio.

          So not only do these emails (apparently) show us that Mike Dudley ended up ‘thanking’ people for the (quote) “hard work they did” helping him to HIDE evidence ( the original Aarron Hulburd M2U00265 video )… we also (apparently) see Mike Dudley purposely deciding to HIDE potentially relevant evidence from his OWN SAIT team members.

          And any evidence related to “Human Factors” was, no doubt, crucial evidence that SHOULD have been fully evaluated by the SAIT.

          From the article above…

          ——————————————————

          In October 2013 a GROUP of hotshot superintendents went to the Yarnell Hill fire fatality site and went over the scenario they believe led to the tragedy, David Provencio said.

          The hotshot superintendents concluded that the Yarnell Hill disaster was one that many of them saw coming for years. The crew, under Marsh’s leadership, had been lucky until June 30 because it had survived a series of bad leadership decisions.

          “This shit shouldn’t have ever happened,” one hotshot superintendent said during the gathering of those who best know how a hotshot crew should SAFELY operate.

          —————————————————————

        • Woodsman says

          TTWARE,

          Your post is one of the best I’ve read since I’ve been here. Thanks for doing the work to break down ‘risk a lot to save a lot.’

          This part should be studied repeatedly until it gets through everyone’s thick head:

          “The “lot” in the saying, SPECIFICALLY MEANS “LIVES”, as in, risk a life to save a life. The “little” in the saying, simply means structures, as in, risk a little to save a structure. The “nothing” in the saying, simply means, if nothing can be saved, risk nothing (which could be applied to vacant land, as well).”

          Not only are you 100% correct, it should be required reading and understanding for every single firefighter out there. You’ve done a great service to firefighter’s by this post and I’m going to keep it for future training if you don’t mind.

          Thank you,

          Woodsman

      • says

        Exactly what I was referring to. Shocking to even hear “risk a lot; save a lot”. Never heard that before.

        Risky actions always made my hair stand up. From then on it should be Risk vs. Gain.

    • George Atwood says

      That’s exactly right Bill. The conclusion of the investigation can only be that it’s acceptable practice to leave a safe “black” area at the peak of the burning period to walk down canyon into a narrow gulch with brush over your head, no eyes on the fire, and thunderstorms building nearby. Those investigators have committed a great dis-service against the wildland Fire community. They clearly served the highest needs of upper management and attorneys, not firefighters. It’s maddening. But what would we expect? These aren’t leaders! Even if they spent some time in Fire, these are managers, not leaders. We know there’s a big difference.

  15. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Thank you for this article, John.

    Unless someone wants to offer some reason to think otherwise… there is absolutely NO reason to believe that what David Provencio was TRYING to tell Mike Dudley and the SAIT, in order to assist with their investigation, wasn’t the TRUTH.

    Some interesting ‘other people’ have now joined the ranks of those who think it is ESSENTIAL to still learn as much as is humanly possible about the Yarnell Hill Tragedy… because doing so *could* save lives in the future.

    Namely… Amanda Marsh and Brendan McDonough

    ** AMANDA MARSH

    And after a long period of Amanda Marsh saying that she has never really been that interested in the ‘details’ of what happened in Yarnell on Sunday, June 30, 2013… she recently had THIS to say on her own PUBLIC “Eric Marsh Foundation for Wildland Firefighters” Facebook page…

    Amanda Marsh: “I want the Yarnell Hill Fire to be studied for the TRUTH of what happened so that future fighters can learn.”

    https://www.facebook.com/ericmarshfoundationforwildlandfirefighters/

    ** BRENDAN MCDONOUGH

    A little over a week ago, during his ‘publicity tour’ to promote his new book… Brendan McDonough called ( PUBLICLY ) for a ‘reopening’ of the investigation so that ALL firefighters in the future can know what REALLY happened… and LEARN the PROPER LESSONS.

    Here is an excerpt from one of Brendan McDonough’s PUBLIC interviews that he had been giving all week long ( the first week of May ) in association with the release of his new book…

    KTAR News ( Radio )
    May 2, 2016 – Hour: 3
    http://ktar.com/player/?a=321314

    Content description…

    Mac and Gaydos of KTAR Radio talk with Brendan McDonough, the sole survivor of the Yarnell Hill Fire that killed 19 of his firefighting brothers. Brandon wrote the book “My Lost Brothers.” which will be available for sale tomorrow, May 3, 2016.

    From this radio interview with Brendan McDonough…
    —————————————————————————————
    +16:23
    Interviewer: With the investigation… did you… did you read over the investigation?
    Do you kind of agree with what the investigation found?
    What were your thoughts on how it all kinda sort of ended and wrapped up with the government investigating everything?

    +16:34
    Brendan McDonough: I think with the investigation there’s some things that… there’s definitely some things that have been found since then. Since the investigation. I believe it needs to be opened up again and some… certain things need to be added to it because… any decision that was made that day led to their death… and we need to learn from that… and the wildfire community needs to have those answers and those lessons so that we can prevent this again. So I believe there’s a LOT of information that has been found and… will probably CONTINUE to be found for quite some time that needs to be put… put in there… so when someone looks it up that they can… they can SEE it… they can LEARN from it. Ya know… 20 years from down from the road these young fireman can… can SEE these lessons learned… and PREVENT it.
    —————————————————————————————–

    So Brendan is specifically calling for the ‘re-opening’ of the Yarnell Hill Fire investigation and he says (quote) “certain things need to be added to it” because (quote) “any decision that was made that day led to their deaths”.

    There’s no other way to read that other than to now assume Brendan is SURE there is “more to learn” about why the GM Hotshots ended up where they were… and that these ‘other things’ that he is sure have YET to be revealed represent important “lessons to learn” for future Wildland Firefighters.

    • Sharm Jenson says

      Happy to hear this! The investigation should be reopened with all pertinent facts taken into consideration.

      Some survivors are VERY hostile to this idea. There is one posting here, but I don’t want to mention hr name. She can identify herself if she chooses.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Two corrections/clarifications for the post above.

