State Forestry Divison fined nearly $560,000 for mistakes in managing Yarnell Hill Fire that killed 19 Hotshots

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The Arizona Industrial Commission today released the following reports in connection with the deaths of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots on June 30 during the Yarnell Hill Fire:

AZ Dept. of Occupational Safety and Health Agenda 12/4/13

Inspection Narrative–ASFD

Worksheets for Proposed Citations

Supporting Photo and Maps

Wildland Fire Associates Report

InvestigativeMedia has also attached an important essay by Ted Putnam on the impossibility of firefighters following the 10 Standards Fire Orders. Putnam’s paper written in 2000 concludes:

“Currently the fire organization is not very proactive in making safety a major
influence in strategies and tactics. Getting the job done, money and image
concerns push firefighters into taking excessive risk. What is needed
organizationally is truthful fire investigations, an honest reporting system that
tracks physical, mental, cultural and social aspects of firefighting and a
willingness to become a learning organization. If safety is ever to become No.
1 in the fire community then the fire community must be willing to spend more
time, money and effort to make it No. 1. The fire community must get beyond
its superficial practices like saying over and over again that safety is No. 1
without any true, longer-term, institutionalized commitment.”

InvestigativeMedia will have a complete report shortly.

© Copyright 2013 John Dougherty, All rights Reserved. Written For: Investigative MEDIA

Comments

  1. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    It seems that TTWARE was right a few comments above.

    We seem to be running into the same ‘nesting level’ limitation
    on this particular comment thread was seen in ‘chapter 1’ over
    on the original thread.

    The two short comments just above, with me asking Mr. Dougherty
    to delete something and then FullSail responding are now what
    are called ‘orphaned comments’. They should have disappeared
    along with the ‘parent’ comment that was deleted… but they
    did not… and are showing up above as new ‘top level’ comments.

    The software that everyone is actually ‘posting’ to here is something
    called ‘WordPress’… and there are some known ‘limitations’.

    It has more to do with ‘nesting levels’ on threads than the actual
    volume of posts… but very strange things can start to happen
    if/when the number of ‘nested comments’ exceeds the limitations.

    My only suggestion would be the same as before.

    Just make sure, when you reply to someone on this particular thread from
    now on, that you ‘mark it’ with something that ties it to the original comment
    in case it becomes another ‘orphaned comment’ and just shows up
    at the bottom of the thread all by itself.

    I believe Mr. Dougherty is about to release some news about his own
    SIT FOIA/FOIL package(s)… so maybe that will be the next logical
    place to ‘continue’ this discussion.

    There’s going to be a lot more to talk about soon.

    • Elizabeth says

      He already CREATED a new thread he wants us to use for posting. I am the only person who commented on it. Go to the top of this page, click on the link in the bar that says “Yarnell Fire.” That is where his new comment thread is. Start commenting there! (My impression is that that is what he wants us to do, anyway….)

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to Elizabeth post on Dec 23, 2013 at 8:58 pm

        >> Elizabeth said…
        >> He ( John Dougherty ) already CREATED a new
        >> thread he wants us to use for posting. I am the only
        >> person who commented on it. Go to the top of this
        >> page, click on the link in the bar that says “Yarnell
        >> Fire.” That is where his new comment thread is.
        >> Start commenting there! (My impression is that that
        >> is what he wants us to do, anyway….)

        Spot on, Elizabeth. You are right. Thank you.

        That ends “Chapter 2” of this discussion and begins
        “Chapter 3” on the new “Yarnell Hill Fire” page.

        Perfect logical break. Before / After Christmas.

        From Mr. Dougherty himself at the top of the
        new ‘Yarnell Hill Fire’ page just created…

        Please begin a new comment section below as Chapter II is filling up. Please keep the dialogue positive and informative. I’m working on upgrading the site to handle the heavy comment load.

        And, I’m in the process of uploading the entire Arizona Forestry Division SAIR supplemental data. It’s 58GB of data and is taking considerable time. Thank you for your patience.

        John Dougherty

  2. Robert the Second says

    I totally agree with Bob on the fact about the SUPER HEATED GASES and that going BACK up the hill was NOT an option once they committed to go down into the unburned chute and bowl. Too steep, flash over ignition, and the hot gases. So, this goes to the comments about all the bushes not completely burned, Nalgene bottles not completed melted, etc. The HOT GASES are what kills you, NOT the flames.

    Here’s an editorial from Prescott News titled ‘The Fallout From The Yarnell Fire Will Be Bigger Than The Lawsuits’ that you all may find interesting..
    http://www.prescottenews.com/index.php/features/opinion/editorials/item/22794-editorial-the-fallout-from-the-yarnell-fire-will-be-bigger-than-lawsuits

    • NV says

      Back up the hill was not the only option. Into the boulders was another option, as was running forwards to their right and trying to possibly beat the fire flank. I am not saying those were options that would have saved everyone, or even anyone. But, assume there was a 1/3 chance that 1 person would have survived in that case. That makes telling people to drop gear and run a far better decision than telling everyone to deploy in the worst possible place, which is what they did. Remember there were animals that did make it through by sheltering in the rocks.

      In terms of training scars, initially you do see both with Willis that day and with GM a willingness to cut things very close. McDonough obviously did as lookout, as well. Then, when things go bad, McDonough looked for a place to deploy — and it sounds to me as if the site chosen was not survivable. The tennis court id’d by Willis as a deployment site does not sound, given flame height, as if it would have been survivable. So, third training scar, go to deployment without assessing other options fully and without assessing whether you have a viable deployment site.

      When Willis spoke and said the crew stuck with their training and picked the best possible site to deploy, I believe he was sincere. That they in fact deployed in an area likely to experience the most severe heat again shows to me again a possible issue in how all these decisions were being made.

      In terms of looking at bad decisions and their costs, remember that McDonough also came very close to getting caught. Replay that chain of events a few times, and he would have been caught. Decisions made were going to catch up with people sooner or later.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to NV post on December 24, 2013 at 9:26 am

        Now there is a bit of ‘summary’ that probably should have
        been in the SAIR report… with even a little more detail.

        NOTE: If you look at the second video of Darrell Willis’
        first press conference hosted at the deployment site,
        there is a moment near the end ( after a reporter
        has asked Willis exactly where McDonough was in
        relation to where they were standing ) when the
        camera does a long, slow pan to the RIGHT and
        we get to see the entire side of the northern ridge
        of the box canyon in pretty good close-up.

        Notice the large expanse of ‘unburned boulders’
        not more than 1 or 2 hundred FEET ( not yards )
        directly north of the deployment site.

        Also… look to the center of that pile of boulders.

        There appears to be a pretty good amount of
        unburned vegetation right there amongst the rocks.

        These same ‘unburned boulders’ and the same
        (apparently) ‘unburned vegetation’ also appears to be
        visible in the recently released photo of the SAIT
        investigators combing through the deployment site.

        Tex ( Sonny ) Gilligan has ( I believe ) also pointed
        this out a few times to people during his hikes
        following the incident. I believe Tex described the
        area as “about as large as a football field”.

        I will try to find his exact quote on that.

      • Sonny says

        NV
        on December 24, 2013 at 9:26 am said:

        okay- you could not run to the boulders but by the time they ran the chain saws and cleared out what they hoped was a safety deployment area they could of gotten to the boulders. We have heard the heat/gases are what most likely killed the men first than the fire. However, some of these boulders over there are cave-like and you can get under them. Also some of the wildlife survived by being in the boulders. Ted Putnam says they may have perished there anyways simply because they needed a flat spot for nineteen men to deploy their shelters.

  3. Elizabeth says

    “Could the GM crew have turned around and RAN when they realized the fire was around the corner?” I have a picture from the investigation files showing that there is no way they would have made it back up the hill to the ridgeline if they had tried to turn and run.. The picture shows how TINY the investigators look in the bottom of that valley. Even WITHOUT vegetation, it looks too steep to get out quickly. (Of course, I am not an expert, so … what do I know. But that is my view.)

    If you become a “Facebook friend” of mine, you can see the photo posted on Facebook. I will try to find a better way to share that picture here.

    • NV says

      They may have not made it all the way back up the hill, but would have had other options in terms of terrain. It is important to note that not everything in the general vicinity of the deployment site even burned. Unfortunately the decision made was to deploy in a physical circumstance that virtually guaranteed sustained direct flame contact and therefore no survivability. Other options may not have looked good, admittedly, but the range of possible outcomes would have been better. I do not suggest that anyone should be expected to sort that out when faced with an imminent burnover. That is where training comes in, informal as well as formal. In this case maybe using the phrase training scars is appropriate.

      • Bob Powers says

        I would say that the probability of surviving by running back up the hill was 0 they would have been hit by superheated air that would have singed/fried there lungs before they got over the top. I still believe the canyon had flash over ignition with the heat wind and flame they were to far committed. They were where they should never have been.

    • Elizabeth says

      Sonny/Joy sent me an e-mail after I posted this comment and they advised that it took the OSHA fellow (who was a serious runner) twenty minutes to cover the ground on the hill (without the vegetation being there) when he hiked that area with Joy/Sonny after the fire which suggests that the GM crew had no chance of turning around and running.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to Elizabeth post on Dec 23, 2013 at 9:59 pm

        >> Elizabeth said…
        >> Sonny/Joy sent me an e-mail after I posted this
        >> comment and they advised that it took the OSHA
        >> fellow (who was a serious runner) twenty minutes
        >> to cover the ground on the hill (without the vegetation
        >> being there) when he hiked that area with Joy/Sonny
        >> after the fire

        Sonny (Tex) Gilligan reported the same OSHA
        timed ‘test walk’ event in public back on September 29,
        2013, the day after the SAIR report was released… but
        in that original description of the event he put a time
        of 22 minutes on the OSHA fella’s walk… not 20.

        The OSHA ‘runner’ was Brett Steuter.

        Here is Tex’s original description of this ‘test walk’…

        WildFire Today
        Article Title: Yarnell Hill Fire report released
        http://wildfiretoday.com/2013/09/28/yarnell-hill-fire-report-released/

        >> Tex Gilligan on September 29, 2013 at 6:52 pm said:
        >>
        >> By the way, OSHA actually timed the walk in the black
        >> with us from the saddle where they dropped down to
        >> the spot of demise.
        >>
        >> It took a Marathon Runner Brett Steuter 22 minutes
        >> just to get to the spot they perished. That was with no
        >> manzanita to fight.
        >>
        >> Joy took 33 minutes, and I was just ahead of Brett by
        >> a couple minutes. Joy was with Bruce Hanna the other
        >> OSHA official. Bruce fell and that was easy to do
        >> since that grade was above 60%.

        So if Brett took 22 minutes, and Tex was (quote)
        “just ahead of Brett by a couple minutes”… that would
        mean Tex himself is the one that made the trip in 20
        minutes that day, not Brett.

        If the SAIR times are correct for when GM left the
        two-track road ( 4:20 PM ) and when the first
        “We are in front of the flaming front” message went
        out at 4:39 PM… that would mean the single-file line
        of 19 men ( with equipment and packs ) made the
        same ‘walk down’ in just 19 minutes… WITH
        vegetation to fight.

        That’s 1 minute FASTER than Tex… and 3 minutes
        faster than Brett Steuter who had no equipment, no
        packs, and no vegetation to contend with at all.

        Hmm… something isn’t quite right there somewhere.

        Either the times being given in the SAIR for the
        descent are ‘complete fiction’… or there was
        something wonky with the OSHA ‘test walk’.

        The OSHA people just did a ‘test walk’ down from
        the two-track and were (apparently) not trying to
        be ‘on the double’ or anything.

        What would have been REALLY interesting is if
        Brett ( the runner ) had then turned around at the
        deployment site and then timed himself absolutely
        HAULING ASS back up to his starting point as
        if his very life depended on it. FULL adrenaline.

        I wonder what the timing would have been on that?

        Sans vegetation, yes… but still would be interesting
        to know.

  4. Robert the Second says

    WTKTT,

    WFF is NOT a democracy. You DON’T get to VOTE on what YOU want to do. You follow ‘The Rules’ unless they’re …. (you know these by now).

    “Did 2 men simply ORDER 17 others into a situation that violated almost every rule in the book and got them ALL killed…” Yes, it sure looks that way. They knew or should have known that they could say NO with an option based on the Turn Down protocols.

    “or was this truly a ‘group’ decision amongst a tight-knit bunch of fellas with EVERYONE fully aware of the risks AND the training violations they were about to commit?” Yes, it appears that this also took place, i.e. Groupthink. IF this is what took place AND the overhead allowed it, then that speaks to poor leadership.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to RTS on December 23, 2013 at 1:10 pm

      I hear ya. The lawyers on both sides are going to have a
      field day with this. Plaintiff’s lawyers will argue that the fuse
      was lit on ‘wrongful death’ the moment the ORDER
      was given. Defendant’s lawyers will counter with
      ‘this isn’t REALLY the military… it only looks that way’
      and actually start quoting all the ‘Turn Down’ stuff
      to counter the Plaintiff argument that anyone was
      ACTUALLY being ‘forced’ to do anything.

      It’s gonna be a mess.

  5. Robert the Second says

    Mike,

    “I have got to believe that if they could have run, they would have. Every instinct in your body has to be to run.” First off, they should have never been there. But once in that predicament, YES, they could have run AND SHOULD HAVE RUN. In a very preverse way, the fact that they did NOT run, speaks volumes about SOME of the positive aspects of GMHS leadership in spite of what happened in the long run.

    “Nobody would ever want to crawl into one of those shelters if there was a plausible alternative.” Unfortunately, the basic S-130 WFF training spends 3-4 hours training on fire shelters and only 1-2 hours on ‘The Rules.’ I think shelters were stressed more on GMHS than ‘The Rules’ and Entrapment Avoidance based on the words, actions, thoughts, etc. of Wildland Chief Willis and GMHS Lookout McDonaugh.

    “But run like hell I am sure is always the first thought.” YES, I’m sure it is. Lessons Learned? Unfortunately, this has occured on several other fires with similar circumstances, e.g. lunch spots, good black, left the black to “re-engage” , etc. The Dude Fire (AZ-1990), South Canyon Fire (CO-1994), Thirty Mile Fire (WA-2005),and Cramer Fire (ID-2003), just to name the most recent.

    “The lessons learned in this fire are going to be about not getting in that situation to begin with. That is the area where they had good options and bad options, not only bad ones.” YES, do NOT get yourself into those situations. That’s why KNOWING and FOLLOWING ‘The Rules” keeps you out of those situations.

    I challenge you to search the Lessons Learned Center Incident Reviews of fires to find ONE case where WFF followed ‘The Rules’ and ended up in fire shelters or dead. You WON’T find even one!

  6. Robert the Second says

    Calvin,

    Yes, especially since they knew or should have known their Fire Orders, LCES, and Watch Out Situations.

    AND that’s where the Groupthink keeps coming up for me. SOMEONE should have said SOMETHING, don’t you think? Like WHY are we doing this? WHY don’t we have a Lookout once we left our perfectly good SZ and we’re travelling into the unburned?

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to RTS post on December 23, 2013 at 11:36 am

      >> RTS said…
      >> SOMEONE should have said SOMETHING, don’t you think?

      Maybe they did.

      Maybe there WAS a moment when the ‘comfort level’ for
      whatever it was that was being planned went ‘around the
      room’. Yea… I know… that’s not how the whole WFF ‘command
      structure’ thing is supposed to work… but there’s no doubt this
      was a tight group and they all respected each other… so maybe
      they DID do that.

      McDonough would probably know.

      That might be one of the other things he heard happening
      on the radio that he still doesn’t want to talk about.

      Maybe some of the fellas DID raise some pretty serious
      questions about this move… but still ended up going along
      with it, anyway… and McDonough just doesn’t wasn’t to talk
      about that ‘aspect’ of this.

      That being said…

      I’m still not seeing anyone in the MacKenzie video
      who was all that thrilled about doing ANYTHING but exactly
      what we see them doing… Steed included… and especially
      the fellow ( Misner? ) who makes the sarcastic comment
      following Marsh’s “I could just feel it, ya know” remark and
      then spits on the ground while Ashcraft laughs and nods
      in agreement. Joking around? Sure. Normal banter in a
      tight-knit group? Sure… but those guys simply look hot,
      tired, dirty, and not ready to do much of anything else that day.

      Bottom line: Did the ‘comfort level’ Marsh was so concerned
      about ONLY apply to Steed… and once Steed said “Okay…what
      the heck… we’ll give it a shot”… the next command was
      “Gaggle up”… or was there more to it than that?

      Did 2 men simply ORDER 17 others into a situation that
      violated almost every rule in the book and got them ALL killed…
      or was this truly a ‘group’ decision amongst a tight-knit
      bunch of fellas with EVERYONE fully aware of the risks
      AND the training violations they were about to commit?

      I think the lawyers for BOTH the plaintiffs AND the defendants
      in all the currently filed lawsuits are going to do everything
      THEY can to answer that question.

      Legally speaking… it’s quite important for BOTH sides to
      know the truth there… if at all possible.

      • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

        Let’s not forget, the fatal decision did not occur at the time of the roughly 4pm ‘comfort level’ and gaggle-up moment, it occured when they stepped off the 2-track into the green.

  7. Robert the Second says

    Full Sail,

    “…decisions made IN THE HEAT OF THE MOMENT …” The problem here is that this was NOT such a moment. It wasn’t like they were forced into their decision with a fatal outcome. They had all day to watch the fire behavior increase and they had all day in their perfectly good SZ to just hang out and watch the Big Dog eat. The ‘heat of the moment’ though might have been when they made their illogical, brash decision to leave said perfectly good SZ.

    • xxfullsailxx says

      i am talking “heat of the moment” as in an incident rapidly escalating and growing with crews scrambling to respond or get out of the way and how SOMEONE WHO HAS ABSOLUTELY NO EXPERIENCE WITH SUCH THINGS sits at a desk and stares at google maps and thinks he knows something that he does not.

      i think i’ve consistently acknowledged that GM’s SA was readily available for the taking.

  8. NV says

    I think conjecture about exact conditions at some exact time during the minutes around deployment can hide the central decision-making lesson, which is that if deployment is not going to be survivable, actions other than deployment should be taken. Training, or bad training, and past bad decisions again.

    Remember, McDonough was casually evaluating deployment sites that likely would not have been survivable. This process unfolded when others with GM were relatively calm. Willis seemed from the available notes to view his tennis court as a deployment site, not a safety zone, and to leave things at that. Common threads there.

    No survivable deployment options leads to don’t deploy leads to seek other options. Bad decisions leading up to that point doesn’t mean that good decisions can’t help at that point.

    • xxfullsailxx says

      hmm, interesting… so the micro-analyzing of time and events by lay-person’s seeking to understand something they have never directly experienced might lead to conjecture about all sorts of details that would detract from the actual lessons learned that were probably already spelled out in multiple investigations… crazy!

      i might add, that it also leads to said layperson getting the false impression that any conclusions that result from previously mentioned conjecture are not only insignificant and irrelevant, but that also do a disservice to the men who died by continually subjecting them to scrutiny over decisions made in the heat of the moment by someone sitting at a desk chair pretending to understand a situation that they continually prove they have no understanding of.

      very interesting NV… thanks!

        • mike says

          This whole area seems a bit unproductive to me. I have got to believe that if they could have run, they would have. Every instinct in your body has to be to run. Nobody would ever want to crawl into one of those shelters if there was a plausible alternative. Especially with what that fire was like. People have survived in shelters, but not with that kind of fire apparently. But run like hell I am sure is always the first thought.

          The lessons learned in this fire are going to be about not getting in that situation to begin with. That is the area where they had good options and bad options, not only bad ones.

    • Calvin says

      NV said…. Bad decisions leading up to that point doesn’t mean that good decisions can’t help at that point.
      Agree! The fireline packs, fuel bottles (fuel too?) and hand tools, chainsaws all within the deployment site tell us that bad decisions were being made up until the end! Why didn’t all this get thrown out of the deployment site?

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to post from NV on December 23, 2013 at 8:29 am

        Thanks, NV. I see that you ‘get it’.

        Nothing is going to bring those men back… but I think
        the aftermath is still all about ‘lessons’ to try and prevent
        such a tragedy in the future.Yes?

        I have heard there are probably going to be ( required? )
        ‘training walks’ through the area conducted by qualified
        WFF people in the future.

        What do you think those ‘training instructors’ are going
        to actually say to the trainees when they all arrive at
        deployment site?

        Do EXACTLY what they did… but just try to cut yourself
        a little more manzanita, or something?

        Man… I sure hope not.

        I’m not the only one studying the aftermath of this fire
        who can see ( and has pointed out ) that they DID
        have ‘other options’… but there was something about
        a lack of understanding of the limits of their equipment
        combined with the ‘groupthink’ thing that prevented them
        from realizing it, or something.

        I would think the WFF community would be all over
        that and looking for ways to change the training
        and/or decision making process at a moment like that.

        It was a bad, bad situation.
        They shouldn’t have been there… but they were.
        The ‘unthinkable’ actually happened.

        The ‘decision making’ in moments like that is still
        something that should be ‘looked at’ carefully
        because it reflects on ‘training’ and ‘ability to
        evaluate situations quickly’.

        It’s the year 2013.

        Has the WFF community ever considered using some
        kind of ‘virtual reality’ testing for field supervisory
        candidates like most police forces now use… and
        airlines are now REQUIRED to use for pilot
        re-certification testing?

        It’s the chance to put candidates into REALLY bad
        situations ( like June 30 ) and see what they will do…
        without anyone getting hurt.

        It presents situations and requires the candidates to
        make ultra-fast decisions ( like what happened in that
        box canyon on June 30 ) and then there’s an evaluation
        of that kind of decision-making capability and an
        assessment if the candidate really has absorbed all
        the course material or ( in the case of airline pilot
        re-certification ) still REMEMBERS the relevant
        course material.

        “Nobody did anything wrong” doesn’t even give the
        industry the chance to try and add those kind of
        new training procedures.

      • xxfullsailxx says

        “Thanks, NV. I see that you ‘get it’.”

        funny! cause you DON’T seem to “get it.”

        “conjecture about exact conditions at some exact time during the minutes around deployment can hide the central decision-making lesson”

        see, the above is YOU… conjecturing your way to irrelevant conclusions and “what if” scenarios.

        none of us who are currently doing this work are going to learn any lessons from you WTKTT. and you will have absolutely no influence on any changes that will be made regarding how wildland fire is fought. i have yet to see anything out of your self-proclaimed revelations that wasn’t already accounted for in one of three investigations.

  9. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** EXACT LOCATION OF SECOND VIDEO THAT
    ** CAPTURES FINAL RADIO TRANSMISSIONS.

    >> Calvin wrote…
    >> I saw a brief clip on CNN last weekend (Saturday or Sunday
    >> early morning) that was different than the video by Wildfire Today.
    >> It was taken from a different location. Has anyone else saw that?

    This is the video that features the ( so far unidentified ) bearded
    firefighter standing in the road with a portable radio… and we also
    hear some of the final GM radio transmissions in the background.

    This WAS taken at a different location ( but actually not all that far
    away ) from the video that was released by AZREPUBLIC.

    These men were also on the Shrine road… but a little further east
    towards Yarnell than the crew in the other AZREPUBLIC video.

    The video was shot looking north-northeast with
    the camera operator standing exactly here…

    Latitude: 34.225839
    Longitude: -112.750738

    34.225839, -112.750738

    Just cut-and-paste the line above with the comma between the latitude
    and longitude values into the search bar of Google Maps, hit RETURN,
    and a GREEN ARROW will be pointing at the exact location.

    The MSM ( MainStream Media ) was pretty much just using THIS
    video clip from the SAIT FOIA/FOIL package as a ‘background’ clip
    in their reports with the other video being featured as the ‘real capture’
    of the radio transmissions… but this video seems to have almost
    the same full capture sequence and even includes all the attempts
    by Bravo 33 ( ASM2 ) to contact GM after Marsh’s final “Affirm”
    transmission.

    I can’t find any MSM site that actually runs the whole video but the
    following ‘LA Times’ article at least includes all the audio along
    with the short sections of it that they did air…

    Article title: Arizona firefighters’ last radio report recorded in video
    Credit: LA Times article by Cindy Carcamo – December 16, 2013, 3:00 p.m

    http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-ff-yarnell-wildfire-video-hotshots-20131216,0,129720.story#axzz2oHEwli1o

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      NOTE: In the ‘LA Times’ article above… their video player counts
      DOWN the seconds ( not UP ), and their brief play of this second
      video from this second location starts when their ‘countdown’
      timer hits 32 seconds.

  10. xxfullsailxx says

    “…it might have been one heck of a ride and one
    VERY scary story to tell later… but they might
    have ALL made it.”

    are you seriously still listening to this guy? it’s got to be at least the 4th or 5th time he has saved the lives of GM by playing the “what if…” game by using “fly over’s” in google maps and old satellite photos.

    he talks like he knows exactly what it would have been like, hiking through the brush with packs and tools in a line with 18 others, he can tell you exactly what the fire behavior was doing, what GM must have been thinking, what they must have seen, he even seems to know how they felt about the situation.

    “and they had 19 extra minutes because that’s when a generator at the ranch lost power but they were too dumb to use their smartphones but chief willis is out there waiting by the road tapping his toe…”

    really? i am done with this ego maniac “WTKTT.” oh, i’ll still call him out when he starts making big leaps from his desk chair, but he’s impossible to take seriously.

  11. The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

    Mr. Dougherty, I think we are getting close to maxing-out this comment area as well, as there are comments stuck at the bottom of the page, similar to what happened in the last string, when it became over-loaded, prompting the on-going comments to be moved here.

  12. The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

    There has been an on-going discussion as to whether or not Hall/Joki were Type 3, Type 2 (short), or Type 2 (long) Team qualified.

    In response to that commentary, on 12/21 I posted:
    “The way SWCC had them listed this year, it looked like they could respond either as a Type III Team, a Type II Short Team, and if I remember correctly, for a while earlier in the year, a Type II Long Team. It stands to reason, if they were all Type II qualified (short or long), any, or all of them, could have filled-out a Type III Team if called upon.”

    In response to those comments, on 12/21, Calvin ask me to provide a link or source for them. In response to Calvin’s query, I provided the following link, which I have repeated down here for anyone that may have missed it up the chain aways:

    http://gacc.nifc.gov/swcc/dispatch_logistics/crews/sit300/sit300.htm

  13. Sonny Gilligan says

    I have been laughing quite a bit.
    At this point I wonder if your real name xxfullsailxx is Musser or Willis. If not, what pub can I find you three in?
    I mean, it is okay to try and fry
    Eric Marsh and Jesse Steed
    but don’t you think the smoke got a lot of people dirty that day?
    We need more evidence before we accept that these 2 men are the solely culpable for the mistakes that were made that day that took their lives. We did hear Marsh’s statement refusing to leave the black to help Yarnell at one point. What went on after that to change his mind is what we want to know. Someone knows and it may come out in the records and testimonies from people that talked with their 19 loved ones shortly before they went down into that death trap.

  14. Robert the Second says

    Calvin, WTKTT, and Full Sail,

    The SIGG fuel MAY have been used in their frantic, last-ditch effort to burn out around themselves because I didn’t see any burned out drip torches in the two investigator, fatality site investigation photo.

    Full Sail, did you notice any drip torches in the photos?

    It’s mixed gas so it burns without the WHOOMPH that raw gas does. So, if that had no torches and that’s what it’s looking like, then MAYBE they used their saw gas from the SIGGS.

    Regarding the Unit Logs: most likely they would have carried them in a cargo pants pocket rather than their packs. They’re more accessible there. And as I posted earlier, a lot of WFF wait until the end of shift or even the end of the assignment to BRIEFLY fill them out. They are NOT required.

      • Robert the Second says

        Bob,

        For sure,they would have been carrying fusees, but they’re virtually worthless and very time-consuming in the brush.

        The whole creating a deployment site and attempting to fire it all out in 2-3 minutes is just ludicrous in my opinion. Like the VLAT fiasco about dropping on them to save them, is just movie stuff. Totally unrealistic.

        Their time would have been better utlized RUNNING toward The Ranch and safety and/or lighter fuels.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          I think people keep picturing the ‘we are in front of
          the flaming front’ moment as if the fire was some
          kind of ‘wave’ filling the entire mouth of the canyon
          at that point and coming right at them.

          That is absolutely NOT the case.

          What was really happening at 1639 ( 4:39 PM )
          is that part of the firefront was ‘sweeping’
          around that northern mound at the mouth
          of the box canyon.

          Sure… they must have run right into that
          and got caught by surprise… but Mr. Powers
          is right to suggest that one of their POSSIBLE
          options would have been to not waste one
          single second on an option that was NEVER
          to going to work… and just ‘drop packs and
          haul ass’ on a diagonal towards the edge
          of the mound(s) on the southern side of
          the box canyon.

          They were already ‘on the flat’ of the canyon.
          They were already ‘in or near that clearing’.

          Look at the ‘flyovers’ of the rest of the terrain
          between them and the Ranch at that point, and
          compare that to the actual ADOSH fire
          progression charts.

          There was a CHANCE ( and we are only talking
          CHANCES here ) that 19 incredibly fit men
          absolutely HAULING ASS could have reached
          the tip of that mound at the southern side of
          the box canyon BEFORE the fire reached that
          point… and then forget the stupid ranch… they
          would have had a clear ‘run away on flat ground’
          scenario right through the valley that separates
          the ranch and the Candy Cane Lane area.

          Satellite photos dated April 9, 2013 show that
          they had already reached the part of the flat
          of the canyon that kind of ‘thins out’ and the
          closer you get to the ranch the more ‘clearings’
          you would be finding.

          It would have been like hauling ass through a
          ‘fun house’… twisting left and right around
          manzanita and doing a lot of ‘ducking’ or just
          blasting ahead with forearms in front of you…
          but adrenaline is an amazing thing.

          Page 64 of the SAIR reports says the
          Boulder Springs Ranch didn’t lose their
          generator on the very northern perimeter of
          the property until exactly 1658 ( 4:58 PM ).

          Do you realize that is almost TWENTY
          MINUTES after Jesse Steed first reported
          seeing the flames at 1639 ( 4:39 PM )?

          It’s actually 19 minutes.
          One minute for each Hotshot that died.

          That’s a LOONG time under those circumstances
          so if they hadn’t wasted even ONE second on
          all this ‘site preparation’ crap and just ‘ran for
          their lives’ FORWARD and to the southeast and
          tried to keep as parallel as possible to the
          advancing firefront…

          …it might have been one heck of a ride and one
          VERY scary story to tell later… but they might
          have ALL made it.

          • mike says

            Looking at maps or satellite images is a lot different than trying to make decisions in real time on the ground with fire and smoke all around. They obviously had quite limited time to make decisions and probably only appeared to have very bad options. Trying to draw lessons from choosing one bad option over another is probably not going to be that helpful in the future. The real lessons will come from how not to be in that awful position to begin with.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Agreed… but again.. for probably about
              the fifth time now… I just timed myself
              on my Android and in no more than
              20 seconds… I can fire up Google
              Maps, got to Yarnell, zoom down,
              and see EXACTLY everything I
              was describing above.

              There were SIX smartphones out
              there with that men. They were
              ‘tweeting’ and ‘twitpicing’ most
              of the day. If they had only taken
              20 seconds to look at where they
              were planning to go they MIGHT
              have realized they had more
              options than they thought.

              There is a huge poster on the wall
              of the Granite Mountain ready
              room that says…

              HOW IS YOUR SITUATIONAL
              AWARENESS TODAY?

              I wish they had all stood in front
              of that poster before they left
              that morning and ‘saluted’ it.

              • mike says

                If their situational awareness was what it needed to be, they would not have been in that box canyon and would have had no need to run anywhere.

                • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                  Exactly… but even
                  if they HAD still decided to play ‘ranger danger’
                  and thought they would
                  cut some time… a
                  quick look at a map
                  beforehand might have
                  helped them survive
                  as well when the
                  ‘unthinkable’ ended
                  up staring them in
                  the face.

                  Am I suggesting
                  access to Google Maps
                  be REQUIRED for
                  people in the field from
                  now on? I dunno…
                  maybe I am.

                  It’s the year 2013.
                  If you can ‘twitpic’
                  from where you are,
                  then you can do
                  SITWARE checks
                  as well. Might save
                  your life.

                • Calvin says

                  If their situational awareness was where it needed to be they would have left the ridge in time to save their own buggies.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Correction above: Mr. Powers asked the
            question about the fuszees… and it was
            RTS who made the followup comment
            that GM’s time MIGHT have been better
            used running TOWARD the ranch, or
            safety, or lighter fuels. I was attributing
            that to Mr. Powers instead of RTS. Sorry.

          • Calvin says

            WTKTT said…There was a CHANCE ( and we are only talking
            CHANCES here ) that 19 incredibly fit men
            absolutely HAULING ASS could have reached the tip of that mound at the southern side of the box canyon BEFORE the fire reached that point…..
            The Mound that you are talking about was actually Between GM and Boulder Springs Ranch, Right? I am not sure, but it appears that the mound would have been an obstacle between GM and BS Ranch? If the route they chose through the canyon had been more a little more southerly, they would have seen the fire earlier and they would have had a straighter shot to the ranch. Is that a road (jeep trail) out beyond the deployment zone, over the head of the standing investigator (Dougherty DZ pic) that seems to track to the right?

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Reply to Calvin post
              on December 22, 2013 at 10:00 pm

              Yes… ‘as the bird flies’ there was
              the base of a ‘mound’ between
              them and Boulder Springs Ranch
              jutting from the southern side of
              the box canyon. There would then
              have been ‘another’ mound after
              that representing the termination
              of that north-side ridge.

              As I said… it would have been a
              hell of a ride for them…

              but the fireline at 1639 ( 4:39 ) had
              not fully ‘assembled’ into any kind
              of ‘due west’ advancing front.

              Actually… it never did that until
              it was blown halfway through the
              canyon and past the deployment
              site. The fire really did come into
              the canyon on sort of an ‘oblique
              angle’.

              Could they have really SEEN that?
              I doubt it. The wind-driven SMOKE
              at 1639 must have already been
              incredible.

              Speaking of which… it’s still just
              incredible to me that even if the
              actual ‘orange flames’ were hidden
              from their view during descent…
              the SMOKE must have been
              incredible and I can’t believe they
              didn’t take their clues from that
              alone… stop… and turn around.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Reply to Calvin post
              on Dec 22, 2013 at 10:00 pm

              >> Calvin asked…
              >>
              >> Is that a road (jeep trail) out
              >> beyond the deployment zone,
              >> over the head of the standing
              >> investigator (Dougherty DZ pic)
              >> that seems to track to the right?

              Yes. It is. It’s even more than a
              jeep trail. It’s a full blown road…
              but it is much farther away than
              the Dougherty article photo makes
              it appear because of that Canon
              55m lens and the 5.6m to infinity
              field depth used for that photo.

              That road is actually clearly visible
              on Google maps running north
              on the western perimeter of the
              Boulder Springs Ranch.

              By the way… that ‘mound’ you
              were referring to out ahead of
              the deployment site on the south
              side of the canyon was exactly
              this far away from the center of
              the deployment site…

              649 feet
              216 yards

              The MOMENT they reached that
              point… they had a clear shot
              to turn almost DUE SOUTH and
              from that moment on they would
              have been running AWAY from
              the fire through clearer ground.

              This is all hard to describe but if
              you just look at a current Google
              map of the canyon you will see
              exactly what I mean. The closer
              they got to the ranch… the more
              CLEARINGS there were and the
              moment they got to the end of
              the south ridge line… it was
              TOTALLY clear with trails and
              paths leading directly DUE SOUTH
              and out to the Candy Cane lane
              area. They might have made it.

          • Sonny says

            There was a CHANCE ( and we are only talking
            CHANCES here ) that 19 incredibly fit men
            absolutely HAULING ASS could have reached
            the tip of that mound at the southern side of
            the box canyon BEFORE the fire reached that
            point… and then forget the stupid ranch… they
            would have had a clear ‘run away on flat ground’
            scenario right through the valley that separates
            the ranch and the Candy Cane Lane area.====REPLY:
            this has been proven by fire experts to be another drift trap and that was the way Joy wanted to go and all experts state it was worse than the box canyon and no, it would not be easier even though Joy was stubborn to think that due to the high fuel terrain. That was not a workable option. The only workable one was the one we took- the Congress side.

        • Bob Powers says

          I was thinking combined with saw gas. If they weren’t caring drip torches. Many of us always packed fuszee’s. They had to light the fire out with something. They were also burning out earlier in the day.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to RTS post on December 22, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      >> RTS said…
      >> Regarding the Unit Logs: most likely they would have carried
      >> them in a cargo pants pocket rather than their packs.
      >> They’re more accessible there.