      ** AMANDA MARSH section

      The direct link to the PUBLIC comment made by Amanda Marsh… “I want the Yarnell Hill Fire to be studied for the TRUTH of what happened so that future fighters can learn.” is actually as follows…

      https://www.facebook.com/ericmarshfoundationforwildlandfirefighters/photos/a.718463201580199.1073741828.706170532809466/1017234525036397/?type=3&theater

      ** BRENDAN MCDONOUGH section

      In Brendan’s recently published book… he does NOT repeat the story ( that he supposedly told Prescott Wildland Division Chief Darrell Willis ) about how he heard Eric Marsh and Jesse Steed (supposedly) ‘arguing’ about moving the GM Crew out of the safe black and down to the Boulder Springs Ranch… or how that ‘discussion’ ended with Eric Marsh simply ORDERING Jesse Steed to “bring the crew down here”.

      There is NO MENTION of anything like that ( now ) in Brendan’s new book.

      When Brendan was talking to Mac and Gaydos of KTAR Radio and said…

      “…there’s definitely some things that have been found since then. Since the investigation. I believe it needs to be opened up again and some… certain things need to be added to it because… any decision that was made that day led to their death… and we need to learn from that… and the wildfire community needs to have those answers and those lessons so that we can prevent this again”

      Brendan now seems to be referring to ‘decisions made’ by people OTHER than Eric Marsh or Jesse Steed. ‘Decisions’ that Brendan seems to be sure haven’t been revealed yet.

  16. Joy A. Collura says

    Gary Olson says
    MAY 19, 2016 AT 3:31 PM

    The most recent article by JD and the corresponding posts have brought several things into even clearer focus for me, so I am going to opine once again on my favorite bone to chew on…the Battlement Creek Fire and more specifically…the Battlement Creek Fire Staff Ride.

    And to do that, I am going to highlight the disingenuous work of a person I really liked, but as we have said, I don’t have friends; I only have targets and potential targets…if you disagree with me. And that person is once again the most powerful and influential Director of Aviation and Fire Management for the USFS, the person who currently sits in that office in Vallejo, California, Shawna Legarza.

    Shawna was the point person who created the Battlement Creek Fire Staff Ride based on lies even though she was repeatedly told by both Dr. Ted Putnam and I that was exactly what she was doing, but she did continued to do it anyway. Did she get her current job because of her work on the Battlement Creek Fire Staff Ride, yes…at least in part.

    But more importantly, she showed her potential and willingness to serve as one of the “Grey People” and do whatever is necessary to promote the interests of the USFS over everything else which includes the safety of wildland firefighters. In fact, I am going to take this even one step further by alleging that Shawna is partly responsible for the deaths of the crew…and I can tell you why.

    I have already gone over this information but I am going to do it again with a laser like focus…I hope and explain what I see as the direct cause and effect relationship between Shawna’s work on that particular staff ride and the death of the crew.

    The primary official “lesson learned” from the Battlement Creek Staff Ride was the loss of situational awareness in that the two hotshot crews who were involved in the disaster did not know the location or the assignment of the other crew. Bob and I beat this issue to death earlier downstream on this thread so I don’t think I need to do that again in any great detail.

    I think it will suffice to say we knew exactly where the Mormon Lake Crew was and what they were doing because not only could we READ it in the shift plan (what the Woodsman calls the IAP and it does NOT take a qualified Plans Chief to prepare as he has said more than once, it CAN be done on a bar napkin) we could see them on the slope working above us. In addition, our respective crew bosses not only had the fire net radio but our home forest net radio with them at all times. The reverse was also true for the Mormon Lake Hotshots. Both crews were where the plan directed them to be, doing exactly what they were doing at the time the incident occurred.

    So the bottom line is this…the Battlement Creek Fire Staff Ride has been using that disaster to teach the WRONG lesson all of these years. Now…those who think this is OK, and Shawna is probably one of those people, probably do so because even though it was not the right lesson to be teaching, it also wasn’t a bad lesson. Yes…wildland firefighters should know where their adjoining forces are at all times and what they are doing so they don’t kill them. Who can argue with that?

    But…wouldn’t it have been more beneficial to teach the correct lessons that should have been learned from that fire for the last 40 years, especially since one of those lessons that should have been learned is directly related to the deaths of the crew on the Yarnell Hill Fire? And that lesson is of course to watch out for a crew boss who has a chip on his shoulder and feels like he always has something to prove with his crew by engaging in a continual effort to “One Up” all of the other hotshot crew with reckless and daring behavior.

    Darrell Willis told me himself that he was a student of the Battlement Creek Fire Disaster. Don’t you think it might have been helpful for Willis to read what kind of crew boss Tony Czak was and what he did wrong to not only kill himself but two others as well, plus a fourth who was severely burned with third degree burns over most of his body? Maybe Willis could have recognized that quality in Marsh and even managed to associate Marsh’s nickname (One Up) with the potential of the same thing happening to his “sons.” And now don’t you think it might be helpful to possibly saving the lives of future wildland firefighters by linking the reckless behavior of Tony Czak with that of Eric Marsh to clearly demonstrate what CAN and HAS happened?

    And how about taking it even one step further and adding the reckless behavior of Gordon King from the El Cariso Hotshots who was responsible for the deaths of 12 of his crew on the Loop Fire Disaster of 1966? You probably remember from some of our earlier discussions that crew boss King took his crew into a narrow chute to build hand line above an uncontrolled fire when two other hotshot crews turned down the assignment because it was too dangerous.

    You know what they say; one time is an anomaly, two times is a coincidence, but three times is a pattern. Don’t you think it is about time for even the NWCG to be able to recognize this problem and take some steps to get a handle on the situation before we have a fourth time?

    Reply

  17. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** THE ACTUAL EMAILS

    Here is the email that former Type 1 IHC ‘Geronimo Hotshots’ Superintendent sent to SAIT Co-Lead Mike Dudley, at 9:31 AM on August 5, 2013.

    NOTE: The ‘Jerry Payne’ reference in the ‘Subject’ line is because this email was being sent to Mike Dudley just shortly after Arizona Forestry Deputy Director Jerry Payne himself had been quoted as saying that there certainly seemed to be some level of serious violations of the Wildland Firefighting LCES and 10&18 ‘rules of engagement’ involved in the demise of the 19 firefighters in Yarnell, on June 30, 2013.