      This is what I assume. We covered this ground before.
      The SAIR ‘damage reports’ for each of the men indicates
      that if they were carrying these ‘unit logs’ in either their
      shirt front pocket or front pants pocket… then they should
      have survived the burnover. If either one had a notebook
      in any BACK pocket, however, then it’s questionable.
      Both of them had quite a bit of damage to the BACKS
      of their clothing.

      >> RTS also wrote…
      >> And as I posted earlier, a lot of WFF wait until the end of
      >> shift or even the end of the assignment to BRIEFLY
      >> fill them out. They are NOT required.

      What you actually said was…

      >> On December 12, 2013 at 9:28 am RTS said…
      >> Unit Logs are NOT required, only suggested, but then
      >> it depends on what your supervisor wants too.

      There is now substantial evidence from the ADOSH report
      and the Yarnell Investigation Notes ( YIN ) that Willis started
      keeping a real-time unit log from the moment he arrived at
      the YHF at 11:30 PM, Saturday, June 29.

      There’s really too much detail being reported in his ‘unit logs’
      for him to have NOT been making notations in ‘real time’.

      So it is, in fact, reasonable to assume now that since Darrell
      Willis believed in ‘real-time’ unit logs ( and not lazy-later mode ),
      that Granite Mountain would have been ‘taught’ and/or ‘required’
      to have the same habit(s).

      We shall see.

      All we need is just one photograph from any one of the SIX
      recovered smartphones that shows Jesse Steed making
      an ‘entry’ in a unit log that day… and Katie Bar The Door.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Followup: It would also be handy if someone who knew
        this group would just SAY whether or not Marsh/Steed
        ever kept ‘unit logs’ at all… and if so… whether they
        were required to do ‘real-time’ or allowed to do ‘lazy-later’.

        Someone like Willis or McDonough ( I doubt that’ll happen )
        or anyone who has ever actually WORKED with them.

        GM did the Doce fire just two weeks earlier.
        There must be plenty of people still alive in Prescott
        who may have seen them making entries to ‘unit logs’.

  15. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** BACKPACKS WERE NEVER ENTERED INTO EVIDENCE BY YCSO

    Reply to Calvin post on Dec 22, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    >> Calvin said…
    >> The PFD did the final comb through ( of the deployment site ).

    Yes. That is what appears to be documented. What is interesting to note
    is that all through the ‘comb-overs’ of the deployment site… no one was
    removing any BACKPACKS.

    It was only when both YCSO and SAIT said they were ‘done’ that PFD was
    allowed to do the ‘final pass’ at the site and remove what was left such as
    all the backpacks, melted tools, whatever was still there.

    What happened then is that as they tried to remove Whitted’s backpack…
    only then did they find his ‘Colorized iPhone’ that was stuck to his backpack.

    This means that NONE of the backpacks were actually ‘searched’ on-site by
    either YCSO or the SAIT investigators… and NONE of the backpacks ( and
    their contents ) were ever entered in evidence by YCSO.

    Only the iPhone… which the detectives picked up directly from PFD in Prescott.

    I am assuming that the contents of the backpacks were returned to family members…

    …but what about ‘unit logs’?

    If Marsh/Steed were keeping unit logs that day ( we are still not sure about that
    but it would appear they were supposed to since Willis did ) and those unit
    logs were not found in their shirt or pants pockets… could they have been
    ‘stowed for the hike’ in their backpacks?

    So this is still a crucial two-step process here…

    1) Were either Marsh OR Steed ( or both ) actually keeping ‘unit logs’ that day?

    2) IAOI ( If And Only If ) they were… then where are those ‘unit logs’ now?

    First they have to exist… then they have to be FOUND before we discover
    if they were in the habit of doing real-time updates like their boss Willis is
    proven to have been doing that day, or whether they just practiced the ‘lazy
    later’ mode of updating their unit logs.

    Hint: Either Darrell Wills or Brendan McDonough ( or BOTH ) probably
    know the answers to ALL of these important questions about GM ‘unit logs’.

    • Calvin says

      Picture from SAIR p84. There are two chainsaws in this picture. According to deployment site body position illustration, Dustin Deford had a chainsaw right beside him. Could the saw closest to the camera be the saw found by Defords body? The other saw (farther away) appears that it could be the saw in the latest picture released by Dougherty. If that is true, The second saw would be in the approximate location of Marsh and Warneke (but not mentioned in Marsh or Warneke’s Individual PPE Analysis.
      Then the blue Nalgene that is seen in both pictures, (possibly) belongs to Ashcraft. The yellow handled tool that is not charred would have been under the upper body of Scott Norris (per description on p 93 SAIR) Just trying to orient everything. Thoughts?

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to Calvin post on December 22, 2013 at 7:15 pm

        Calvin… I have been doing exactly what you are
        doing ( matching reported items with visual evidence
        of deployment site ) and here is what I think…

        I think it’s not really possible to make definitive
        conclusions from just this one picture alone of the
        SAIT team at the site BEFORE things were removed.

        The photo is Mr. Dougherty’s article is simply not
        showing the entirety of the ‘scene’.

        Example: There is what appears to be a YCSO
        deputy in a short-sleeved tan shirt off the right of
        the frame with his elbow showing. He seems to
        be ‘standing’ on or near an object and I can’t even
        tell what it is… but he is obviously standing ‘amidst
        more debris’ that we just can’t see.

        I wonder how many of these site photos were in the
        SAIT FOIA/FOIL package? Documentation says they
        may have taken HUNDREDS of photos of that site…
        and documentation ALSO says the the YCSO people
        handed the SAIT investigators a CD of every photo
        THEY took of the site as well… including the
        amazing FARO 3-Dimensional images they took.

        I wonder if the FARO images themselves were part of
        the SAIT FOIA/FOIL… or if they ‘held those back’?

  16. Robert the Second says

    Calvin,

    The fuel containers are SIGG bottles from Sigg Switerland AG. They’re made of either aluminum or stainless steel, and they’re very light and pretty durable. We carry chainsaw mix and bar oil in them and thus are able to spread the weight and bulk pretty evenly amongst the Crew by distributing them to everyone and not just the sawyers and swampers.

    • Calvin says

      Thanks, that is what I thought. What is your opinion on the empty bottles laying around the deployment site. Note the caps are all missing. If used for lighting brush, why would they keep them in the DZ? It makes no sense! but then again, nothing does.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      RTS… my thanks as well. That is really pertinent information.

      So we are only now seeing some definitive proof of EXACTLY
      what went on in/around that deployment site before those
      men got into their shelters.

      That’s important… because it all adds up to TIME.

      It’s perfectly obvious from the photo that some things
      happened that we weren’t really sure about until now.

      1) All of the men DID have time to get their backpacks off.
      No one went into a shelter with one. That adds TIME to
      to the clock for how long it took to ‘get ready’.

      2) Looks like ALL of the men who were carrying extra fuel
      also had the time to get it out… and either ‘dump-as-directed’
      on the burn-around-ourselves attempt or just ‘dump-it-anywhere’
      away from themselves so there wouldn’t be any explosions
      during burnover.

      Again… this all takes TIME… and it adds to the final calculation
      of how much time these men really had to ‘prepare the site’,
      and still get into their shelters.

      This is crucial stuff and the ‘real picture’ of their final moments
      ( and the real total time calculation ) hasn’t been done yet.

      We still don’t have an actual TOD ( Time Of Death ) for any
      of these 19 men, either. I have found even more photographic
      evidence of ‘wrist watches’ amongst that group to the point
      where it’s safe to say that MORE of them actually WERE
      wearing wrist watches than were not.

      Whatever happened to ANY of those wrist watches?
      Would ANY of them ( digital or analog ) have shown
      the acutal burnover time? Stay tuned.

  17. Robert the Second says

    I’m reposting a comment I made on the Shortest Day of the Year that most of you missed. I want to see what you think about the moral dilemma that PFD Division Chief Willis was in.

    WTKTT posted – “Maybe Willis really does believe the words that come out of his mouth. Maybe he has to.”

    RTS replied – Yes, I agree on both of those statements. In the media, public forum he was in, he kind of HAD TO defend the actions of his men. At least that”s what I’ve been told by others. That’s a tough one. I don’t necessarily agree with that. That really would be tough having to defend the fatal, foolhardy, illogical, against-all-training-and-conventional-wisdom actions of your men.

    I think you have to somewhat admit that Willis was between the proverbial ‘rock and a hard spot.’ Ask yourself, what would you have said, in a public forum, to the world, about a couple of your leaders that are responsible for leading their Crew to their ultimate deaths? Think about it.”

    • Calvin says

      RTS. From what I have read it is highly unusual for anyone to come forward like Willis (and others) did . At least until some reports have been released. Feel free to correct me. So I guess my thoughts are that no one made him come forward. And I agree with Gary, he should have been in a quiet room staring at the walls.

      • Sonny says

        Joy thought Willis came forward professionally and with respect yet I think he came forward because no one else would come forward and someone had to do the PR time. Our concerns are the evidence being shown is edited and not the raw footage as Joy has provided all. We both gave our accounts of that day. We saw the event from near or at the fire edge on 6-30-13 and Marsh asked them constantly there comfort level as you can hear here
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omfw_Unt_VQ
        and someone stated in background “you state that all day” meaning not just that talk but he was constantly vigil in his concern for their safety as well as ours for he constantly on all conversations asked us how we were headed. Now, what bothers us is that he is taken the sole blame here versus other options being evident that he was asking Steed his comfort level. Consider that Marsh was always a 1/4 mile or so away from them that day as we eye-witness that. Consider also that Marsh had denied hooking up with the Blue Ridge boys and helping out because he was safe in the black and crew. If they did not tamper and edit that video and photos we could look at this in another light but remember we have been 100% transparent on all levels and we were there and we are alive. We left the area just in time because when we got to the vehicle we saw the fire beyond the windmill- After hearing all the peoples’ stories that day we now know how close we were to being dead if we did not go my way. One thing to notice about Marsh was that he was not gungho but it appears somebody outside the crew was as well as someone inside the crew. Still, I think there is more to come and more evidence and it would be nice to see the raw footage of the already put out evidence as well. More evidence will reveal who really is responsible. Now, as far as God having the plans for these men in Heaven—I don’t want anything to do with a God who leaves 3 beautiful pregnant women behind and countless others suffering the grief of the loss of those heroes. If that is YOUR God keep Him to yourself. Mine is loving one. Remember 911 and other tragedies—it was not God but a human factor that led to those deaths and we believe the answers did not die with those 19. No more than 911 did- Why edit that video you see on the above link unless you want to mislead or redirect your narrative just as some have here tried to do.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      I think Willis laid out his ‘agenda’ right there in his ‘speech’
      from the deployment site when they let him ( and not Roy Hall )
      host the first public press conference from the site.

      In one breath he says he “doesn’t know what the lessons are”…

      …and then less than 30 seconds later he’s saying the exact
      opposite and launches into his own little ‘speech’ about
      “defensive management” and “urban interface” and
      “what a great job I’ve ( We’ve ) been doing along these
      lines back in Prescott” and how he thinks if fire hits
      Prescott now it will just “go around the houses” and
      yada… yada… yada.

      Forget his closing remark of “God had a different plan for
      these men that day”.

      I was most taken aback by this self-serving ‘commercial’ he
      was inserting into the press conference that was nothing
      but justification for him ‘keeping his job’.

      This had to be just an ‘act of God’ for him.
      Anything else means he might lose his job back in Prescott.

  18. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    >> Calvin wrote…
    >> I hope someone releases more of the video.

    There is also complete ‘security camera’ video footage that was taken
    from the perimeter of the Boulder Springs Ranch looking right out to
    the north… towards those features I have named “Big Round Top”
    and “Little Round Top”. I don’t know how MUCH there is… but if it’s
    a good hour’s worth… we might be able to see ACTUAL video
    proof of the ACTUAL ROS in that critical timeframe… in the exact
    direction that matters.

    That Boulder Springs Security camera footage has already been
    ‘glimpsed’ in reports by CNN and other people… but only for a few
    seconds because the Mainstream Media ( MSM ) just thought that
    was too ‘boring’ to show more than a few seconds of it.

    So that video is, in fact, part of the SAIT FOIA/FOIL package.
    I hope we get to see/examine the WHOLE thing.

    >> Calvin also wrote…
    >> I saw a brief clip on CNN last weekend (Saturday or Sunday
    >> early morning) that was different than the video by Wildfire Today.
    >> It was taken from a different location. Has anyone else saw that?

    I searched and searched for this… even went to 3 different Internet
    ‘wayback’ machines… but I can’t seem to find this video you are
    referring to. Do you recall anything else about it, or exactly where
    you saw it? What looked ‘different’ about it?

    • Calvin says

      The clip from CNN showed two FF standing in a dirt road with radios in hand, discussing whether deployment had occurred. The background was a boulder covered hill, not the wooded area from the other video. It was pretty short, but definitely different than other video.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Ah… OK… I know the one you are referring to.
        Yes… it was appearing on MSM footage as just
        sort of ‘background’… but another site ran it with
        audio and the bearded firefighter with the handheld
        is caught talking to both radio and others near him.

        I have been working that one here trying to identify
        exact location… but it’s a tricky one. Not much to
        go on but the large yellow road sign and the
        boulders. Stay tuned.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to Calvin post on Dec 22, 2013 at 1:18 pm

        Found it ( The exact location the video was shot ).

        This is the video that features the ( so far unidentified )
        bearded firefighter standing in the road with a portable
        radio… and we also hear some of the final GM radio
        transmissions in the background.

        This WAS taken at a different location ( but actually
        not all that far away ) from the video that was released
        by AZREPUBLIC.

        These men were also on the Shrine road… but a little
        further east towards Yarnell than the crew in the other
        AZREPUBLIC video.

        The video was shot looking north-northeast with
        the camera operator standing exactly here…

        Latitude: 34.225839
        Longitude: -112.750738

        34.225839, -112.750738

        The MSM ( MainStream Media ) was pretty much just
        using THIS video clip from the SAIT FOIA/FOIL package
        as a ‘background’ clip in their reports with the other
        video being featured as the ‘real capture’ of the radio
        transmissions… but this video seems to have almost
        the same full capture sequence and even includes all
        the attempts by Bravo 33 ( ASM2 ) to contact GM after
        Marsh’s final “Affirm” transmission.

        I wonder when we will get to see a copy of this
        entire video from the SAIT FOIA/FOIL package?

        • Elizabeth says

          I have lost track of this thread, but, FYI, I now have the entire FOIL/FOIA materials save a few things. I was going to try to figure out how to share the materials, but limit access to those of you on the informal investigation team here, but it looks like John Dougherty is going to do it….. If he doesn’t or can’t, I can give it a try.

          FYI, the rest of the video from the helmet cam basically shows that the air folks tried like hell to find and help Granite Mountain (not that they could have), and GM tried a few times to communicate back, but no clear communications came through from GM. Rather, there was immediate and incoherent static RIGHT after the pilot would call out to GM on the radio. No clear communications from GM came through.

          As I listen to the rest of the video, my heart goes out to the pilot. I am sure he had a pit in his stomach for quite some time after June 30. Hearing him repeatedly paging Granite Mountain calmly, saying something rational and calm like “you’re going have to tell us when you see the aircraft, because it is going to be a little tough for us to see ya….” It is heartbreaking. And then, after such a transmission, the pilot immediately gets a “response” of horrible static, showing that Marsh/GM are TRYING to communicate back to the pilot. But they can’t.
          And then the pilot replies to the incoherent static by saying “… Ok… uh…” The way he says “…ok… uh…,” and everything that you might read into that is very very sad. It is not for the weak of heart, friends. God rest the souls of the 19.

          Solely for purposes of saying something that I have been thinking, I say the following. Feel free to ignore it (and all of this, of course) – just want to make a comment: As I listen to the video, and I hear the pilot trying to keep calm while clearly realizing his efforts are likely futile, I find myself choking up, the same way I do when I read and re-read the interview notes regarding the BR crew member racing – on foot – to the deployment site. The way it is described, you can basically FEEL the desperation, and you can be sure that the BR guy was running faster than he had ever run in his life. It chokes me up every time I read it…. It makes me recall a personal situation several months ago in which a close friend (who is an emergency professional as her day job and a marathon runner as a hobby) heard an awful squeal of tires and realized that her child might have been in an accident at the end of her long, long driveway. In terror, my friend did not take the time to get into her car to drive to the end of the driveway to see if her child was killed, but, rather, she took off running. On foot, she *beat* her mother who got into the car and *DROVE* down the long driveway. To this day, my friend will not even talk about that sprint of terror and the fact that she outran the car. It is too much for her to even remember, that run of sheer terror, which is saying something, given that her day job involves facing dire situations and trying to rescue people. (The child was fine, thank God.) That is all I can think about when I picture the BR crew member running to the deployment site. My heart goes to him and to the pilot I hear trying to calmly, calmly page GM and Marsh.

  19. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** WHEN DID ERIC MARSH REALLY BECOME DIVS A?

    The SAIR still wants us to believe it happened DURING the 7:00 AM briefing.

    ADOSH won’t even confirm Marsh was actually present at the 7:00 AM
    briefing and only says he became DIVS A sometime ‘after the meeting’.

    The accidentally captured radio transmission from Marsh in the Globe
    Type 2 Crew ‘staging’ video shot at the Yarnell Fire Station sometime
    around 10:00 AM catches Eric still NOT using call sign ‘DIVS A’ yet.

    Todd Abel’s interview with the SAIT team says NOTHING about when he
    actually made Marsh DIVS A. Very strange.

    In his SAIT interview… Brendan McDonough actually puts a time window
    of between 10:45 and 11:36 AM on when Marsh became DIVS A. According
    to Brendan… it happened exactly around the time that Rory Collins was
    purposely dropping retardant on their indirect attack and forcing them
    to change tactics. It looks like this is what prompted (perhaps) the FIRST
    in a series of ‘cell phone calls’ from Marsh to Todd Abel… and it was during
    that cell call that Abel decided to make Marsh ‘DIVS A’.

    Page 7 of YIN ( SAIT Yarnell Investiation Notes )

    Interview with Brendan McDonough 7/5/2013
    Chronological events… according to McDonough…

    – Crew reported to Yarnell Fire station morning of 6/30
    – Briefed-Bad Road Access
    – Briefed on fire where parked
    – 45 min hike in to Fire activity low
    – Going to go direct fire hung up mid-slope
    – Eric-Supt to be Div A
    – Supt needs a squad to go back securing edge to cold black
    – Brendan volunteers his squad for assignment
    – Eric out scouting ahead in front of Brendan’s squad

    SIDENOTE: Two times… the SAIT investigator notes seem to suggest
    that Brendan was the LEADER of the ‘squad’ that volunteered to
    do the ‘tie to cold black’ assignment. Brendan says HE was the
    one that volunteered HIS squad for the assignment and the very
    next line refers to the squad as “Brendan’s squad”, as if he really
    was the ‘squad leader’. Very strange.

    There is now another confirmation that it wasn’t until this ‘late’ time in
    the morning, and after the incidents with Rory Collins, that Todd Abel
    actually made Marsh DIVS A.

    It comes from the SAIT notes and their interview with Blue Ridge Hotshots.
    Brian Frisby and his Capt. Trueheart. They told the SAIT team Eric ‘became
    alpha’ at 10:45 AM ish, as they were heading up the saddle for their
    ‘face to face’ with Marsh…

    Page 7 of YIN ( SAIT Yarnell Investiation Notes )

    Interview with Blue Ridge IHC
    Supt: Brian Frisby Foreman: True Brown
    Squad Boss: Travis Fueller and Cory Ball
    Interviewed by Godot, Jay, Jimmie, Tim, Jim, and Mike 07/10/2013

    Brian & Trueheart went on the razor (UTV) to meet up with Eric and Jesse
    in the saddle @ 1045. They mentioned they too had a bad briefing, bad radios.
    Driving up to the saddle is when Eric became Alpha.

    So what is unbelievable here is that even though the SAIT investigators
    had at least TWO independent confirmations that Todd Abel didn’t
    make Marsh DIVS A until around 10:45 AM that day… the SAIR still
    came out saying that Marsh became DIVS A at the 7:00 AM briefing.

    As if anyone needed any MORE proof… the SAIR is complete fiction.

    • Calvin says

      I would hypothesize that Marsh became Div A after one of two events occurred (or maybe both) I haven’t seen any information released (yet) that indicates the time Arroyo called and reported they were unable to make it. I have to believe that the absence of 33% of your available hotshot crews had an effect on the “plan” (or lack of) for the day.
      Rance Marquez interview notes p36 says…..I left Phoenix and arrived at ICP about 10:30 a.m. on the 3oth. I could see the fire from Congress.
      I was committed to the Doce Fire so I asked if I could go, was told no. But I told him that It wouldn’t be very long because I heard that they had ordered Bea Day’s team so he said OK.
      So Marquez comes to the fire and then leaves (shortly?) after 1030.
      I will also assert that it was becoming clearer that the ICT was an inadequate (appears Roy Hall was actually a Type 3 commander)team and there was increasing pressure to order a Type 1 team. P2 YIN from Arizona Dispatch Center ……..Sun 8-1000 ordered T2 short team, no T3 team ordered transitioned from T4 to T2 incident. When the team took the incident it changed to an aircraft and logistics for dispatch. Pushed against T2 long for T1 based on potential.
      • Pete had a meeting between 1200-1300 w/ agency administrators. Pete stressed his strong feelings for them to go with a T1 team order. Order was placed around 14-1430. There was a problem with T1 order, redid it around 15-1600ys….
      It could be that Hall’s team were simply filling in empty positions in an attempt to cover their asses before another team took over.
      Roy Hall interview p29 YIN…..11:00 Placed a call to David Geyer to go forward with the Central West Type 2 team full blown order. Received a report that the fire was traveling at 10-15 chains and flame lengths were 10-15 ft.
      11:07 Placed a call to Bea Day and asked her to send, outside of the system, 2-3 of her best logs people and any ops people.
      11:10 Called Jim Downey and strongly urged him to order the type 2 team. His comment back “how do you know it’s not a type one incident?” and requested that I do a complexity analysis. I responded that I was too busy to do that computer stuff and if he wanted to send it over, I would go over it with him.
      I am not Surprised Roy Hall is named in the notice of claim. I wonder what he was busy doing, that he didn’t have time to do his JOB.

    • Calvin says

      By all accounts, GM had 4 Chainsaws with them 6/30. P83 SAIR says….There were three saws found 20 to 40 feet off the southeast and east side of the deployment site.
      p84 SAIR picture shows 2 chainsaws in the deployment area. FICTION

      • xxfullsailxx says

        umm, what are you talking about?

        there are clearly four saws being carried into the fire by GM in the photo taken by Joy Collura.

        the SAIT says three saws were found outside the deployment site (20-40 feet) and one saw was found within the deployment site.

        your post is fiction. are you hunting witches too?

        • Calvin says

          FULLSAIL. Please re read my comment. I agree with you. Collura picture and her own account both say GM had 4 saws. You said….the SAIT says three saws were found outside the deployment site (20-40 feet) and one saw was found within the deployment site. Again I agree WITH you. However if you will take the time to look at the picture on p84 of SAIR page, you will note that there are 2 saws in the deployment area. That is all I am saying

          • xxfullsailxx says

            the picture caption reads, “Figure 5. The area northeast of the deployment site contained sawed and burnt brush stobs, and the burned remnants of a hand tool, chainsaws and packs.”

            so i don’t think that picture is comprehensive of the deployment site… so, i guess i’m not sure what you’re calling “fiction” since the SAIT accounts for four saws (even if the picture only shows two of them).

            so if there’s only one tool head showing in the picture, that’s all the tools they had with them that day?

            • Calvin says

              You again are correct. Figure five “Figure 5. The area northeast of the deployment site contained sawed and burnt brush stobs, and the burned remnants of a hand tool, chainsaws and packs.” BUT ! page 83 states…There were three saws found 20 to 40 feet off the southeast and east side of the deployment site.
              Together these two different notations add up to a total of five saws. BUT then you have to add P 94 The burned remnants of a chain saw were next to the right side of the firefighter. (Dustin Deford)
              Now the SAIR has told us there were actually SIX saws. Yep, fiction

              • xxfullsailxx says

                hmm, i am not sure how math works in your part of the world, but here we don’t count the word “chainsaw” each time it appears in the text or pictures. here we try to account for ACTUAL numbers of items present at the scene.

                example: if the text says there were eight sawed brush stobs and then there is a picture that shows one brush stob… THAT DOESN’T EQUAL NINE TOTAL BRUSH STOBS!

        • Calvin says

          Fullsail said..the SAIT says three saws were found outside the deployment site (20-40 feet) and one saw was found within the deployment site. WRONG The SAIR actually says……There were three saws found 20 to 40 feet off the southeast and east side of the deployment site. p83
          P84… figure 5 caption says…Figure 5. The area northeast of the deployment site contained sawed and burnt brush stobs, and the burned remnants of a hand tool, CHAINSAWS (2in pic) and packs.
          Dustin Deford had one CHAINSAW right beside him
          3chainsawS Southeast and east P83 Text
          2 chainsawS Northeast P84 Text and picture
          1 chainsaw Inside DZ P94 Text
          As far as your example above, I understand your point But if the 8 sawed stobs (mentioned in the text) are noted North and the one sawed stob in the picture is noted South (in the attached caption) Then, indeed there are 9 total sawed stobs! At least that’s the way we do math AROUND HERE

          • xxfullsailxx says

            ah, okay, you must be right then… those four saws we see them hiking in with must have mated when no one was looking.

            i am done with you.

        • says

          xxfullsailxx—
          we just began to read the site—we heard you made it here. Welcome. We needed you here. Someone inquired to us if you attacked me that you should be removed- I have not read that part of you attacking me but I am 100% for the freedom of speech so we look forward to reading the comment wall this week- short on time tonight but so far from the bottom up to this point we just see you give a new flair to the page- Sonny enjoys your insight. He laughs and that we need-
          Humor is an important part of life. Thank you.

    • xxfullsailxx says

      yep, more confirmation that you don’t really understand how things work and you don’t really listen to the people with the knowledge, trying to tell you…

      to infer that there was no discussion of Marsh being Division Alpha at the 0700 briefing is ignorance on your part. since he was the most qualified individual on that piece of line, by default he would become Div A and that would most definitely be a part of any morning briefing.

      the official transition to the Type 2 team happened sometime around 1030. at that time Marsh “officially” became Div A. prior to that, Marsh was Div. A for all intensive purposes.

      just because the timelines and dialogue don’t meet your static expectations of how they SHOULD be, doesn’t mean the SAIR is “complete fiction.”

      (Not that any of that is relevant to your witch hunt anyways.)

      • Bob Powers says

        Fullsail–You have not been paying to much attention to the information. All records indicate he was not assigned as DIVA until 1030. There is no witch hunt going on here we are trying to sift thru information and find facts that the SAIT did not do and pretty much did not report information that they had. You also believe that you do not have to notify or discuss moving from your line assignment with any one as that would be asking them to hold your hand and lead you off the mountain. Where were you when the training for line positions was being offered. Your one of those calculated risk guys that will be lucky to survive the next one, or you do not believe every thing that you have been saying here. You have already decided I’m to old to learn any thing from, I feel sorry for you.

        • xxfullsailxx says

          what is it that you think i’m missing Bob? i more or less agreed that Eric Marsh OFFICIALLY became Div Alpha at 1030 when the team officially announced their transition.

          prior to that, if they were the only ones out on that piece of ground and Marsh was the highest qualified individual, then he was inferred Div Alpha then too. i am pretty sure that all the reports are consistent in the summation that Marsh was going to be Div A from the time GM showed up at ICP.

          I also agree with you, that a major infraction (again on Marsh’s shoulders) was not notifying ops that he was abandoning his Div with GM. totally agree.

          and FYI, i didn’t say anything about not learning anything from old-timers (who i generally have a lot of respect for). I said i didn’t have anything to learn from someone who can say they “never deviated from the 10 & 18” or they “never dug line without a safe anchor point” …etc. to say that you did not make mistakes over the course of a 30 year career is to say that you’re the Jesus of wildfire, which i find hard to believe.

          • Bob Powers says

            I must have totally misinterpreted your pore little lambs lost on a hill statement. Yes I never deviated from the 10 and 13, and I am not alone in that. Yes we followed the 10 standard orders and fought fire. I said I did not have any serious accidents with the crews that worked for me lucky or good people who knows, I always put safety first. That’s why I was selected for R5’s 1973 fire safety sensing program. We came up with recommendations that the regional forester put into operational procedures. I was trained by some great supervisors (Fire Gods) never thought I was one of those much less Jesus Christ. You have to make safety your #1 priority and everything else will fall into place. And I was probably still lucky because I still had 20, 40, or 60 other individuals working for me on the fire line.
            I was always told by my first old time FMO “always set an example and others will follow”. I could name people you probably would not know that had the same record as me, many who became District and Forest FMO’s.

            • xxfullsailxx says

              bob, i think i see where you are coming from. i realize there are plenty of management types out there who got there without having a major accident to speak of, including yourself, and i definitely respect that.

              the “poor little lambs” comment is in reference to WTKTT’s assertion that someone needed to guide GM down off the hill. that was not anyone’s job that day but Marsh and/or Steed.

              • Bob Powers says

                I agree with you that it was Marsh or Steeds responsibility misread your statement. When you stay focused you give good info. Stick with your positive approach it works better.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to xxfullsailxx post on Dec 22, 2013 at 9:17 am

        >> xxfullsailxx said…
        >> to infer that there was no discussion of Marsh being
        >> Division Alpha at the 0700 briefing is ignorance on
        >> your part.

        ( Heavy sigh )

        I never said there might not have been any ‘discussion’
        about ‘who is going to be DIVS A today’ at the 7:00 AM
        briefing. I said that the SAIR wants us to believe that
        is the moment when Marsh was ACTUALLY appointed
        to that job and the moment he ACTUALLY accepted it.

        There is a lot of evidence now that THAT moment
        being described in the SAIR is ‘total fiction’.

        On the very FIRST page of the SAIR report…

        >> Early on June 30, members of the Type 2 IMT began
        >> arriving. In a briefing at 0700, the incoming Granite
        >> Mountain IHC Superintendent accepted the role
        >> of Division Alpha Supervisor.

        They aren’t done yet… there’s even more…

        Page 15 of the SAIR…

        >> At the 0700 briefing on June 30, ICT4 and others from
        >> the previous shift meet at the Yarnell Fire Station with
        >> incoming personnel including ICT2, two Operations
        >> Section Chiefs (OPS1 and OPS2), SPGS1, a fire
        >> behavior analyst (FBAN), YCSO deputies, and the
        >> Granite Mountain IHC Superintendent.
        >> They agree the Granite Mountain Superintendent will
        >> become Division Supervisor Alpha (DIVS A) and his
        >> Assistant Superintendent (Granite Mountain Captain
        >> or GM Capt) will run the crew.

        • xxfullsailxx says

          oh, perfect! so you acknowledge that there was a briefing at 0700 at which E. Marsh accepted the fact that he “will become” Div A for the Type 2 team. AND you recognize that the Type 2 team officially transferred command sometime around 1030.

          so NOW you understand (with regard to this one tiny insignificant detail) how fires transition from initial attack to extended attack!

          so the only revelation here is that before you didn’t really understand the terminology used in the SAIR (which admittedly could have been written better for folks like you and calvin) and how things transpire on an evolving incident.

          yay, we agree!

  20. mike says

    I am not sold on Willis or anyone else intervening at 4 PM to motivate GM to move (beyond Musser), but am not convinced it did not happen either. Musser was very vague (at least according to the notes) about the exact reason for his request to GM. Any chance he was acting just as a relay – i.e. someone told him to call GM?

    I’m glad to see some discussion about Roy Hall. Some of his statements have been as tone deaf as can be – “Do you know who I am?”, “Glad there was no smoking gun”, “I had one sleepless night”. If he had as good a career as Gary said, I believe that he now has one thing in mind. That is to not let his legacy be the fact that he was the IC on the Yarnell Hill fire! I assure you, he does not want his role in this talked about at all.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to mike post on December 21, 2013 at 11:25 pm

      mike… Have you see this gem?

      Roy Halll video interview with USA Today – October 5, 2013

      http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/04/commander-reflects-on-yarnell-fire-tragedy/2926419/

      In this interview… Roy hall reads from a prepared statement
      and says…

      >> We will never know what Eric Marsh saw on
      >> Sunday afternoon June 30th.

      Nope. We already do.

      >> Nor we will completely know all the conversations preceding
      >> his decision… and Jesse Steed’s decision to move.

      Wanna make a bet?

      ** Complete transcript of Roy Hall’s USA Today interview
      ** in case that video disappears…

      We’ve talked about Yarnell Hill since the 70’s.
      Yarnell Hill has always been a… in the back of our
      minds… one of those troublesome fire areas.

      The last week a June is… is historically, the most condemning
      week of fire activity in Arizona…
      and the way the monsoons move in from east to west…
      the last of the firefights, depending on how… how early the monsoons
      arrive or how late they are… ahm…
      but the last week of June really sets the clock… ticking…
      until.. ah… sufficient moisture arrives and… and… uh… sets things back.

      This is common knowledge to firefighters, and… and its something
      that’s briefed ah… in… pre-season fire refreshers.
      It’s briefed on incidents.
      There is nothing on the landscape… or a structure… a home…
      that is worth the life of a firefighter.

      So your… your priorities change from
      How do we… how do we keep fire outta Yarnell
      to the acknowledgment that fire is gonna get inta Yarnell…
      and we’ve gotta get people… and I’m talkin’ about firefighters and
      residents… out of harms way.

      I got a call from… from… Paul Musser the OPS chief…. with
      an update in Yarnell proper… that their… the fire had… had gotten into Yarnell…
      that there were structures being lost.. and.. at that… at or about
      that same time… and I can’t remember exactly when it was…
      but I’m thinkin’… 4:30 ish…
      that there was… that there… that.. that…
      Granite Mountain had deployed shelters.

      Your first and foremost concern is..
      How do we help?
      What… Whadda we need to do?
      And.. do we… and… and…
      My main concern was… do we have contact with ’em?
      Do we have any contact with ’em?

      I made sure that the Arizona Division of Forestry knew….
      that there’d been a deployment…
      and… that it was Granite Mountain…
      and… that we would… (pause) we would keep them apprised.

      I initiated a call to the Arizona Divsion a Forestry.
      and basically told ’em…
      the.. this outcome is not gonna be good.
      We need ta prepare for the worst
      But the confirmation of the fatalities had not…
      er… I had not received that at that point.

      There’s a propensity to say there’s got…
      that somebody CAUSED this.
      Somebody is at FAULT.
      And… uh… this has… has… reaffirmed to me
      that… that accidents can happen.

      ( Reading from his own press release now… )

      A firefighter, utilzing the best available science, equipment, training,
      and working within the scope of agency doctrine and policy,
      can still suffer serious injury… or death.

      ( Looking up from his statement… )

      When I started….
      Nobody ever talked to me about dyin’ doin’ this.
      It was exciting… it was challenging…
      Yes, I knew it was dangerous…
      But I… it wasn’t like war. It wasn’t like goin’ to war.

      Uh… my main concern is for those families.
      I’ve got kids. I’ve got grandkids.
      And… in the faces of those… those… children of those firefighters
      that expired on Yarnell Hill… I see in their face what might have
      been in the faces of my children when I left for long
      periods a time to go on a fire… and what I see is…
      Dad’s gone on a fire… he’ll be back soon.
      That’s hard. That’s really hard.

      ( Reading to the camera from his own prepared statement again )…

      We will never know what Eric Marsh saw on Sunday afternoon June 30th.
      Nor we will completely know all the conversations preceding his
      decision… and Jesse Steed’s decision to move.

      Whatever they saw, whatever the situation at that time, confirmed
      their confidence that they had time and a safety margin necessary to move.

      The situation changed very quickly… and that decision was compromised

      I would not wish this tragedy on my worst enemy, however,
      I would not trade places with anybody.