    Location in original FOIA-992 release document: PDF page 314
    =========================================================================
    From: David Provencio, xxxxxxxx (a) xx.com
    Sent: 5 Aug 2013 15:31:27 +0000 ( 9:31:27 AM )
    To: Dudley, Mike -FS
    Subject: Fwd: Jerry Payne?

    Good morning Mike,

    As you may know there are many of us Hotshots, past and present IHC superintendents that are not very happy with the decisions made at Yarnell Hill. I know you have a tough job as the team leader for the investigation and I hope you report the truth. Myself and others were in contact with Blue Ridge and T3 OSC several hours after the incident. Brian Frisby is one I would value my life with, so as I’m thinking and getting ready to send my son to a Hotshot crew next year, I know the good ones and the not so good ones.

    Having worked with Granite Mtn before (we were next door neighbors), at San Carlos Apache Tribe, with Geronimo IHC. I can name several assignments from 2010 – 2012 where Eric Marsh made recommendations on some fire line work, BUT there was no other decision but turned it DOWN….. Yarnell Hill, although tragic, does not come as a surprise to me and many of us.

    To me this was just part of a trend that ended with this tragedy.

    If you would like to discuss those particular past assignments, I have them WELL DOCUMENTED in WRITING, and in my mind.

    Thanks for listening.

    Dave

    David Provencio xxxxxxxx (a) xx.com
    xxx-xxx-5635

    “Don’t strive to make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt”
    ==================================================================================

    David Provencio told Mike Dudley that he had all of this WELL DOCUMENTED and IN WRITING.

    A few hours later ( at 1:00 PM ), David Provencio realized he had not made himself fully clear in his prior email… so he sent SAIT Co-Lead Mike Dudley a ‘followup up’ email to CLARIFY what he was saying.

    Location in original FOIA-992 release document: PDF page 216
    ======================================================================
    From: David Provencio, xxxxxxxx ( at) xx.com
    Sent: Monday, August 05, 2013 1:00 PM
    To: Dudley, Mike -FS
    Subject: Fwd: Jerry Payne?

    Mike,

    Sorry about the clarity in my second paragraph…… Eric recommended an assignment and the rest of us turned it DOWN!, ….. the assignment(s): LCES, ORDERS, WATCH-OUTS had way tooooo many violations, poor decision making, …. I’m alive and my people are alive to tell you my story. I don’t agree that they are heroes, or what the Chief (and others) at the Prescott FD (group think) .

    Having trouble sleeping over this tragedy …… and I wasn’t even there ….

    THANKS AGAIN, Prov

    David Provencio
    xxxxxxxx ( at) xx.com
    xxx-xxx-5635

    “Don’t strive to make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt”
    =================================================================================

    Mike Dudley then immediately forwarded these emails from David Provencio to the following people. The very FIRST person Dudley was sending it to was fellow USFS employee Steve Holdsambeck, who wasn’t even a member of Dudley’s SAIT Yarnell investigation team.

    Steve Holdsambeck – USFS employee
    The U.S. Forestry Service’s Firefighting SAFETY Program Manager.

    Randy Draeger – USFS employee
    Member of Dudley’s SAIT team – Investigator/Process Coach; Regional SAFETY and Health Director, U.S. Forestry Intermountain Region.

    Jim Karels – SAIT Co-Lead and Florida State Forester.

    Richa Wilson – USFS employee
    Member of Dudley’s SAIT team – Documentation Specialist/Writer; Historian, U.S. Forestry Intermountain Region.

    Tom Zimmerman – Independent Consultant
    Member of Dudley’s SAIT team – Senior Wildland Fire Management Specialist.

    But Mike Dudley did NOT forward David Provencio’s emails to Brad Mayhew, the very member of his own SAIT team who was responsible for investigating the “Human Factors” causes/issues related to the Yarnell Hill tragedy.

    Here is Brad Mayhew’s ‘job description’ from the published SAIR document…

    Brad Mayhew – INVESTIGATOR / HUMAN FACTORS, Fireline Factors Consulting

    Dudley’s only comment to THIS list of people, at that time, was “Look who dropped me a note”.

    Location in original FOIA-992 release document: PDF page 1296
    ========================================================================
    From: Dudley, Mike -FS
    Sent: 5 Aug 2013 15:54:17 +0000 ( 9:54:17 AM )
    To: Holdsambeck, Steve -FS; Draeger, Randy – FS; karels (at) doacs.state.fl.us;
    Wilson, Richa -FS; Tom Zimmerman
    Subject:Fw: Fwd: Jerry Payne?

    Look who dropped me a note.

    Sent from my Blackberry

    Attachment: ( David Provencio’s email to Mike Dudley )
    ==================================================================

    67 minutes later… at 11:01 AM on August 5, 2013… Steve Holdsambeck ( USFS ) would then send his ‘Reply’ to Dudley’s email from earlier that morning in which Dudley had also ‘forwarded’ David Provencio’s original email…

    NOTE: Steve Holdsambeck was NOT even a member of Mike Dudley’s SAIT investigation team… and here he is telling Dudley how he thinks he should ‘handle’ the information coming from David Provencio…

    Location in original FOIA-992 release document: PDF page 668
    ========================================================================
    From: Holdsambeck, Steve -FS
    Sent: 5 Aug 2013 17:01:35 +0000 ( 11:01 AM )
    To: Dudley, Mike -FS
    Cc: Draeger, Randy -FS;Wilson, Richa -FS; Tom Zimmerman
    Subject: Re: Jerry Payne?

    Obviously you need to be careful how you respond to this. My advice would be somewhere between these two options:

    [ (b)(5), Deliberative Process Privilege ]
    [ THE REST OF THE BODY OF THIS EMAIL HAS BEEN REDACTED ]
    [ ABOUT 6 OR 7 LINES OF TEXT TOTAL HAVE BEEN REDACTED ]

    iPad mail
    Steve Holdsambeck
    Firefighter Safety Program Manager
    U.S. Forest Service – Intermountain Region
    324 25th St – Suite 4060
    Ogden, UT 84401 cell: xxx.xxx.7258
    =============================================================

    So although we can see that Steve Holdsambeck ( NOT a member of Dudley’s SAIT investigation team ) was telling fellow USFS employee Mike Dudley how he should ‘handle’ the Provencio information… U.S. Forestry has REDACTED his actual ‘suggestions’ back to Mike Dudley and they are mysteriously claiming the ‘Deliberative Process’ FOIA exemption to justify that redaction.

    The next day… Mike Dudley simply informs Jay Kurth, Jimmy Rocha, Jim Karels and Randy Draeger that he has no intentions of ‘following up’ on any of this with David Provencio…

    New names appearing now…

    Jay Kurth – USFS employee
    A member of Dudley’s SAIT team – Forest Fire Management Officer, Eldorado National Forest.

    Jimmy Rocha – USFS employee
    A member of Dudley’s SAIT team – Superintendent of the Rio Bravo Type 1 IHC Hotshot Crew, Kern County, California

    NOTE: Dudley’s own ‘Human Factors’ expert on his own SAIT team ( Brad Mayhew ) is STILL not being included in the email conversation or, himself, being give even the opportunity to ‘follow up’ with David Provencio.

    Location in original FOIA-992 release document: PDF page 216
    =======================================================================
    From: Dudley, Mike -FS
    Sent: 6 Aug 2013 13:39:27 +0000 ( 6:39 AM )
    To: Kurth, Jay -FS; Jimmy Rocha, Jim Karels, Draeger, Randy -FS
    Subject: FW: Jerry Payne?

    Jay, Jimmy,

    See the email below. I’ll let you decide if either of you want to talk to him. I’m not. MD

    Mike Dudley – USDA Forest Service mdudley@fs.fed.us 801-540-4881

    Attachment: ( Both of David Procencios’ original emails )
    ======================================================================

    An hour later, SAIT member and Superintendent of the Rio Bravo Type 1 IHC Hotshot Crew responded to Mike Dudley…

    Location in original FOIA-992 release document: PDF page 1891
    =======================================================================
    From: Jimmy Rocha
    Sent: 6 Aug 2013 07:42:00 -0700
    To: Dudley, Mike -FS
    Subject: Re: Jerry Payne?

    I think I’m okay not talking to him. Surprised he has not called me yet
    JR

    Sent from my iPhone
    ========================================================================

    Notice that Jimmy Rocha says he just ‘THINKS’ he’s “Okay not talking to him”, indicating he had some reservations about NOT doing so… but if SAIT Co-Lead Mike Dudley wasn’t going to give a fuck about any of this… then why should he.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Followup…

      SAIT team member Tom Zimmerman also ended up ‘Replying’ ( privately, No CCs ) back to Mike Dudley with regards to the first David Provencio email… but all he had to say was that he thought David Provencio was just “all over the place” and that he ( Zimmerman ) agreed with Steve Holdsambeck’s advice about being “careful” and it being a place “to NOT go”.

      NOTE: At the time he was serving on the SAIT Yarnell Investigation Team, this ‘Tom Zimmerman’ guy was also serving on the Board of Directors for the ‘International Association of Wildland Fire’ ( IAWF ). Zimmerman is now the PRESIDENT of that organization…

      See Tom Zimmerman’s BIO on the IAWF website…
      http://www.iawfonline.org/board.php

      Here is SAIT team member Zimmerman’s actual ‘Reply’ to Dudley…

      Location in original FOIA-992 release document: PDF page 2139
      =======================================================================
      From: Tom Zimmerman
      Sent: Monday, August 05, 2013 01:23 PM
      To: Dudley, Mike -FS
      Subject: Re: Fw: Fwd: Jerry Payne?

      Boy, Dave is all over the place and his comments leave it hard to understand what he is focusing on. They tend to lead toward a place he should not go and also to Steve’s comments.

      Tom Zimmerman
      ======================================================================

      NOTE: When Zimmerman says he thinks ‘not going there’ is related to one of (quote) “Steve’s comments”… Zimmerman is referring to the REDACTED email where we see Steve Holdsambeck ( NOT a SAIT member ) advising Dudley how to handle the Provencio emails.

      Zimmerman was ‘CCed’ on Steve Holsambeck’s ‘advice’ back to Dudley… and Zimmerman had already read that ( UNREDACTED ) email from Steve Holdsambeck before replying to Dudley.

      So either Zimmerman is just referring to the comment Holdsambeck made about ‘needing to be careful’ ( which remains undredacted )… OR… Zimmerman’s ‘not going there’ was referring one of the REDACTED ‘suggestions’ that Steve Holdsambeck made, which the United States Forestry Service doesn’t want anyone to see.

      ALSO NOTE: When Zimmerman responded to Mike Dudley… he still had NOT seen the SECOND email from David Provencio… where David made it CLEAR what he was talking about and what he had DOCUMENTED evidence for.

      13 minutes after receiving this ‘Reply’ from Tom Zimmerman… Mike Dudley then responded to Zimmerman with just a ‘derisive’ comment about former Type 1 IHC Hotshot Superintendent David Provencio…

      …even though, as he was typing this, Dudley knew he had already received that second CLARIFICATION email from David Provencio a half-hour earlier.

      Location in original FOIA-992 release document: PDF page 2139
      ======================================================================
      From: Dudley, Mike -FS
      Sent: 5 Aug 2013 17:36:43 +0000 ( 1:36 PM )
      To: Tom Zimmerman
      Subject: Re: Fw: Fwd: Jerry Payne?

      Yep, that’s Dave P. all over the place.

      Sent from my Blackberry
      =======================================================================

    • Pat Beers says

      So if the were two IHC SUPS alleging they had witnessed dangerous decisions prior to the yarnell fire what action did they take to correct this? Near miss report, reports to command staff on the particular fire or simple inaction?
      Hindsight bias is dangerous in the learning world.