      END OF ROY HALL INTERVIEW WITH USA TODAY

      • Calvin says

        Actually there is more to this interview at Wildfire Today. P2 of Reflections of Incident Commander Roy Hall following the Yarnell Hill Fire report’s release….
        Mountain Hotshots had become historical statistics we call
        ‘fatalities’.
        We train wildland fire line supervisors to assess and take charge.
        Battlefield -fire line decisions are made using ALL of the best
        information available based on decades of experience and training.
        We will never know what Granite Mountain supervisors saw on Sunday
        afternoon, June 30th. Nor will we completely know all the
        conversations preceding their decision to move the crew out of the
        ‘hard black’. Whatever they saw, whatever the situation at that
        time; confirmed their confidence that they had the time and safety
        margin necessary to move. I stand resolute and IMMOVABLE behind
        this announcement and decision to move. The situation changed very
        quickly and the decision was compromised, leaving nowhere to evade
        the fire’s intense assault.
        I would NOT wish this tragedy upon my worst enemy! However, I
        would NOT trade places with anyone! There is no time like now to
        LIVE for the legacy of safety for our wildland fire fighters! The
        ‘gorilla’ is still in the room! He ALWAYS has been! AND he ALWAYS
        will be! We must never forget—we must NEVER rest—we must
        ALWAYS remember!
        We ALL keep asking, ‘WHAT could we have done differently?’ It IS
        human nature to want to know WHAT happened! This effort attempts
        to humanize an explanation that could make us all feel
        better…HOWEVER, we just don’t know ALL the facts! Furthermore, IF
        we are truly sincere of the statement we have uttered AND heard
        literally hundreds of times in the past weeks–‘OUR heartfelt thoughts
        and prayers go out to the families of these fallen heroes!’ THEN we
        must realize and personally ACT NOW to STOP the speculation,
        questions, and cynicism of Monday morning quarterbacking! It will
        NOT bring back 19 of our best and finest comrades!
        I AM committed to learning the most I possibly can from this tragedy!
        The risk and exposure of the wildland fire ground is well documented,
        however, there will ALWAYS be necessary decision space at the

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          >> Roy Hall
          >> HOWEVER, we just don’t know ALL the facts!

          You can say THAT again, Roy.
          We’re workin’ on it.

      • xxfullsailxx says

        also- the document that roy hall has in his hands is not his statement (though i agree the video tries to insinuate that…)

        the document he is holding is a page out of the NWCG Operations Guide (the bible of all things wildland fire) regarding “Fire Doctrine” from which he is quoting:

        “A firefighter, utilzing the best available science, equipment, training, and working within the scope of agency doctrine and policy, can still suffer serious injury… or death.”

        which actually leads me to correct my previous statement regarding Fire Doctrine:

        since GMIHC worked under the guidelines set forth by the NWCG as outlined in the Operations Guide… they were further empowered to make decisions in the field based on their own assessment of what was happening and had a responsibility to prioritize their own safety over any other actions (para-phrased from the Ops. Guide).

    • Gary Olson says

      I agree Mike, and I never said the guy wasn’t a ****, I just said I THINK he has a big rep., but you are right, I do think there are more than a few who do not want their careers to be remembered this way and his hubris and ego is common among fire commanders.

  21. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** THE DEPLOYMENT SITE PHOTO SHOWING
    ** SAIT INVESTIGATORS, CREW EQUIPMENT,
    ** AND AT LEAST SIX GM RADIOS

    NOTE: This is a repeat of a previous post I made that turned out to be
    absurdly long. I tried to include the actual JPEG EXIF data from the
    photo itself and did not realize how ridiculously long that made the post.
    That original comment went to moderation ( thankfully! ) and I have
    asked Mr. Dougherty to delete the whole thing.

    THIS post only answers the questions Calvin asks and gives others an
    indication where to find all the radios ( and other things ) in the photo.

    On December 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm Calvin asked

    >> Question….. Does anyone have any thoughts on the latest deployment
    >> site picture that was released here at IM (InvestigativeMedia) with
    >> the last article?

    Funny you should ask. I was just about to release some ‘analysis’ of
    that photograph which is really quite extraordinary and kind of got
    ‘lost in the noise’ this week.

    The photo was taken by SAIT investigator(s) July 3, 2013 late in the
    evening ( 6:56 PM ).

    It is obviously from the SAIT FOIA/FOIL package, and there are probably
    many similar pictures.

    It is an ultra-high-res photo taken with a high-end Canon Digital Camera
    and there are tons of significant details revealed in just the one that
    was published. See below.

    >> Calvin also asked…
    >> Does anyone know for certain which direction the picture is facing?

    The Canon EOS REBEL T3i camera that was used to take this
    photo had an EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lems attached but
    the photo itself was actually taken at the 55 mm setting.

    The focus was set to DEEP field of view with Min: 5.6 m and Max: Infinity.

    That creates sort of a ‘distortion’ effect for objects in the distance which
    makes it a little hard to identify them.

    That being said… it’s safe to say this photo was taken looking across the
    deployment site from west to east… looking OUT of the canyon and
    pretty much in the direction where they must have seen the fire coming
    around the northern mound of that box canyon.

    The camera lens and settings are ‘distorting’ the near-ground out beyond
    the mouth of the canyon and making those ‘mid-range’ distance objects
    appear closer than they really are… but the key is the ‘hazy’ mountain
    range profile in the distance. That’s the configuration of the mountains
    on the OTHER (east) side of Yarnell and Highway 89, as seen from
    the box canyon.

    >> Calvin also asked…
    >> Does anyone know if the deployment site area was partially covered
    >> in grass or was it all sand before the burn?

    Satellite imagery from April 9, 2013 ( just 82 days before the tragedy )
    show it as MOSTLY sand… with perhaps a light dusting of dead
    bear grass… but nothing heavy.

    What follows now is just some ‘interesting things’ that this
    photograph shows…

    ** AT LEAST SEVEN PORTABLE RADIOS IN THE PHOTO

    There are at least SEVEN portable radios visible in this photo, counting the
    one that is attached to the rear belt of the SAIT investigator who is hunched
    over and examining one of the loose shelters along with the other
    (standing) investigator.

    I’m only including that one because it’s the same kind of Bendix/King
    with 16″ antenna extension that Steed was carrying, and this
    radio is needed to help identify another on in the photo.

    FIRST RADIO

    Look straight down from the red clamshell battery extension on
    the BK that the SAIT investigator has on his belt.

    You will see another ‘slightly burned’ Bendix/King with the same
    red clamshell attached.

    This BK is a little discolored… but perfectly intact… and if you zoom WAY
    down you can almost still read some writing on the back of it… so even though
    this was obviously a GM radio that went through the burnover, it really wasn’t
    damaged much at all.

    What’s curious is that THIS BK doesn’t have a 16″ antenna extension… so that
    couldn’t be Steeds. I believe Steed’s is on the ground over in the right-hand
    side of the photo.

    SECOND RADIO

    So on to that right-hand side of the photo…

    I believe Steeds Bendix/King that DOES have the 16″ antenna extension
    he put on it himself is clearly visible there on the ground in the
    right-hand-side-center of the photo. Again… look for the bright red
    BK clamshell battery extension that Steed was also known to have
    on his BK.

    THIRD RADIO

    There appears to be ANOTHER radio just to the left of Steed’s…
    but is does NOT appear to be Bendix/King.

    Looks more like a Motorola ‘hand-clutch’ type with that distinct
    curvature in the grip.

    FOURTH RADIO

    Just about in the center of that ‘Motorla hand-clutch’ radio lying
    on the ground… and almost touching it… is another Bendix/King.

    You are looking at the TOP of it and the antenna is bent.
    It appears to have a red clamshell extension but it also seems
    to have been blackened by the fire.

    FIFTH RADIO

    This radio is a little harder to see… but it’s there.

    Go back to the SAIT investigators on the left.
    If you zoom down next to the FOOT of the one that is standing,
    you will see that they are examining a ‘loose shelter’ in front
    of them that also has a partially melted helmet clearly visible.
    Just next to the visible back of one of the investigator’s hands
    that is near the ground is the top half of another partially scorched
    portable radio. It also looks like a Bendix/King, like the others,
    but the investigator’s foot would be obscuring the red clamshell,
    if it even had one. This one also does NOT have a 16″ antenna
    extension like Steed’s did. It only has the standard BK antenna.

    It might actually be that radio itself that is the focus of the SAIT
    investigators attention as this moment captured in the photo.
    They both appear to be ‘looking’ at it and one of them may
    actually be ‘reaching’ for it at that moment.

    SIXTH RADIO

    The SIXTH radio is almost impossible to see but it’s also there.

    Best way I can describe this with just words is as follows…

    Zoom down again to the right foot of the SAIT investigator that is
    standing next to the one that’s hunched over ( where you can
    see the SIXTH radio location described above ).

    Now let your eye move directly to the right away from his foot
    and to the other end of the ‘loose’ shetler they are examining.
    At the right side of that white shelter debris is a burned
    pick-axe. Move your eyes a little more right to the end of the
    handle of the burned pick-axe.

    Now look straight up from the end of burned handle.

    There is a burned Bendix/King with the top buttons facing you
    lying in the light-colored ‘sandy’ area. The antenna is a little
    bent and sticking out to the right from the top of radio.

    No Bendix/King standard red clamshell is visible on that one but
    it’s definitely the top-button style panel of a BK.

    ** SO GM HAD AT LEAST SEVEN PORTABLE
    ** RADIOS THAT DAY

    Counting the SIX handhelds that can be seen lying on the ground
    in the deployment site photo… plus the one that we know Brendan
    McDonough had all day and left his lookout position with…

    …that makes at least SEVEN portables radios used by GM that day,
    and at least SEVEN sets of ears that would have heard ALL of
    the ‘discussing their options’ conversation over the GM intra-crew
    frequency.

    ** THIS IS A HIGH-RES PHOTO

    This is a VERY high-res photo that John Dougherty posted ( even
    though it looks small in the article ) and if you want the entire original
    photo at its original (HUGE) size… just use your mouse, right click the
    photo in his article, and then pick ‘Save image as’. You will get a HUGE
    copy of the original photo and can easily see the things described above.

    ** MEMORANDUM BOOK

    The SAIT investigator that is hunched over has a notebook tucked
    under his right arm. If you zoom down it says this on the cover…

    MEMORANDUM BOOK
    Spiral Bound
    50 Sheets

    I wonder where that ‘notebook’ is now… and what information
    it has in it? Were copies of pages from that notebook anywhere
    to be found in the SAIT FOIA/FOIL release packages?

    ** THE MISSING iPHONE

    6 DAYS after this photo was taken is when the ‘Colored Case iPhone’
    was finally found at the deployment site.

    That was the one with the case that was ‘partially melted’ to the side of a
    backpack and later identified as belonging to Clayton Whitted… since he
    was the only one that had an iPhone with that kind of ‘colored case’.

    If the ‘coloration’ they are talking about happens to be ‘pink’… then I believe the
    published photo actually shows this ‘iPhone’ stuck to the side of a pack.

    Look just to the right of where the foot of the SAIT investigator who is standing
    meets the ground… right past what looks like another Bendix/King radio… and
    just past some of the white material… a distinct PINK OBJECT is sticking out
    of the material and it looks like it’s on the side of a backpack.

    This looks very much like an iPhone with a pink casing.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      CORRECTION: The YCSO police report only says it was 6
      days ( July 9 ) after they first escorted the SAIT team to the
      deployment site ( July 3 ) when THEY were finally told that
      the ‘Colored iPhone’ was found at the deployment site
      during a ‘final comb of the deployment site’.

      There is no actual indication WHEN the SAIT team did this
      ‘final comb through’ or what day that iPhone was actually
      found, or how long they waited before telling YCSO police
      about it.

        • Calvin says

          P8 YCSO 7/9…I was advised that another phone
          was located at the scene during a final comb through by the fire department and
          that phone had been melted to a backpack. There was apparently some coloration
          left on the phone and the information I received was the only firefighter that
          had a phone of that color was Clayton Whitted. I picked up the phone from PFD

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Reply to Calvin post on Dec 22, 2013 at 12:43 pm

          >> Calvin said…
          >> The PFD did the final comb through.

          Yes. That is what appears to be documented.
          What is interesting to note is that all through
          the ‘comb-overs’ of the site… no one was
          removing any BACKPACKS.

          It was only when both YCSO and SAIT said
          they were ‘done’ that PFD was allowed to
          do the ‘final pass’ at the site and remove
          what was left such as all the backpacks,
          melted tools, whatever was still there.

          What happened then is that as they tried to
          remove Whitted’s backpack… only then did
          they find the ‘Colorized iPhone’ that was
          stuck to the backpack.

          This means that NONE of the backpacks were
          actually ‘searched’ on-site by either YCSO or
          the SAIT investigators… and NONE of the
          backpacks ( and their contents ) were ever
          entered in evidence by YCSO. Only the iPhone.

          I am assuming that the contents of the backpacks
          were returned to family members…

          …but what about ‘unit logs’?

          If Marsh/Steed were keeping unit logs that day
          ( we are still not sure about that but it would
          appear they were supposed to since Willis did )
          and those unit logs were not found in their
          shirt or pants pockets… could they have been
          ‘stowed for the hike’ in their backpacks?

          Still a two-step process here…

          1) Were either Marsh OR Steed ( or both )
          actually keeping ‘unit logs’ that day?

          2) IAOI ( If And Only If ) they were… then where
          are those ‘unit logs’ now?

          First they have to exist… then they have to be
          FOUND before we discover if they were in the
          habit of doing real-time updates like their
          boss Willis is proven to have been doing that day,
          or whether they just practiced the ‘lazy later’
          mode of updating their unit logs.

    • Marti Reed says

      You don’t know me from a hole in the wall, but I’ve been following these threads closely for various reasons (including I went to Prescott College and I photograph climate change stuff in Albuquerque). I’m a semi-professional photographer who uses a Canon T3i, and, before I moved into Rebel DSLRs, used higher-end Canon Powershots.. If you start w/the radio they’re looking at and follow straight right to the end of the shelter, I would bet big money you will see the Canon Powershot.

  22. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** TIME/DATE CONTEXT for the Deployment Site
    ** photo showing SAIT investigators, all the radios,
    ** and ( possibly ) the iPhone that was missed.

    YCSO Detectives McDormett and Waldock met SAIT investigative team,
    headed by Brad Mayhew on July 3, 2013, at the YHF IC command post
    in Peeples Valley at 1615 ( 4:15 PM ) .

    They escorted the SAIT team to the deployment site, which was being
    guarded by YCSO officers.

    The SAIT team took photographs ( including the one posted by Mr. Dougherty )
    at this time and then started their examination of the scene.

    The photo published has an internal JPEG EXIF creation timestamp of…

    Create Date: 2013:07:03 18:56:15.26

    That would be 6:56 PM on July 3, 2013, probably about two hours after the
    SAIT team arrived at the deployment site.

    So this photo represents the FIRST time the SAIT investigators were actually
    ‘on site’… and shortly after this photo was taken is when Brad asked the YCSO
    detectives if they would ‘collect the remaining shelters and radios’… which
    they did… and all of these things were entered into evidence back at YCSO
    with evidence numbers 301-319 along with (quote) “other personal items
    collected that day, July 3, numbered 401-407.”

    I wonder if ‘other personal items’ included the MacKenzie camera… and this is
    when it really did enter into evidence… or whether they still didn’t see that
    camera that day?

    6 DAYS after this is when the ‘Colored iPhone’ was finally found.

    That was the one with the case that was ‘partially melted’ to the side of a
    backpack and later identified as belonging to Clayton Whitted… since he
    was the only one that had an iPhone with that kind of ‘colored case’.

    If the ‘coloration’ they are talking about happens to be ‘pink’… then I believe the
    published photo actually shows this ‘iPhone’ stuck to the side of a pack.

    Look just to the right of where the foot of the SAIT investigator who is standing
    meets the ground… right past what looks like another Bendix/King radio… and
    just past some of the white material… a distinct PINK OBJECT is sticking out
    of the material and it looks like it’s on the side of a backpack.

    This looks very much like an iPhone with a pink casing.

    Here is the exact text from McDormett’s YCSO Police report that covers
    the same exact time this photo was taken…

    On 7/3/13 I spoke to Jerry Payne (602-771-1416) who is a deputy state forester
    with the Arizona State Forestry Division. Jerry advised that the state
    investigation would be conducted by members of the state forestry divisions from
    other states. He said the lead investigator would be a Brad Mayhew
    (831-247-2811) and that Brad would contact me. I received a call from Brad and
    he requested we meet at the Incident Command Center, which is located in Peeples
    Valley. Brad wanted me to escort him to the scene. ET Waldock and I met the team
    at 1615 hours. We went to the incident location, which was guarded by YCSO. The
    investigative team took photographs and started their examination of the scene.
    They were given a disk of the photos that YCSO had taken as well as a copy of
    the FARO that was conducted on 7/1/13. Waldock also showed them the FARO results
    on a laptop.

    We were waiting for the state investigative team to give us the OK to collect
    any remaining personal items when Brad asked me if we could collect the
    remaining shelters and radios so they could inspect these items in a controlled
    environment. I agreed as they did not have packaging materials, a feasible way
    to transport or store the items, or a means to properly inventory the items. It
    should be noted that the winds were very fierce at this time and created a
    sandstorm affect that made it difficult to operate. Dep. Brian Kite, Waldock,
    and I collected the remaining shelters and portable radios that we located at
    the scene. These items are numbered #301-#319. Photos were taken from a
    perspective that would hopefully show where these items were in conjunction with
    where the individual remains had been. We then went back and collected the
    remaining personal items that we could locate (#401-407). It was my
    understanding that the fire department or designee would be collecting the
    remaining items, including indistinguishable back packs, water bottles, axes,
    remnants of chainsaws, etc. Photos were taken throughout the process. Refer to
    photos and evidence submittal forms for further details. I contacted Lt. Boelts
    and requested that YCSO guard the entrance to the incident location until all
    items are removed from the scene. I was advised that this was going to be the
    case.

    ( 6 DAYS later the other iPhone is found )…

    On 07/09/13 I received the cellebrite information for item 326 (MacKenzie
    phone). I made a copy of the information for YCSO as a backup and gave Randy
    Okron with the state investigators team a copy. I was advised that another phone
    was located at the scene during a final comb through by the fire department and
    that phone had been melted to a backpack. There was apparently some coloration
    left on the phone and the information I received was the only firefighter that
    had a phone of that color was Clayton Whitted. I picked up the phone from PFD
    the next day (7/10/13) and I assigned it number #324. The phone was an I Phone.
    It should be noted that in the packaging for this phone were a number of nails
    and eyelets that appeared to come from a boot or boots. I separated these from
    the phone, placed them in their own package, and assigned these items number
    325. I articulated in the evidence sheet that items 324 and 325 had been
    packaged together.

    YCSO Detective J. McDormett

  23. Robert the Second says

    WTKTT,

    “Maybe Willis really does believe the words that come out of his mouth. Maybe he has to.”

    Yes, I agree on both of those statements. In the media, public forum he was in, he kind of HAD TO defend the actions of his men. At least that”s what I’ve been told by others. That’s a tough one. I don’t necessarily agree with that. That really would be tough having to defend the fatal, foolhardy, illogical, against-all-training-and-conventional-wisdom actions of your men.

    I think you have to somewhat admit that Willis was between the proverbial ‘rock and a hard spot.’ Ask yourself, what would you have said, in a public forum, to the world, about a couple of your leaders that are responsible for leading their Crew to their ultimate deaths? Think about it.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Agreed. If there actually WAS a conversation via either cell
      or intra-crew frequency between Marsh and Willis just before
      or during this infamous ‘discussing their options’ conversation…

      …I’m pretty convinced it was just Willis making one of his
      famous ‘suggestions’… and there was absolutely no discussion
      of HOW they might get back to town.

      Willis would, in fact, have simply just considered that minor
      detail to be ‘their job’.

      On that day… and at that TIME of day… with the fire blowing up
      like a bomb… there most CERTAINLY should have been
      detailed conversations between fire command and resources
      in the field about EXACT routes that anyone was going to take
      to do anything they might be being asked to do… but there’s
      the rub. That’s just one more thing that SHOULD have happened
      that day that simply didn’t.

      If Willis ‘intervened’ at all… it was just ‘Can you get here?’.
      HOW they were going to do that was up to them.

      So THAT is what lets Willis sleep at night.

      The choices they actually made that led to their death are
      totally on THEM, in his mind, since even if he was ‘Mr.
      motivator’ circa 4:00 PM… he still didn’t bother to discuss
      their exact route with them. That was THEIR job.

      Very sad.

      • xxfullsailxx says

        yes, you’re right, someone, either ops able or ops musser or willis, should have gone up and took them by the hand and walked them off the hill… all those poor little lambs, lost on a hill in Yarnell. so so very sad.

        you’re just on a witch hunt.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      RTS ( and Calvin )…

      Did you see the ‘Notebook’ that the SAIT investigator has?

      The SAIT investigator that is hunched over has a notebook tucked
      under his right arm. If you zoom down it says this on the cover…

      MEMORANDUM BOOK
      Spiral Bound
      50 Sheets

      I wonder where that ‘notebook’ is now… and what information
      it has in it? Were copies of pages from that notebook anywhere
      to be found in the SAIT FOIA/FOIL release packages?

  24. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** THE DEPLOYMENT SITE PHOTO SHOWING
    ** SAIT INVESTIGATORS, CREW EQUIPMENT,
    ** AND AT LEAST SIX GM RADIOS

    On December 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm Calvin asked

    >> Question….. Does anyone have any thoughts on the latest deployment
    >> site picture that was released here at IM (InvestigativeMedia) with
    >> the last article?

    Funny you should ask. I was just about to release some ‘analysis’ of
    that photograph which is really quite extraordinary and kind of got
    ‘lost in the noise’ this week.

    The photo was taken by SAIT investigator(s) July 3, 2013 late in the
    evening ( 6:56 PM ).

    It is obviously from the SAIT FOIA/FOIL package, and there are probably
    many similar pictures.

    It is an ultra-high-res photo taken with a high-end Canon Digital Camera
    and there are tons of significant details revealed in just the one that
    was published. See below.

    >> Calvin also asked…
    >> Does anyone know for certain which direction the picture is facing?

    The Canon EOS REBEL T3i camera that was used to take this
    photo had an EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lems attached but
    the photo itself was actually taken at the 55 mm setting.

    The focus was set to DEEP field of view with Min: 5.6 m and Max: Infinity.

    That creates sort of a ‘distortion’ effect for objects in the distance which
    makes it a little hard to identify them.

    That being said… it’s safe to say this photo was taken looking across the
    deployment site from west to east… looking OUT of the canyon and
    pretty much in the direction where they must have seen the fire coming
    around the northern mound of that box canyon.

    The camera lens and settings are ‘distorting’ the near-ground out beyond
    the mouth of the canyon and making those ‘mid-range’ distance objects
    appear closer than they really are… but the key is the ‘hazy’ mountain
    range profile in the distance. That’s the configuration of the mountains
    on the OTHER (east) side of Yarnell and Highway 89, as seen from
    the box canyon.

    >> Calvin also asked…
    >> Does anyone know if the deployment site area was partially covered
    >> in grass or was it all sand before the burn?

    Satellite imagery from April 9, 2013 ( just 82 days before the tragedy )
    show it as MOSTLY sand… with perhaps a light dusting of dead
    bear grass… but nothing heavy.

    What follows now is just some ‘interesting things’ that this
    photograph shows…

    ** AT LEAST SEVEN PORTABLE RADIOS IN THE PHOTO

    There are at least SEVEN portable radios visible in this photo, counting the
    one that is attached to the rear belt of the SAIT investigator who is hunched
    over and examining one of the loose shelters along with the other
    (standing) investigator.

    I’m only including that one because it’s the same kind of Bendix/King
    with 16″ antenna extension that Steed was carrying, and this
    radio is needed to help identify another on in the photo.

    FIRST RADIO

    Look straight down from the red clamshell battery extension on
    the BK that the SAIT investigator has on his belt.

    You will see another ‘slightly burned’ Bendix/King with the same
    red clamshell attached.

    This BK is a little discolored… but perfectly intact… and if you zoom WAY
    down you can almost still read some writing on the back of it… so even though
    this was obviously a GM radio that went through the burnover, it really wasn’t
    damaged much at all.

    What’s curious is that THIS BK doesn’t have a 16″ antenna extension… so that
    couldn’t be Steeds. I believe Steed’s is on the ground over in the right-hand
    side of the photo.

    SECOND RADIO

    So on to that right-hand side of the photo…

    I believe Steeds Bendix/King that DOES have the 16″ antenna extension
    he put on it himself is clearly visible there on the ground in the
    right-hand-side-center of the photo. Again… look for the bright red
    BK clamshell battery extension that Steed was also known to have
    on his BK.

    THIRD RADIO

    There appears to be ANOTHER radio just to the left of Steed’s…
    but is does NOT appear to be Bendix/King.

    Looks more like a Motorola ‘hand-clutch’ type with that distinct
    curvature in the grip.

    FOURTH RADIO

    Just about in the center of that ‘Motorla hand-clutch’ radio lying
    on the ground… and almost touching it… is another Bendix/King.

    You are looking at the TOP of it and the antenna is bent.
    It appears to have a red clamshell extension but it also seems
    to have been blackened by the fire.

    FIFTH RADIO

    This radio is a little harder to see… but it’s there.

    Go back to the SAIT investigators on the left.
    If you zoom down next to the FOOT of the one that is standing,
    you will see that they are examining a ‘loose shelter’ in front
    of them that also has a partially melted helmet clearly visible.
    Just next to the visible back of one of the investigator’s hands
    that is near the ground is the top half of another partially scorched
    portable radio. It also looks like a Bendix/King, like the others,
    but the investigator’s foot would be obscuring the red clamshell,
    if it even had one. This one also does NOT have a 16″ antenna
    extension like Steed’s did. It only has the standard BK antenna.

    It might actually be that radio itself that is the focus of the SAIT
    investigators attention as this moment captured in the photo.
    They both appear to be ‘looking’ at it and one of them may
    actually be ‘reaching’ for it at that moment.

    SIXTH RADIO

    The SIXTH radio is almost impossible to see but it’s also there.

    Best way I can describe this with just words is as follows…

    Zoom down again to the right foot of the SAIT investigator that is
    standing next to the one that’s hunched over ( where you can
    see the SIXTH radio location described above ).

    Now let your eye move directly to the right away from his foot
    and to the other end of the ‘loose’ shetler they are examining.
    At the right side of that white shelter debris is a burned
    pick-axe. Move your eyes a little more right to the end of the
    handle of the burned pick-axe.

    Now look straight up from the end of burned handle.

    There is a burned Bendix/King with the top buttons facing you
    lying in the light-colored ‘sandy’ area. The antenna is a little
    bent and sticking out to the right from the top of radio.

    No Bendix/King standard red clamshell is visible on that one but
    it’s definitely the top-button style panel of a BK.

    ** SO GM HAD AT LEAST SEVEN PORTABLE
    ** RADIOS THAT DAY

    Counting the SIX handhelds that can be seen lying on the ground
    in the deployment site photo… plus the one that we know Brendan
    McDonough had all day and left his lookout position with…

    …that makes at least SEVEN portables radios used by GM that day,
    and at least SEVEN sets of ears that would have heard ALL of
    the ‘discussing their options’ conversation over the GM intra-crew
    frequency.

    ** THIS IS A HIGH-RES PHOTO

    This is a VERY high-res photo that John Dougherty posted ( even
    though it looks small in the article ) and if you want the entire original
    photo at its original (HUGE) size… just use your mouse, right click the
    photo in his article, and then pick ‘Save image as’. You will get a HUGE
    copy of the original photo and can easily see the things described above.

    ** MEMORANDUM BOOK

    The SAIT investigator that is hunched over has a notebook tucked
    under his right arm. If you zoom down it says this on the cover…

    MEMORANDUM BOOK
    Spiral Bound
    50 Sheets

    I wonder where that ‘notebook’ is now… and what information
    it has in it? Were copies of pages from that notebook anywhere
    to be found in the SAIT FOIA/FOIL release packages?

    ** OTHER THINGS?

    I think I see a few other ‘significant’ things in this photo but I’m going to
    need to ‘enhance’ even this high-res photo to be sure about that so
    stay tuned on those.

    ** MORE THAN YOU (PROBABLY) WANTED TO KNOW

    Just for the sake of completeness… Mr. Dougherty was smart enough to
    not ‘edit’ this photo so the copy on his article still has all the original
    JPEG metadata embedded in it.

    So here is that ‘more than you probably wanted to know’ metadata
    for future reference, and in case that photo ‘goes away’ online.

    NOTE: This was a high-end Canon… but it did NOT have GPS location
    embedded in the photograph. The high-end Canons all have that
    capability but it has to be turned ON to get lat/long metadata.

    From InvestigativeMedia Article…
    http://www.investigativemedia.com/twelve-granite-mountain-hotshot-families-file-wrongful-death-claims-seeking-237-5-million/

    Photo location…
    http://www.investigativemedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Yarnell-03-July-042-copy.jpg

    The photo was taken July 3, 2013 late in the evening ( 6:56 PM ).

    The focus setting was SUPER depth of field from 5.27 to Infinity
    so that’s creating a certain amount of ‘distortion’ with regards
    to how close things in the distance actually appear.

    The ‘short story’… from the JPEG metadata…

    Focus Distance Upper: inf
    Focus Distance Lower: 5.27 m

    Create Date: 2013:07:03 18:56:15.26
    5 months, 17 days, 21 hours, 4 minutes, 46 seconds ago

    Camera: Canon EOS REBEL T3i
    Lens: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II ( Photo shot at 55 mm ).
    Exposure: Auto exposure, Not Defined, 1/99 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800

    COMPLETE METADATA EMBEDDED IN THIS PHOTO

    File — basic information derived from the file.

    File Type JPEG

    MIME Type image/jpeg
    Exif Byte Order Big-endian (Motorola, MM)
    Encoding Process Baseline DCT, Huffman coding
    Bits Per Sample 8
    Color Components 3
    File Size 8.2 MB
    Image Size 5,184 × 3,456
    Y Cb Cr Sub Sampling YCbCr4:2:2 (2 1)
    Aperture 5.60
    Drive Mode Continuous Shooting
    File Number 100-2402
    ISO 800
    Lens 18.0 – 55.0 mm
    Scale Factor To 35 mm Equivalent 1.6
    Shooting Mode Depth-of-field AE
    Shutter Speed 1/100
    Create Date 2013:07:03 18:56:15.26
    5 months, 17 days, 21 hours, 4 minutes, 46 seconds ago
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    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      NOTE to Mr. Dougherty…

      Please delete the entire comment above.
      It is ridiculously verbose and not necessary.

      I will re-edit it and re-submit it with just the information
      on where the radios are in the photo.

      Thanks…. WTKTT

  25. Robert the Second says

    Willis said this about Marsh with my EMPHASIS:

    ““He was WELL TRAINED, with 23 years of experience, and he had EVERY CLASS, BEYOND WHAT WAS REQUIRED, TO LEAD this group of individuals. He never faltered. I HAVE COMPLETE CONFIDENCE THAT HE KNEW EXACTLY WHAT WAS GOING ON SUNDAY EVENING [June 30th] AND THE BEST COURSE OF ACTION. That should NEVER be questioned,” Willis said. “He led (the crew) and they all agreed, THE LEADERSHIP WAS UNBELIEVABLE.”

    It appears that we have a Boss with complete confidence in a well-trained leader who knew exactly what was going on June 30th AND the best course of action. And this should NEVER be questionned because their leadership was UNBELIEVABLE.

    So, if I read this right, why are we delving into all this when the answer is clearly articulated right here? Aren’t we just wasting our time? But wait a minute. Lessons Learned? We don’t need to learn any more lessons, do we? That’s right, they did everything right but 19 firefighters died? Isn’t that what they call a non-sequitor, meaning it doesn’t follow?

    Bendix King Radios
    If anyone is interested. In the July 3rd photo of the 2 investigators, in the latest Lawsuit article above, I clearly identified at least six (6) and possibly a seventh B/K radio in the photo. And almost all of them appeared to be in pretty good shape considering the intense heat they withstood.

    • Calvin says

      RTS… Do you see the blue Nalgene on the far right about 1/2 way up? It is hard to believe that the loop that holds the lid on the bottle hasn’t melted. AMAZING

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        This photo contains nothing but pure visual proof that
        pretty much ALL smart/cell phones that might have
        also been with this men must have all ‘survived’
        enough for good data extraction.

        Maybe some battery leads melted… but that is no big deal.

        ACTIC extraction results.
        Where are they?

        • Calvin says

          This picture really doesn’t support the Moonscape appearance described by many after the fire. The pink flagging/tape/ribbon is actually being held up by existing tree/shrub trunks. WOW. The Blue Nalgene on the right side of screen (possibly Ashcraft”s) is very much intact, even the ring and loop that hold the lid in place. Actually, there are several Nalgene bottles visible.
          There also appears to be numerous fuel containers without the lids. Thoughts on that?

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            If you also look closely at the tops of some
            of the rock piles… you will clearly see
            ‘unburned vegetation’. This would match
            Tex Gilligan’s statement that some of the
            deer right in that area survived the same
            fire storm there by climbing the rocks.

            As for the fuel containers… I can only
            imagine that when it was ‘do or die’
            burnout-around-us time… that a lot
            of the extra fuel was used and those
            were empty containers that the men
            dropped next to them. I certainly hope
            they didn’t lay down with still-full
            containers and when the liquid boiled
            it blew the tops off.

            • Calvin says

              The two fuel cans stacked on top of each other in the front left corner appear that they were still partially inside pack? I see the unburned area. I also see the old Jeep trail that connected Sesame and Boulder Springs, Right?

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      RTS… two minds of a single purpose.

      I just posted a LONG post below about all the radios in
      the photo and looks like you found all the ones that I did,
      including the one by itself off in the sand.

      See post below, however. I think I am seeing one non-BK
      over next to Steed’s BK with the red clamshell and the
      16″ antenna extension. Looks like one of the Motorola
      ‘hand-clutch’ things.

      So counting the portable we KNOW Brendan had with him…
      and the known fact that Willis was ‘monitoring’ that inra-crew
      channel… that leaves at least EIGHT sets of ears that must
      have heard all of the infamous ‘discussing their options’
      conversation.

      The crew knew what was up.
      They knew why they were ‘moving’…

      …but only TWO of those EIGHT sets of ears are alive to tell us
      what everyone heard/knew before they left the safe black.

      Willis and McDonough.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to RTS post on December 21, 2013 at 8:39 pm

      >> RTS said…
      >> We don’t need to learn any more lessons, do we?

      Maybe Willis really does believe the words that come out
      of his mouth. Maybe he has to.

      Maybe if he finally gets on a witness stand we will hear…

      “Yes… I told them to get to Yarnell ASAP.”
      “I figured they knew how to do that safely. That was their job.”

      So he sleeps at night knowing that he never told anyone to
      walk head-long into a wall of flames in broad daylight…
      and that it wasn’t a ‘mistake’… it was an ‘accident’.

      Mental gymnastics on his part.

  26. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** DARRELL WILLIS WAS ‘GROOMING’ ERIC MARSH
    ** TO BE HIS REPLACEMENT

    Just another piece of ‘evidence’ in the mystery of how ‘close’ Eric Marsh
    and Darrell Willis really were… even with the supposed ‘faking’ of a
    certification and Marsh’s battle to get permanent employee benefits
    for Andrew Ashcraft ( which was causing Marsh to lose sleep, according
    to his wife, Amanda ).

    There was another public interview just days after the fire when
    Willis was describing what HE thought their ‘relationship’ was.

    Willis said he was…
    “…grooming Marsh to take over his position in the near future.”

    So does anyone think that regardless of who had letters in front of their
    names on June 30, 2013 in Yarnell… that when Willis (perhaps) called
    Eric and made ‘suggestions’ of the ‘jump’ nature… that Marsh would
    have found it VERY difficult to not ask ‘how high’?

    Also… FWIW… note in Willis’ comments below his tendency to CLOSE
    his public remarks with almost ‘preacher like’ blurbs.

    At his public press conference at the deployment site his closing remark was…
    “I just think God had a different plan for these men that day”.

    In this public interview his closing remark is of the
    “Peace that passeth all understanding” variety.

    That’s really kind of odd.
    Did Willis ever aspire to be a ‘preacher’, or something?

    Full text of Willis’ comments about Marsh just days after the tragedy…
    http://cvrnews.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubsectionID=1&ArticleID=57322

    Willis said he lost 19 sons when the Hotshots died Sunday, and Eric Marsh, at 43, was the oldest one. He said he was grooming Marsh to take over his position in the near future.

    “Our relationship went way beyond worker and and co-worker. It was friend,” he said.

    Willis described Marsh as a tough leader but a considerate, kind and loyal man, in whom he had every confidence as the hotshot superintendent.

    “He was well trained, with 23 years of experience, and he had every class, beyond what was required, to lead this group of individuals. He never faltered. I have complete confidence that he knew exactly what was going on Sunday evening and the best course of action. That should never be questioned,” Willis said. “He led (the crew) and they all agreed, the leadership there was unbelievable.”

    Willis added, “My hope is that Amanda and the family, and Eric’s family, gets the peace that passes all understanding in this situation. I am so thankful for Eric.”