      Obviously poor decisions were made, 10-18 not observed or we wound not have had the outcome of 19 dead firefighters. The real question that comes to my mind is that if other experienced leaders saw actions prior to this fire what did they do? Ignore it? It’s great to have it all documented and offer it up after the tragedy but how about being proactive with the information rather than having an “I knew this would happen”. That perhaps could be a topic of a lessons learned AAR.

  18. Claire Caldwell says

    You’ve done it again. Another National Inquioror style piece. Congratulations John. You are a pompous human being. I see exactly what you and your little buddies are doing. You’re like a bunch of old grannies with nothing better to do but sit around and gossip and tell tall tales about people you’re jealous of. You make me sick. Did you ever stop to think the reason the US for service did not validate the email conversations is because it’s hearsay and gossip? It’s all opinion based BS? What’s the point of your writing this time John? To try to express that you and your girlfriends don’t believe Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew were heroes. We hear you loud and clear. Thanks for your opinion. I hope you rot in hell.

    • Charlie says

      If anyone . When facts are in your face and you deny them, then you also deny the safety of the lives of future fire men. John Daughterly has been one of the few men that is not afraid to come up with revelations that point to the careless actions that caused the deaths of 19 young men. Indeed I believe Provencio and Shoeffler have concerns for the lives of firemen–those they have commanded and future young lives on the line. How can you make heroes out of bosses that had an attitude of needlessly risking their men’s lives to protect of structures Sorry, but I did witness the extreme wild fire they were about to challenge right from the vantage point they had on the two track and where they soon were about to go down to their demise. I even had Joy time that thing going up a mountain and photograph many times how quickly and devastating that fire was–in wild land firemen’s terms–“watch the Big Dog Eat.

      So indeed, I had given Marsh and Steed some slack in their decisions that killed their men, but also I still believe they are not the only ones involved in those risky decisions that killed those men. Eveng hough they bear the brunt of those decisions. we did have a well known extreme fire condition around Yarnell. Three fire departments failed in their duties–expecially our local department. The locals now run five miles under a new commander to keep in shape. It is only about a three mile run up that two track and at least two can be taken by atv–yet no one took immediate action. Instead that fire was allowed to percolate until it went ballistic. Surely the knowledgeable firefighters in the area would have known the immediacy needed in this case to get that small lightening strike contained. Their inaction did finally result in the loss of 19 lives, half the homes in Yarnell burned to the ground, people displaced and lives immeasurably changed, and millions in tax dollars expended–we know eary on it had already surpassed 4 million and likely WTKTT will give us a final tab of over 10 million.

      So I get the point of Provencio and Shoeffler questioning the hero status of anyone that worked on this fire that eventually took those seventeen lives under the mercy of their bosses.

      If John Daughterly rots in hell for doing his good investigative work in exposing a cover up and revealing truth certain individuals with agendas have, then let me rot with him. He is a real hero–his efforts will save future wild land fire fighters and change the way people are willing to needlessly risk their subordinates lives.

      • Claire Caldwell says

        You’re ignorance is painful. These men are doing nothing but pointing fingers and insulting the dead. They have no clue what happened that day and the speculation is based on biased opinion. It’s slander and blasphemy.

        • Joy A. Collura says

          I have not read Charlie’s comment yet but I will now but please note Claire there is many who do know not biased opinions and there is solid evidence to what happened 6-30-13 but let me go see what he wrote because I don’t always like to be tied to his words— but yes Charlie is one of them that does know alot more than the average person…let me read

          Charlie said:
          If anyone . When facts are in your face and you deny them, then you also deny the safety of the lives of future fire men.

          MY REPLY: STATE WHAT FACTS YOU REFER TO CHARLIE- VERSUS GENERAL COMMENT- BECAUSE IT SEEMS WHEN I READ CLAIRE THAT SHE WAS JUST WANTING THE WORLD TO “GET”—WHO IS THIS GUY WHO WAS INTERVIEWED— SHE BRINGS A VALID POINT AND MAYBE WWTKTT CAN CHIME IN ON MORE DETAILS TO THE HISTORY OF THIS MAN BEFORE JUST READING AN ARTICLE BASED ON WHAT HE SAID—IT KIND OF REMINDED ME OF WHEN JOHN MACLEAN’S PALS REACHED OUT TO ME TO SAY THEY APOLOGIZE FOR WHAT JOHN MACLEAN SAID ABOUT THE HIKERS AND HOW HE SAID IT BUT I LIKE MACCLEAN AND I THINK HE MEANT IT IN A MANNER LIKE CLAIRE JUST DID—WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE—ARE THEY SOUND TYPE FOLKS—ARE THEY CREDIBLE?—ETC…THE ONLY THING I HAVE TO STATE TO CLAIRE IS THERE IS MUCH REDACTED INFORMATION FROM EVEN THE COMMON CIVILIAN WORLD THAT INQUIRED TO FORESTRY AND IF THIS IS THE FULL YARNELL FILE FOR EMAILS THERE IS AN OBVIOUS MISSING ELEMENTS IN JUST THAT AREA ALONE–

          John Daughterly has been one of the few men that is not afraid to come up with revelations that point to the careless actions that caused the deaths of 19 young men. AND THIS IS AREAS I GUESS I STAY NEUTRAL AND DO NOT ENGAGE ON BECAUSE MY FOCUS IS NOT THAT BUT THE MISSING ELEMENTS

          Indeed I believe Provencio and Shoeffler have concerns for the lives of firemen–those they have commanded and future young lives on the line. How can you make heroes out of bosses that had an attitude of needlessly risking their men’s lives to protect of structures I HAVE TO DISAGREE HERE THAT UNTIL ALL THE MISSING ELEMENTS SURFACE THIS IS JUST A PERCEPTION-

          Sorry, but I did witness the extreme wild fire they were about to challenge right from the vantage point they had on the two track and where they soon were about to go down to their demise. I even had Joy time that thing going up a mountain and photograph many times how quickly and devastating that fire was–in wild land firemen’s terms–“watch the Big Dog Eat. READ AND AGREE TO THAT ACCOUNT-

          So indeed, I had given Marsh and Steed some slack in their decisions that killed their men, but also I still believe they are not the only ones involved in those risky decisions that killed those men. UNTIL MISSING ELEMENTS SURFACE THIS IS HIS PERCEPTION NOT MINE BUT I CAN SHARE HIS PERCEPTION MATCHES UP TO EVIDENCE AWAITING TRIAL/SUBPOENAS SO IT IS JUST A TOPIC I STAY NEUTRAL AGAIN; DON’T ENGAGE. Eveng hough they bear the brunt of those decisions. we did have a well known extreme fire condition around Yarnell. Three fire departments failed in their duties–expecially our local department. The locals now run five miles under a new commander to keep in shapeNO THEY DON’T- THEY HOLD A MEMORIAL EVERY YEAR FOR THE MEN AND IN HONOR DO AN ANNUAL RUN FOR THEM SO WE NEVER FORGET THEM. THE PEOPLE HERE LOCALLY CHARLIE LOOK LIKE COPS WITH DONUT GUTS- NOT ALL IN SHAPE-. It is only about a three mile run up that two track and at least two can be taken by atv–yet no one took immediate action.VERY TRUE! Instead that fire was allowed to percolate until it went ballistic. EXACTLY! Surely the knowledgeable firefighters in the area would have known the immediacy needed in this case to get that small lightening strike contained. Their inaction did finally result in the loss of 19 lives, half the homes in Yarnell burned to the ground, people displaced and lives immeasurably changed, and millions in tax dollars expended THAT IS FACTS. –we know eary on it had already surpassed 4 million and likely WTKTT will give us a final tab of over 10 million.

          So I get the point of Provencio and Shoeffler questioning the hero status of anyone that worked on this fire that eventually took those seventeen lives under the mercy of their bosses. YES BUT WE ALSO SHOULD SEE WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE IN THE WHOLE OUTLOOK- ARE THEY COMING TO THE PLATE WITH PURITY MUCH LIKE DR TED PUTNAM OR ARE THEY PAWNS FROM WITHIN AND ABOVE THE DYSFUNCTIONAL SYSTEM????

          If John Daughterly rots in hell for doing his good investigative work in exposing a cover up and revealing truth certain individuals with agendas have, then let me rot with him. CHARLIE- DO YOU REMEMBER YOU ALREADY BEEN THERE AND GOD DID NOT WANT YOU SO YOU ARE LIVING HELL RIGHT NOW—He is a real hero–I ALWAYS FELT BEFORE AND AFTER KNOWING PEOPLE WHO KNEW THE MEN THAT THEY LIKED A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN FREELY SPEAK YOUR MIND BUT UNLESS YOU HAD “CONCRETE” WITHOUT A DOUBT PROOF FORGET THE DISCUSSIONS PUBLICLY IS HOW IT WAS SHARED TO ME BECAUSE IT IS VERY DIFFICULT FOR THE LOVED ONES…NOT ONLY DID THEY FACE THE MOST HORRIBLE WAY A PERSON CAN DIE- THEY HAD TO SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD THAN IT BE DISSECTED SO IT HAS BEEN A ROUGH TIME FOR THEM TO WANT TO COME HERE TO SEE IF ANY NEW NEWS BUT CHARLIE THINKS REPUTATIONS ARE BEING PROTECTED THAT’S WHY THEY REDACT SO MUCH BUT I FEEL YOU PUT THE MISSING ELEMENTS OUT THERE AND LET US ALL MAKE OUR OWN ASSESSMENTS- his efforts will save future wild land fire fighters and change the way people are willing to needlessly risk their subordinates lives.I USE TO HAVE HOPE AND I STILL DO BUT IT STINKS WE HAVE TO HAVE SEPARATION AND DIVISION-

          • Charlie says

            To Joy with love–Yes Joy pulled my life support plug–I had given her that right since I had a directive to not use life support if it looked like I was a goner. I trust her judgement in those matters of life and death and she has a good perception of things. I was on morphine as well and she had that removed–in any event I am now perhaps a zombie of sorts–so if ignorance is bliss perhaps I qualify as blissful. After all I truly am ignorant of all the facts here–especially with the elite redactions and intelligent maneuvers that are coy attempts to hide the truth. I am far less capable of uncovering the hides–there are far more capable people here and just to name –Gary Olsen, Bob Powers, Dr. Ted Putnam, John Daugherty, WTKTT, Woodsman, Norb, retired Super of Lake Tahoe FD, RTS, Fred, Provencio,and so many others of high standing and elevated credentials that you will certainly have a problem trying to dispute their findings and assessments.

            Personally I have a simple assessment. I stood there on that two track where Joy wanted to go down and where those men went down a short time later–I left her there but for several reasons returned to convince her that her way was deadly. Looking at that ballistic fire I knew that not even an army would have a chance against it and there was no damn way in hell I would drop off in a trap with it so near–especially with a storm headed our way from the mountains beyond the fire.

            I have though long and hard–even wondered why somehow I could not have warned them –Well Rick McKensey actually had earlier that morning to not get trapped down in that brush of manzanita with the fire nearby. Anyhow I have even felt a tinge of guilt over it because I knew what they did do was absolute stupidity–or could that be mitigated somewhat by calling it plum ignorant?

            The only conclusion I could come to for their deadly act was that they were programmed to strictly take orders on a daily basis, just as their what it means to be a hot shot sign said. In a case like that the leaders take full responsibility for the lives of their subordinates. And they did by their faulty decision kill those 17 young souls. But you see, being an old miner, logger, cowboy, I learned to watch out for myself and have seen and experienced bosses that would risk my life at their bidding to get a job done. I have denied them more than once–but I am not under the strictly take order mentality. I would have never taken the orders to take on a situation that had worse than Russian Roulette odds. Provencio and Fred testify that those men had the gung ho propensity to risk their men’s lives–and since dead men do not talk, they have laid the blame mostly on Marsh. But then Steed, even knowing better and arguing with Marsh did succumb to strictly taking orders as had Marsh succumbed to strictly taking orders from those that wanted him to waste efforts trying to protect structures–as Willis puts it–thats what they do–protect structures.