    • xxfullsailxx says

      why does any of this surprise you?

      marsh and willis worked together for quite a number of years… they built that crew together, they work (ed) for a small-ish FD in a tight knit community and were both very proud of their baby, GMIHC. AND they obviously seem to share some sort of religious beliefs.

      technically speaking, marsh was working for either OSC Able or OSC Musser on the fire. if marsh had said to either one of them “we’re not comfortable crossing the green, we can’t help you” they both would have understood because they’ve both been around long enough to understand that situation. AND they would have defended marsh’s decision, NO MATTER HOW MANY HOMES BURNED DOWN. marsh and steed both knew that it was within their power, to refuse the assignment.

      i do believe that GMIHC had some sort of mandate, SOP, or “order” that they were the structure protection gurus and as soon as someone said homes were imminently threatened, they tried to run in between… i bet that mindset, however ingrained, was further solidified after Doce Fire.

      maybe chief willis “ordered” (in whatever capacity) the crew off the hill via cell phone. Maybe marsh and willis had some sort of telepathic connection… whatever. their SOP’s at Prescott FD are just that, THEIR SOP’s. and just like no federal IHC crew could get away with bible studies at work, no federal crews have SOP’s to defend structures at all costs or do whatever your Division Chief asks of you.

      hopefully any other municipal Type 2IA crews striving for IHC status will take note…

      have you looked in to the FS Foundational Doctrine? it has some good guidance, but only if manager’s and overhead buy into it and it certainly doesn’t cover any other agencies.

      “21. Employees are expected and empowered to make reasonable and prudent decisions to accomplish the agency mission while minimizing exposure to hazards.”

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to xxfullsailxx post on Dec 21, 2013 at 9:52 pm

        All good points and theories.

        Nice to see you getting the hang of ‘leaping’ in this
        discussion… instead of just criticizing the method.

        Some of the ‘leaps’ made here since this discussion
        began have now turned out to be absolutely true, and
        I think that’s going to continue.

        • xxfullsailxx says

          oh no, please don’t mis-understand, i am criticizing. it’s just that you only hear what is convenient to your current tail chasing.

  27. Bob Powers says

    I wanted to go back to what I said yesterday. Marsh and Able had several discussions on the cell phone. And yet Marsh did not call his OPS to discuss or notify him of the decision to move and where. Sounds strange to me, if radio traffic was to busy why would he not have used the phone. Who else was talking to him on the phone, why wasn’t this question asked or followed up on? There are some very loose threads here as an investigator I would have checked on, did any of the 60 investigators make note’s of this at all?

    • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

      ?? I just re-reviewed some of the interview notes for something else, and noticed where Able stated his last phone call with Marsh was the one in the morning, when Marsh was relaying about the heated discussion with Zulu regarding the break. Able said he thought all comms after that were by radio.

      Sometimes, I have trouble remembering all of the info from the various sources seen , so is there something I’m forgetting about other sources that have related multiple phone calls between those two?

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        There is no direct evidence ( so far ) of the ‘other’ phone
        calls from Marsh that Abel is obviously referring to.
        I believe one of them was at either 11:36 or 11:45 AM
        right after Rory Collins purposely dumped retardant
        on GM’s indirect attack and forced Marsh to change
        tactics. I believe that phone call is when Abel actually
        made Marsh DIVS A and also gave him Blue Ridge.
        A minute after that… Marsh is radioing Brian Frisby
        and ‘suggesting’ he schlep all the way up to the
        ridge ( with Trueheart ) for a ‘planning meeting’.

        Were there even MORE cell calls from Marsh to
        Abel? We don’t know.

        All we really know is that Abel is admitting there were
        multiple cell calls from Marsh… and that the LAST one
        was the one that settled the DIVS Z argument and
        assigned the division line to the old-grader location.

        Finding/location/examining whatever cell phone Marsh
        was using that day would obviously answer a lot of
        these questions.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Bob Powers post on December 21, 2013 at 3:47 pm

      The SAIR consolidated this mystery into one simple conclusion…
      “Marsh believed he had already communicated his intent to move”.

      The ADOSH investigators didn’t offer an ‘explanation’ at all…
      but this crucial item was actually one of the ‘faults’ they found
      with GM and part of the fine structure.

      I think the lawyers for the defendants in the suits that have
      been filed are going to go far beyond anything the SAIT
      or ADOSH people did in solving this mystery.

      The only reasonable explanation is that Marsh/Steed did not
      WANT fire command to know exactly what they were doing,
      or why. The reason for that ‘skulk mode’ decision is somewhere
      in the same reason things changed from ‘we are committed
      to the black’ to ‘we are moving south’ in less than 5 minutes.

      Much more to come on this.

  28. Calvin says

    P89 SAIR says…..The estimated fire rate of spread near the deployment site was about 11 miles-per-hour. At this rate, the fire front would have travelled 100 yards in about 19 seconds. It takes a well-trained firefighter approximately 15 to 25 seconds to deploy a fire shelter from pulling the shelter PVC bag tear strip to fully deployed.
    We know the video with the final radio transmissions has been manipulated (part missing after “we are in front of flaming front” approximately 25sec mark).
    However, the “in front of the flaming font ” comment was made at ~16 seconds. Marsh reports preparing deployment site and getting ready to get in shelters at
    ~2:16 . That is full 120seconds. That would mean they actually saw the fire when it was 600 yards away, based on the SAIR and the reported 11mph travel rate.
    I hope someone releases more of the video. I saw a brief clip on CNN last weekend (Saturday or Sunday early morning) that was different than the video by Wildfire Today. It was taken from a different location. Has anyone else saw that?

    Question….. Does anyone have any thoughts on the latest deployment site picture that was released here at IM with the last article? Does anyone know for certain which direction the picture is facing? Does anyone know if the deployment site area was partially covered in grass or was it all sand before the burn?

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Calvin post on December 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      The distance from the center of the deployment site to
      the very outer perimeter of the Boulder Springs Ranch was…

      1900.58 feet
      633.52 yards

      Not only are you correct about how far away the fire had to
      have been when they first saw it ( according to SAIR ROS
      numbers )… they would have simply been watching the
      Boulder Springs Ranch itself burn to the ground at that
      moment.

      BTW: At that same moment… the distance BEHIND them…
      straight through the series of clearings that ‘lined up’ due
      west of the deployment site and back up to the two-track
      road was exactly…

      1315.56 feet
      438.52 yards

      More about your other questions coming…

      • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

        Clarification….. the Boulder Springs Ranch survived intact, entirely due to their previous defensible space efforts.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Roger that… but what I really meant above was
          that from 600 yards away… it simply would have
          APPEARED to be ‘burning down’ from the
          perspective of the GM crew. They would not have
          been able to distinguish a ‘burn around’ from a
          ‘burn over’ in progress at that distance and at
          that time.

          This is all moot. It didn’t happen.

          Calvin was just pointing out how absurd the
          original SAIR ROS numbers were at that
          exact moment in time. Not possible.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Calvin post on December 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      Calvin… see a longer post below that answers your questions
      about the photo John Dougherty published with his article.

      The SHORT story is…

      The Canon EOS REBEL T3i camera that was used to take this
      photo had an EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lems attached but
      the photo itself was actually taken at the 55 mm setting.
      The focus was DEEP coverage and creates some distortion
      for mid-range landscape features but this was definitely
      just shot looking across the site back towards Yarnell and
      about in the direction where they must have seen the fire
      coming around the northern side of the canyon that day.

      Also… there are SEVEN PORTABLE RADIOS in this picture,
      and clear picture of an evidence notebook that one of the
      SAIT investigators is carrying.

      For the LONG STORY… See new post down below.

  29. The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

    I’d like to add a bit of context, certainly NOT in defense of anyone, regarding the previously mentioned deference and respect that would be accorded Willis and Sciacca. It is well known that Sciacca has held every operational position from beginner hotshot, all the up to Type I Team IC, and Willis has been an Operations Section Chief on a Type II Team for several years, as well.

    I bring this up, just to illuminate the fact that, when Willis showed up at the fire just before midnight and was assigned as a Structure Protection Specialist (equal to div sup), as an OSC on the CWZ Type 2 team, he either theoretically, or factually, was the most experienced operations person on the Yarnell fire until Able showed up at around 0600. I think that would cause any type IV or III IC to show deference to that level of experience, and under those circumstances, I would not think it unusual for Darrell to being advice that would be followed.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Of course. That’s just another part of the conundrum that is the
      entire YHF. I’ve read the notes and the reports over and over now.
      I’ve gone back and looked at the published incident logs and
      the resource ordering, and compared them to the described
      activities ( in the reports and notes ) of Shumate and Willis.

      When Willis showed up at 11:30 PM June 29, 2013… he became
      ‘Co-Incident Commander’ with Shumate. I don’t care what the
      ‘official status’ ( Type 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6… ) was at that moment
      in time… or who as an SPG or an OPS or a DIV or a FBAN
      or any other alphabet soup… these 2 guys stayed up all night
      ordering resources the for the next daytime work cycle.

      It also appears ( and is documented ) that Darrell Willis did
      a prety damn good job of assessing the structures in the
      Model Creek and Peeples Valleys area. He was driving all
      over that area in the fricking pitch-dark, making unit log
      notes, consulting with Shumate, and a lot of other things.

      So it’s not like he ( Willis ) just showed up, went on the
      clock, and then just put his feet up somewhere drinking
      coffee. His activities overnight are pretty well documented
      and the guy was obviously doing a lot of ‘prep’ work for
      the coming day.

      That doesn’t mean there aren’t ‘mysteries’… however.

      Example: His unit log notes show that his professional
      evaluation of the Double Bar A Ranch was ‘negative’.
      Not worth saving or spending time on. Too much tall
      brush, too close to the structures. Yet… around
      10 AM next morning… enormous resources ( 30+ men )
      are being assigned to ‘save the ranch’. That’s a mystery.
      The Double Bar A Ranch exchanged hands in a documented
      real estate transaction in 2009 for about 1.5 million… but
      it was a ‘brokered’ deal and I have been unable to find out
      who the ‘buyer’ was.

      When Granite Mountain was ‘ordered up’ and they were
      originally listed as ‘not available’… and that resource
      request was ‘kicked back’ to the State people… it is still
      unclear who called who on the telephone.

      Brendan McDonough was sitting in a bar in Prescott with
      two other GM Hotshots at around 9:00 PM on Saturday
      night and they were already discussing the ’emails’ they
      had already received and what the job was down in Yarnell.

      That means Willis was still in Prescott when this ‘back
      channel resource order’ for GM came through.

      So how did that really go down?

      Did Shumate just call Willis and at the same time he told
      him he was hired for Yarnell ask Willis to call Eric Marsh
      and get GM down there as well… and did Willis then
      call Marsh circa 8:30 PM and ‘suggest’ he get that
      dog-tired crew down to Yarnell?

      Still a BIG mystery that neither SAIT or ADOSH thought
      it was relevant to look into.

      I think the lawyers for the defendants in the recently filed suits
      are going to have a different opinion about the ‘relevance’
      of those events on Saturday night.

  30. Calvin says

    Mr Powers, RTS said….Even a Type 2 ‘Short Team’ is still a Type 2 IMT, so pretty sure they’re NOT interchangeable. I know Joki used to be a Type 2 IC.
    He posted this last night in a response to a question from me. So I believe he is saying, Hall and Joki are not qualified Type 2 fire commanders, Right?

    • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

      The way SWCC had them listed this year, it looked like they could respond either as a Type III Team, a Type II Short Team, or a Type II Long Team. It stands to reason, if they were all Type II qualified, any or all of them could have filled-out a Type III Team if called upon.

    • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

      The way SWCC had them listed this year, it looked like they could respond either as a Type III Team, a Type II Short Team, and if I remember correctly, for a while earlier in the year, a Type II Long Team. It stands to reason, if they were all Type II qualified (short or long), any, or all of them, could have filled-out a Type III Team if called upon.

  31. Bob Powers says

    The State Dispatch assigned them to the Fire. They are the ones who have a list of qualifications and certifications. Were they qualified? I do not remember if the 2 Investigations listed qualifications of the over head. They should have as that is a part of the story of what happened. I would assume those qualifications are available from the State on request.

  32. Bob Powers says

    Calvin — I was going with the investigation report that a type 2 team took over the fire around noon the 30th. The North canyon fire the IC immediately closed the fatality area off and called in a fatality fire investigation team. This should be SOP on all wild land fatality fires. This would secure all the info including radio and cell phone info. (cell phones seem to be used quite a bite any more) They should be part of the fire investigation, in this case they weren’t. The local Sheriff was not prepared for this type of incident, nor any background knowledge. This should be part of IC team training.

    • Calvin says

      Is this an accurate statement…. Roy Hall and Glen Joki’s Type 3 IMT IC took control of the Yarnell Hill Fire June 30 around 1022.

      • Bob Powers says

        That would be my understanding. Were they type 2 short team qualified? I do not know, The State seemed to appoint whom ever they had on there qualifications list. The would have had red carded info in there dispatch office to assign a team based on decisions made at the State level. Did the investigation’s identify the qualifications of the overhead? They should have science every body acted within there authority (being snarky).

  33. Gary Olson says

    what can I say, you are probably right

    BUT…FYI, To make things even more confusing (for me at least), if I was assigned to look for a smoking gun, Roy Hall’s hands would be the last place I would think to check.

    IF my memory serves me correctly…Roy Hall is a highly respected and nationally recognized, and qualified Type I Incident Commander with decades of experience at every level, on every kind of fire, who can rightfully take credit for controlling some of this nation’s worst wildfires and who is retired from the U.S. Forest Service and is only doing short term “contract” work (by the fire) for Arizona State Forestry.

    I would not expect to find a POWER VACUM within five miles of where Roy Hall is standing.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Unless you don’t have the private frequencies for a unit in
      the field and you also don’t have their cell phone numbers.

      BIG DOGS don’t like other BIG DOGS… and that’s why
      iPhones were invented.

  34. Gary Olson says

    FYI, I should have said that Darrell Willis and Tony Sciacca would assume or take authority in a POWER VACUM (they are good soldiers), like there was on that aberration of a Class A Cluster **** the Yarnell Hill Fire!

    To all of you John Q. Publics out there…almost all wildfires are fought by highly professional, highly trained, highly competent, very experienced and extremely dedicated wildland firefighters, who can do, and have done, amazing things for decades now to protect you, your family, your Wildland Urban Interface interests and your forests etc..

    You only hear about the really bad ones…the Loop Fire, the South Canyon Fire, the Battlement Creek Fire, the Thirty Mile Fire, the Mann Gulch Fire, etc. Check out all of the bad ones here… http://www.fireleadership.gov/toolbox/staffride/library_staff_ride10.html

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Q: What does a BIG DOG eat?
      A: Anything he wants

      Q: Mr. Willis, did you have any communications with Marsh?
      A: I wasn’t REALLY involved with what they were doing.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          SOMETHING got us from ‘we are committed to
          the black’ to ‘we are moving south’ in the course
          of only 5 minutes.

          Did the BIG DOG bark all the way from up
          at the Model Creek School ICP?

          Stay tuned.

          • Gary Olson says

            well…you probably remember that has been my favorite tune to play ever since I talked to John Dougherty for the very first time. All of my experience tells me that is what it would have taken to get those boys out of the black and down that chute ASAP, in spite of my disagreements with xxfullsailxx on the subject, who by the way, really does seem to know what he is talking about, even if he is abrasive.

  35. Gary Olson says

    AND…I consider what I have been posting as FYI’s and not true comments, which I have stated numerous times I am not qualified to make, it makes my head hurt too much.

    BUT…it really surprised me at how close WTKTT came to “the truth” in some of his most recent comments. There are always two pay grades at work fighting fire. There is the “job description” and pay grade a wildland firefighter will have in his/her day job…say that is a “Landscape Architect” and yes…the USFS really has people who do that (they make sure Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public see beautiful trees while they drive their car on a road through the national forests and NOT tree stumps, logging slash, controlled burns, and large destructive machinery that provides America with CHEAP lumber at Home Depot). And that person would probably be a GS-11 or what would be considered a mid-level employee/manager at their day jobs.

    But…when that same person goes on a fire assignment (there are really very few full-time “firefighters” who work for the federal government, a large percentage come from other disciples, who are also firefighters when called upon to do so…or they want to get out of their regular boring jobs and make a bucketful of extra money in overtime, hazard pay, night time differential, holiday pay, etc., while on a fire assignment) they will be suddenly transformed into a lowly grunt (crewman) on a Type 3 or 4 hand crew…or suddenly transformed into a General Command Staff Officer (or one of many, many kinds of other jobs not even on the fire line, finance, logistics, supply, transportation, public affairs etc.,) depending on who they are, what their experience level is, and the type of training they have had, or what they used to do before they buckled down and got a “real” job instead of chasing smoke while working their way through college.

    So…the bottom line is this…Darrell Willis and Tony Sciacca are mid-level managers at their day jobs, BUT…whenever Darrell Willis or Tony Sciacca go on a wildfire assignment, certainly anywhere in Yavapai County, (and in Tony’s case maybe even the nation and certainly in Region 3) regardless of what job assignment they actually have, both of them are given the deference and respect and may even be given or assume (take)…the authority of Four Star Generals. Or let me say this another way…anywhere in the Prescott area and beyond, Darrell and Tony ARE THE BIG DOGS! WOOF!

  36. Gary Olson says

    WTKTT said “Example: Don’t you think it’s strange that, at the public press conference at the deployment site, Willis used the phrase “I wasn’t REALLY involved with what they (GM) were doing.”

    Really?

    Why even use that word?
    It’s suspicious.

    What that means is that he WAS
    ‘involved’… but only sorta-kinda.

    If he wasn’t involved at all he would
    have just said…

    “I wasn’t involved with what they were doing.”

    There would be on REALLY in there.

    Anyway… the list goes on and on.”

    Those who work in the field of law enforcement would call the use of that kind of word in that context a “qualifier” and is usually an indicator that the subject is being deceptive or what is commonly called LYING HIS ASS OFF!

  37. Gary Olson says

    WTKTT said “Anyway… the list goes on and on.

    I actually shudder to think how
    MUCH Darrell Willis might have had
    to do with this entire Yarnell Hill
    Fire… from soup to nuts.

    He had that kind of personality to be throwing his weight around all over the place. You can hear it in his radio transmissions captured in the Globe Type II Crew videos.

    So yea… I am not surprised at all that Darrell Willis is named in the suits. He is a KEY player in everything that happened with the Yarnell Hill Fire.”

    I don’t think you have any idea how right you are. Let’s just say I will not go back to Prescott any time soon without an armed body guard.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      See BIG DOG discussions above, Gary.

      I am glad you reconsidered ‘avoiding this whole
      circular conversation’.

      I hate to tell you this.. ( and something tells me you already
      know this )… but we are basically just getting started.

      There’s a lot more to come.

  38. Robert the Second says

    Here’s a link for the July 1, 2013 Incident Action Plan (IAP) that lists all the Division assignements for that day.
    http://www.azsf.az.gov/system/files/documents/files/Yarnell%20Hill%20IAP%207_1_2013.pdf

    You’ll notice it was completed and approved at 2400 (midnight) June 30th.