            Fire fighting as far as I can see is not Viet Nam or in the head bumping territories of Iraq, Afghanistan or other war zones. It does not require the same unnecessary risking of life we saw at Yarnell. The rules of fire fighting that I have now come to know are just common sense rules made to keep men alive–but blatedly break them as we saw is criminal negligence.

            • Joy A. Collura says

              wow-

              where do I start in this reply-

              besides- do you even comprehend who Claire is Sonny?

              and yet you feel at ease to write the same way you write on here always- the same to her?

              I thought I made errors in how I treated widows over time but then again I never been a social gal…I am not a person who in person or even on here knows how to share…but I still do because what happened that weekend traumatized me…

              Charlie- the point in this is to gain clarity not place blame without the information all surfaced…I know Dr. Ted Putnam would say probably it is okay to say they took orders Charlie but let those kind of folks be the one to do it— you and me— we are nothing in this… just two folks on the hill that took pictures…I mean look at Gary’s book; the old married couple…my hope is all the and I mean all the information surfaces and subpoenas not needed to get one to share the evidence. Roy Hall/Musser/Abel purely talk about that day in completion as well….or we keep seeing firefighters die…like Jim Roth had to see after losing his brother in Storm King with YHF and then loved ones of the firefighters of YHF had to see with the Twisp fire—

              • Charlie says

                Joy–I do not write to anyone in particular-My thoughts are my own and come from a layman–take them with a grain of salt if you like. Truth however has no conscience–but in a different way to the liars who have seared conscience by hiding facts that would save people’s lives in future wild land fighting affairs. An extreme and well worn example of Hitler covering up to the world his killing of Jews did not bear upon his conscience–He was able to justify and millions went along with his justification for doing what he did-and he did not mind putting millions of his fellow German lives at stake to further his aims–to be another Alexander the Great–rule the roost

                It is a sad fact that too many men get into leadership roles where they do not belong. especially where their subordinates are put at a death risk by their decisions. Here it is obvious Marsh, by many expert opinions, was unqualified to do the job he was doing. Provencio is a hero for standing up to point out these things–he has not feared or join the cronies in trying to protect reputations over the safety of their men. Provencio and Shoeffler deserve awards for exposing a situation and problem that has caused 19 deaths. Many others here on JD do as well. These well experienced fire fighting heroes will not lay back and allow a bad situation to be made into a fairy tale.

                The only way a problem can be cured is by exposing it. Now that Provencio and Fred are among the first to speak, us citizens are likely to have more light shed upon the debacle of Yarnell Hill Fire that killed 19.

    • Joy A. Collura says

      Claire…it is almost three years later and there is a huge dysfunctional system we are facing with many lawyers who are well script to a narrative and if anything you wrote on that was spot on is who.is David..a disgruntled opinionated person or bold enough to speak what really happened and this article.gives the world the information to figure it.out on their own by reading the emails and.interview the man and.developers into his history and since the moment you became world known in your raw emotions in photos I know the basis to the site was not to unravel the gmhs were not heroes but to keep bringing forth the information so these huge entities know we ain’t given up on the men and all.fallen. You are a very beautiful strong lady but I.always felt this site is not going to be easy to read if.You dearly knew and loved these men. You had such a bad bad loss for the world to see and we as the world were so proud to see the Steed family help you on this journey but keep being the strength I always seen in you and know these group here…if you deeply research us all…none of us are here with nothing better to do…and gossip…it’s to keep the site breathing because 19 and.many fallen are not breathing to get the clarity out to mAke the changes. Do you know there IS solid evidence for all the lawsuits yet protocol is…it has to hit trial by jury..that’s terrible. Keep being the excellent lady I hear amazing things about through loved ones you know and let me be me without judgement that I have nothing better to do than gossip because reality is Steed deserves the information to.come out. I agree that if you hiked who.we have hiked than read the site it can come off national enquirer like but look who we are up against…our true accounts have not yet been shown on why we were there and what we saw…in fact Prescott fd and sait wished we had not been there but in due time the real information will step up but to do that it will take articles like these and boldness and strength to ensure clarity reached
      We do care..

    • Claire Caldwell says

      Okay. I was wrong to say that “I hope you rot in hell”. I shouldn’t have said that. I was and am deeply hurt by your article and reacted out of that anger and sadness. Please know that your articles are extremely painful and insulting and insensitive and hurtful. They bring up the pain and the grief and the loss like you could never imagine. I hope you never lose a spouse or a child in such a horrific way. No matter what you or any of your followers say, My husband Robert Caldwell and every single one of the Granite Mountain Hotshots was a hero. They died helping others. They are MY heroes and always will be and for that I don’t need your approval or your opinions. Again, I will say, you continue to cause pain to people who’ve already lost so much. You’re not helping anyone or doing anything honorable despite what you and your followers may say. Fred and Dave have no accountability and no credibility. Their peers have said that they may have personal vendettas against Granite Mountain Hotshot leaders because of previous interactions. They are far, far from perfect themselves if you do just a little back ground research on both the men. It’s easy to point fingers now that they are dead though isn’t it Dave, John and Fred?

      • Joy A. Collura says

        Claire Caldwell says
        MAY 19, 2016 AT 5:36 PM:

        My husband Robert Caldwell and every single one of the Granite Mountain Hotshots was a hero.
        ——————————-
        My reply:

        Agreed.

      • Joy A. Collura says

        Claire Caldwell says:Their peers have said that they may have personal vendettas against Granite Mountain Hotshot leaders because of previous interactions. They are far, far from perfect themselves if you do just a little back ground research on both the men.

        MY REPLY:
        thank you Claire for this insight…valid point people…Claire- how can we openly and publicly discuss the fire, the men and that day without bringing up others diverse perceptions to gain movement in this process? I know we fail at times yet in the end we are trying to gather up the culture of the men to know how and why they left the black to gain clarity to ensure the “proper” changes are made not ones just to fit the overheads’ narratives or other people who feel safety matters and it meets their organization’s needs? Some do have knowledge of that answer of why but we all have to just sit and await subpoenas to be served and only if it goes to trial…how can we begin a road to “seeing” that we can meet the needs of open discussions but not hurt you? I mean it- how? The most amazing thing about you Claire is your smile so I think we can work on how we can help you without dismissing the priorities. I do not want you to feel we are invasive species- but that our actions will color the awareness that needs to be- please accept my condolences for your recent loss- I lost my father 12-21-15; I miss him- your posts and your feelings are all good- please help me comprehend and give the site a chance- show us how…if it means stop it all- that can’t be- alot of us know the entities we are up against and alot of us know much more than we can publicly share but the facts are until the missing information finally surfaces than we all won’t just walk away- the purity of that weekend is important. I have faced really extreme tough traumatic stuff in my past and the offenders are still alive and yet I have to live my life even though ten individuals at one event I feel the same way you did today “rot in hell” for those people at times..feelings are great but they can be bad too but let’s see how we can meet common ground…it takes you to let me know but also please do know any person even if I fall into that category do not do it with that intent- we are just openly discussing- Hiking helps me root back to balance…maybe hit a trail or 2 and reflect just on the good in your life and not worry on this area too much because it is always going to be there until the missing elements surface. I get your feelings- any day you feel like has given you a lemon- toss it in some nice hot steeped tea and enjoy because you deserve only the best out of those lemons shown- k.
        You Rock Claire!

      • Joy A. Collura says

        Claire Caldwell says
        MAY 19, 2016 AT 5:36 PM

        Okay. I was wrong to say that “I hope you rot in hell”. I shouldn’t have said that.

        MY REPLY:

        it’s natural to feel that way…have you seen the crap we all have wrote at times…that’s nothing… 🙂

  19. Marti Reed says

    Thank your for everything, JD.

    The truth is still bubbling up, despite all attempts to keep it buried beneath boulders rolled on top of it.

    However, I do believe there are some other major boulders rolled on top of some other major truths regarding the deadly mismanagement of the Yarnell Hill Wildfire.

    Namaste.

  20. Woodsman says

    In order to maintain plausible deniability and stay true to their actual mission, the members of the SAIT simply COULD NOT allow themselves to hear the testimony of 2 former hotshot superintendents in regards to Granite Mountain’s past history.

    It’s tragic that no other mechanisms were utilized (apparently) to address these patterns of risky behavior by an allegedly ‘rogue’ crew leader. Was SAFNET ever utilized? Were these past conflicts communicated up the chain of fire management to create the opportunity for change, potentially saving lives of firefighters in the future? If so, what happened? If not, WHY NOT???

    Thanks for the article, JD

    Woodsman

    • Woodsman says

      AND…

      If Provencio’s and Schoeffler’s evidence of the poor safety culture of Eric Marsh and Granite Mountain IHC was accurate and well know by other IHC’s superintendents, why didn’t somebody scream it from the rooftops and demand something be done about it? Did anybody do that? If not and this behavior was allowed to continue even though well known, then it brings me back to the safety poem I posted:

      “I Could Have Saved a Life That Day”

      I could have saved a life that day,
      But I chose to look the other way.
      It wasn’t that I didn’t care;
      I had the time, and I was there.

      But I didn’t want to seem the fool,
      Or argue over a safety rule.
      I knew he had done the job before.
      If I called it wrong, he might get sore.

      The chances didn’t seem that bad.
      I’ve done the same; he knew I had.
      So I shook my head and walked on by.
      He knew the risks as well as I.

      He took the chance; I closed an eye.
      And with that act, I let him die.
      I could have saved a life that day,
      But I chose to look the other way.

      Now every time I see his wife,
      I’ll know I should have saved his life.
      That guilt is something I must bear,
      But it isn’t something you need to share.

      If you see a risk that others take,
      That puts their health or life at stake,
      The question asked or things you say
      Could help them live another day.

      If you see a risk and walk away,
      Then hope you never have to say:
      I could have saved a life that day,
      But I chose to look the other way.
      —Don Merrell

      Woodsman

      • Marti Reed says

        rAmen and rAmen. That poem brings tears to my eyes.

        Such a fuster-cluck is this whole thing.

        This was a train-wreck waiting to happen. On so many different levels.

        Shakespeare wrote this fire and is still writing it.

      • Charlie says

        Thanks Woodsman–well said. It could have saved a life that day as you say. Now that this type behavior is brought to the public view by John’s article–he have given evidence that ought to stop the type bossing that unduly kills subordinates. Bosses that have the GMHS mentality will surely take notice and have more caution in needlessly risking lives. The count of devastation here goes way beyond just the 19 that were carelessly killed–not only to the many loved ones losses–but the grand tally that must be measured. The only good that can come of this will be the truth.

      • Charlie says

        Thanks Woodsman–well said. It could have saved a life that day as you say. Now that this type behavior is brought to the public view by John’s article–he have given evidence that ought to stop the type bossing that unduly kills subordinates. Bosses that have the GMHS mentality will surely take notice and have more caution in needlessly risking lives. The count of devastation here goes way beyond just the 19 that were carelessly killed–not only to the many loved ones losses–but the grand tally that must be measured. The only good that can come of this will be the from the elusive truth.

      • Muzzy says

        Thanks, Woodsman,

        I hope that this poem is required reading for every IHC squad leader and superintendent up to the biggest boss. The message from Provencio, in particular is infuriating as it comes too late to save these beautiful men. Provencio is also not a hero. Neither are we the people, who have tolerated the whitewashing of past incident investigations, dooming others, overhead and HS alike, to repeat their mistakes.

        Schoeffler’s concern, mission creep from WWFF to structure work with no change in training, equipment or overhead, is a smoldering fire which will blow-up again unless we the people take action. WE must make it clear that we are watching and that failure to work out the hazards and find a safe and effective approach to fires in the wildland/urban interface is unacceptable. WE need to discover and follow guidelines for building in the WUI that allow for defensible spaces and orderly evacuations. Now that we can see the enormous cost of failure, WE need to take action.

        It is unfortunate that these issues were not adequately addressed in the original reports as they should have been. As painful as this protracted process is for the families and the community, it is necessary to use our experiences to prevent this kind of tragedy in future.

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