    Interestingly, Beery was assigned as STGS AND ALSO as DIV F. Not uncommon, but definitely not common either, even though when you parse out the double negative it basically says the same thing. As the STPS he was assigned six (6) Type 6 Engines and two Water Tenders. Their assignments were to “Identify structures needing protection, mop up around structures, and maintain sprinkler systems. Special instructions were to Identify destroyed or damaged structures.” As DIVS F, Berry was assigned the Lewis Type 2 Inmate Crew and their assignments were to “Identify structures needing protection, mop up around structures, and maintain sprinkler systems. Special instructions were to Identify destroyed or damaged structures.

  39. Robert the Second says

    Calvin,

    Here’s the SWCC website for the IMT’s so you can research some yourself.
    http://gacc.nifc.gov/swcc/dispatch_logistics/overhead/overhead.htm

    Even a Type 2 ‘Short Team’ is still a Type 2 IMT, so pretty sure they’re NOT interchangeable. I know Joki used to be a Type 2 IC.

    “If Mr Berry reports directly to OPS as he is DIV F, would Willis the SPGS report to DIV F, or OPS?” SPGS reports to OPS (or Branch Director) and works with and then advises DIVS.

  40. Robert the Second says

    WTKTT,

    Not really a big deal on Beery’s lack of investigation notes. Some of it could be Beery just laying low, under the radar so-to-speak. Some of it most definitely the SAIT and their ‘selective interviews’ to build on their foregone ‘Established Conclusions.’

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Roger that. It just honestly sounds like he sat in a room at the
      Model Creek School all day by himself and just went outside
      every now and then to look at the sky and run his ‘Rainy Day’
      APP on his iPhone.

      For a ‘Division Supervisor’ on a VERY active ( and dangerous )
      fire… that sounds a little thin on the actual ‘interaction’ scale.

      • Robert the Second says

        It does kinda look that way. I could only find documented evidence of what resources he had and their instructions for July 1 in the IAP below.

        Although, I will say that Beery is NO slacker, and he has quite a bit of WFF experience as a DIVS. So, he would have and should have been ‘interacting’ with whatever resources he was assigned on June 30th.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          I am NOT questioning either his ‘expertise’ or his
          possible contribution to the effort up at the Model
          Creek School ICP that day.

          The Yarnell Investigation Notes ( YIN ) do, in fact,
          report him saying lots of ‘smart things’ during
          his interview. That’s fine. I’m glad he’s ‘smart’.

          I want to know WHO he was talking to that day,
          and WHO was talking to HIM… and WHAT
          was being said. That information is totally lacking
          from two highly-paid taxpayer-funded investigations
          into this incident.

  41. Robert the Second says

    Regarding Jim Cook’s Times News statement misquoted:

    The Times News ‘correction’ will read as follows:
    “A statement in the Dec. 15 report “What Happened in Yarnell, Arizona?” misstated information from Jim Cook, a 37-year wildfires veteran who now is retired. Eric Marsh, crew superintendent of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, was trained to be a division supervisor. Cook’s remarks were intended to point to the lack of advanced-level training for firefighters from many agencies. The Times-News regrets the error.”

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Yes… but I think the following question has been asked by any
      number of people but never answered…

      Was this the actual FIRST TIME that Eric Marsh was
      functioning as a ‘Division Supervisor’ for ANY fire?

      Does ANYONE know?

      I have searched and searched online and I can find no public
      evidence of his name ever appearing on any fire roster
      as a ‘Division Supervisor’.

      • Robert the Second says

        WTKTT,

        Don’t know if it was his first DIVS assignment. If he had worked as a DIVS on Type 3 assignments, it most likely wouldn’t be ‘publicly’ documented unless the IMT posted their IAP’s online. Otherwise, those records would most likely show up in their personnel files and/or training/experience records.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          I’ve become quite the expert at looking up public
          IAPs and resource assignment lists that are
          required to be made public… and that’s where
          I don’t see Eric Marsh showing up anywhere,
          anytime as a ‘Division Supervisor’.

          That’s all I can do. If it ever REALLY happened
          before… then AFAICT it would have been a
          real ‘off the reservation’ sort of thing.

          You WFF guys seem to forget.
          You are ‘public servants’.
          Everything you do is being ‘recorded’ and
          is supposed to be ‘public information’.
          That’s the deal when you take the ‘job’.

      • Calvin says

        Robb Berry said interview….He remembered that Eric Marsh (supervisor for Granite) was the division supervisor for Zulu. (p4 YIN) The immediate sentence before is referencing to the Doce Fire. I think he is saying Marsh was Div Z at Doce. Was Doce a Type1 fire?

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Reply to Calvin post on Dec 21, 2013 at 12:02 pm

          >> calvin asked…
          >>. Was Doce a Type1 fire?

          Yes ( eventually ).

          Tony Sciacca himself became the Type 1 IC for it
          and the command level was ‘populated’ with
          Prescott area people.

          I can’t find any actual published IAPs or resource
          lists for the Doce fire… but there is some
          evidence that Marsh had SOME kind of
          command position at Doce other than
          GMIHCS.

          It looks like Sciacca was IC, and he had
          TWO DIVS under his command…
          Jerry Anderson ( DIVS A ? )
          Eric Marsh ( DIVS Z ? )

          Can anyone CONFIRM this?

          If it’s true… was THAT the first time Marsh was
          ever a functional DIVS? That was only a week
          or two before Yarnell.

          From…
          http://www.dcourier.com/m/Articles.aspx?ArticleID=120619

          The IC on the Doce fire was Tony Sciacca.

          Sciacca, a retired Prescott National Forest fire manager who also runs the Arizona Wildfire Academy here, ran the operations section with the help of Eric Marsh and Jerry Anderson.

          Sciacca’s Type I team just happened to be next on the rotation, so it was assigned to arrive on the Doce fire the second day of June 19. He and many of his team members happened to be from the Prescott area.

          The local Type III team members including Bentley already had built an incident action plan, and that really sped up the transition to the Type I team, Sciacca said. Instead of taking 1-2 days for the transition, it took just 12 hours.

          “That was way huge” in getting more resources mobilized quickly to save homes, he said.

  42. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to RTS post on December 20, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    RTS… Thank you!
    All great information.

    Re: Rob Berry – DIVS F at YHF

    The Yarnell Investigation Notes ( YIN ) for Berry span two pages ( 4 and 5 ).

    At NO time in those notes is Darrell Willis ever mentioned, or that Berry
    ever had ANY contact with him at ANY time.

    The notes never say when Berry actually ‘arrived’ that day, but they do say…
    he “observed south winds most of the morning” so he was definitely
    there for most/all of the day and on into the night. ( There are nighttime
    activity notes from him on June 30 ).

    So it is surprising to learn he was there ‘early on’… but his name is
    featured so little in any report or published document… and the notes
    do not document who he was ever communicating with that day.

    Actually… to tell you the truth… there isn’t much evidence in the notes
    that this guy was doing much of anything all day other than the fact that
    he was there clocking hours. There are a lot of ‘observations of weather’
    noted but never any descriptions of interaction with anyone else there,
    and certainly no indication he was ever ‘advising’ anyone, or being
    ‘advised’ himself in any way.

    The only NAME mentioned in the Berry notes ( other than his ) is
    Eric Marsh… and Berry says he was DIVS Z ( Zulu ) and NOT DIVS A…

    Direct quote from the Rob Berry interview…

    14. He remembered that Eric Marsh (supervisor for Granite) was the division supervisor for Zulu.

  43. Calvin says

    RTS thanks, Question. Can you elaborate on the Hall/Joki type 3 command? Is It appropriate for them to run a Type 2 Short IMT? Also. If Mr Berry reports directly to OPS as he is DIV F, would Willis the SPGS report to DIV F, or OPS?

  44. Robert the Second says

    Several things here:

    Sciacca’s comment about chaparral burning downhill. When chaparral or any fuel type burns downhill, it is ALWAYS an indication of INTENSE FIRE BEHAVIOR! In the case of the YHF, there was significant wind influence fron the outflow winds, and that was what was driving the fire behavior that day once they had manifested themselves. Full Sail’s experienced comment that ” in light fuels WIND ALWAYS OVERRIDES SLOPE” is spot on except for the fact that I would not consider the chaparral that day to be ‘light fuels.’ What with the VOLATILE fuel type, HEAVY fuel loading, and LOW fuel moisture that day, this fire rocked with very rapid Rate(s) of Spread (ROS). In an earlier discussion, some of you were questionning the 12 mph ROS as not being accurate. Fires PULSE and usually only in foehn-type winds do these consistenly maintain their ROS.

    Jim Cook comment regarding Martsh not be qualified as a DIVS. I went to the source and asked him. He said the Editor(s) misunderstood the statement he made regarding some Agencies, Departments not following certain policy and/or protocol regarding training and qualifications. He said the publication was going to publish a CORRECTION regarding the article.

    DIVS F Robb Beery would work directly for OPS. I would hope that Beery was giving advice and counsel to SPGS Willis throughout the fire. And that SPGS Willis would seek advice and counsel from Beery.

    Hall and Joki status
    According to the SWCC website, both Hall and Joki are/were Type 3 IMT IC’s.

    RJjumper’s comment on HS not being structure.
    We teach in the NWCG S-215 Wildland Urban Interface course to utilize HS Crews for that very purpose. Fulll Sail gives the details quite accurately. We have been on many WUI fires doing structure protection, AND if it wasn’t for that being the case on MOST WUI fires, whole towns would have burned if it wasn’t for their actions.

    • NV says

      Chaparral in extreme fire conditions is an interesting thing. For purposes of wind, it’s not solely a fine fuel (though much of the branches by themselves are, as is the grass component), and burns much hotter, but fire can spread as if through fine or light fuels.

      In terms of any given local area, in terms of Sciacca’s initial comments, because chaparral generally is cleared out by infrequent hot fires, it’s true that many local areas may not have seen that kind of fire for a few decades. In terms of living in a chaparral ecosystem, one area where people can do better is understanding that those occasional hot fires are inevitable and therefore homeowners need to be responsible for having sufficient defensible space around their residence. Southern California has probably been more proactive in this regard than elsewhere in the Southwest with chaparral.

  45. Calvin says

    WTKTT said….…and before anyone jumps on what appears to be Sciacca
    being told Willis was a ‘Division Chief’ on the fire itself ( which is
    what I did for a second )… I am sure what that really means
    there is that Sciacca works for Prescott Fire… and Darell Willis
    is officially ‘Wildland Division Chief’ back in Prescott… so I’m
    sure that’s all Sciacca meant when he referred to Willis as
    a ‘Division Chief’. He just meant ‘Wildland Division Chief in Prescott’.
    Kinda funny you brought up CONFUSION about what role Chief Willis was playing June 30 after (yet another misstep) by the PFD last week when they (mistakenly) reported that Willis was OPS after 1020. Thanks to Pete Wertheim for the correction!
    But I am now wanting to know more about Mr. Robb Berry….. (p4) YIN(lol) says….. Robb was the division supervisor for Foxtrot on June 30th.
    Well the Type 2 short roster says Rob Berry was actually SPGS.
    So it brings up the point of who Willis was reporting to and when? Was Chief Willis reporting to Berry or Able or Hall? Or someone else?

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Exactly. BIG DOG does what he wants.
        If we are to ever discover Darell Willis’ complete involvement
        with what happened that day… then someone has to put
        the whistle on the BIG DOG and tell him to ‘speak’.
        He’s just that kind of guy… and it was just that kind
        of circumstances that weekend.

  46. Bob Powers says

    Since I don’t remember seeing any thing on cell phone information in either of the 2 investigations. I am concerned that no follow-up investigation on the cell phone calls to and from key players in this drama have been done. I would seriously doubt that YCSO did much at all. This is where it is critical to assign a fire fatality investigation team immediately. Another failure of the type 2 team on this fire.

    • Calvin says

      Mr Powers… You say another failure by this type 2 team. Question: From the information I have found, Hall/Joki were
      type 3 Incident commanders. Can anyone confirm or deny this?

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Well.. as it turns out… unless the YCSO had some PCRTB
      ( Probable Cause / Reason To Believe ) criteria related to
      a possible ‘criminal’ charge… current privacy laws would
      have actually made it difficult for them to even ‘request’
      any network cell records.

      As we all know now ( thanks to Mr. Edward Snowden ), the
      NSA and other federal agencies ( believe me.. it ain’t just
      the NSA ) can get any damn thing they want any time they
      want…

      …but it is still ‘not true’ for the ‘middle men’ like local law
      enforcement or even SBIs ( State Bureau of Investigations ).

      The FEDS can get anything they want, anytime they want…
      but they still make the local yocals jump through hoops
      like PCRTB and search warrants and all that antiquated crap.

      So unless YCSO found some evidence of the generic
      ‘foul play’ scenario ( which is actually just a check-box
      on the cell network information request forms )… they
      would have had a hard time even ‘asking’ for cell records.

      Trust me on this.

  47. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to Calvin post on December 20, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    >> Calvin wrote…
    >>
    >> Tony Sciacca said…..I was only on scene 2 hours. I got a
    >> call from Peyson dispatch at 13:55 for a Safety Officer.
    >> Arrived at the middle school 50-55 minutes later and tied in
    >> with RH and Paul Musser there. Divison Chief, Daryl Willis
    >> painted the picture about what was going on. P51 Yarnell
    >> Interview Notes (YIN)
    >>
    >> WTKTT….. It seems like Chief Willis is still playing Co-IC later in the day.

    Yep… sure does.

    I think Willis and Shumate treated is as ‘their fire’ all night long before
    the morning of June 30 when they worked out ‘together’ what resources
    would be needed for June 30 daytime and even did the ‘ordering’ together.

    This is documented to be true.

    Then Shumate totally burned out by morning and messed up ALL of
    the briefings… and then Roy Hall shows up clueless.

    I think Willis was jumping in there all over the place thinking he had
    to ‘pick up the slack’ even though he’d been up all night and was
    dog-tired himself. Shumate was useless by then and Hall was
    clueless. What else was there to do?

    …and before anyone jumps on what appears to be Sciacca
    being told Willis was a ‘Division Chief’ on the fire itself ( which is
    what I did for a second )… I am sure what that really means
    there is that Sciacca works for Prescott Fire… and Darell Willis
    is officially ‘Wildland Division Chief’ back in Prescott… so I’m
    sure that’s all Sciacca meant when he referred to Willis as
    a ‘Division Chief’. He just meant ‘Wildland Division Chief in Prescott’.

    We’ve got evidence showing that Willis might have been bouncing
    back and forth between OPS and SPG titles all day… but we don’t
    need the additional weirdness of him suddenly being identified
    as a ‘Division SUP’ or anything. I don’t think that ever happened.

    If it actually ever DOES… I just wonder what ‘Division’ Willis
    would have been assigned?…

    Perhaps the “Everyone here is either dog toasted or clueless so
    I’m in charge of everything now” division.

    • Gary Olson says

      My FYI from above also applies here, fyi, he (Tony Sciacca) is a retired USFS Fire Management (Thumb Butte District ?) Officer for the Prescott National Forest and was the Prescott Hotshot Crew Boss back in my day. And he is highly respected at the national level as an IC and for his wildland fire experience all across the country. Darrell Willis and Tony Sciacca go way back as Willis is the retired Prescott Fire Department Chief who retired and was rehired in his current position.

      • Gary Olson says

        I guess what I am also saying is you should not be at all surprised that Darrell Willis would have been making decisions far above his fire title and taking charge of whatever he wanted to given his background and status in the fire community anywhere in Yavapai County. He was/is the BIG DOG as is Tony Sciacca! And it is a pretty tight and exclusive club that are both founding members of.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Thank you, Gary. I know you said you were sick and
        tired of what you perceive to be a ‘circular discussion’,
        but as you just showed above you can still ‘nail it to
        the wall from your living room’ so please consider
        not giving up on this discussion.

        I have almost used the phrase ‘BIG DOG’ a few times
        myself when trying to just put Darrell Willis’ involvement
        in this thing into some kind of perspective.

        Again.. I am NOT a ‘firefighter’… but I can assure there
        are times when I have been ‘up all night’ prepping a
        situation with whatever other poor slobs were staying
        up all night with me… only to have ‘more people’
        arriving the next morning to ‘jump into the pool’.

        At a certain point… you can take all the ‘structure’ and
        the ‘job titles’ and throw them out the window.

        There are time ( like this one? ) when no matter what
        your title is… you MUST listen to the people who have
        been ‘up all night’ and have been there before you
        getting a ‘handle on this thing’.

        There have been times I’ve been in the ‘late train’
        myself and shown up facing the other fellas who
        have been ‘up all night’ handling a situation.

        You have to enter that scenario sometimes and just
        say… “I don’t give a damn who anyone thinks they
        are… who the hell knows what’s going on here?”

        That’s the BIG DOG scenario.

        I think that came into play in Yarnell on June 30, and
        Willis simply was a ‘GO TO’ guy for a lot of people
        just because he ‘knew what was going on’.

        All that being said… I still think we need to learn more
        details about his ACTUAL involvement and his
        ACTUAL communications with everyone that day.

        There is still the mystery he created himself during
        that first press conference from the deployment site
        when he ( slipped? ) said “WE heard they were
        headed in a southerly direction.”

        That contradicts everything the SAIR tried to establish
        about what the ‘command’ level heard that afternoon.

        We also know more know about where Willis actually
        WAS when he might have heard this ‘heading south’
        information over the GM private channel.

        It really looks like he had already left the Double Bar
        A Ranch area ( it was already a goner by then ) and
        he was simply back at the ‘command post’ at the
        Model Creek School.

        Well… if that’s the case… then if Willis heard the
        ‘discussing their options’ traffic and the ‘heading
        south’ information he alluded to at the press
        conference…

        …then everyone else at the command center must
        have heard it too.

        So it still all comes down to what Willis meant by…

        “WE heard they were heading south.”

        Who is WE?

        Everyone around him that day during the infamous
        ‘discussing their options’ conversation?…

        …or was it a slip with him recalling private conversations
        with McDonough after the incident when they both
        admitted to each other they heard the whole
        ‘discussing their options’ thing… and WE just means
        “Me and McDonough”.

        • Gary Olson says

          Like I said below, I am back on my meds now and I feel better thank you. Actually, I sometimes have an anger management problem and if I spend too long thinking about the Yarnell Hill Fire, it comes out, such as it did with my rant against xxfullsailxx above.

          I mean, how could anyone who has seen the video and the stills from that Goddamn fire, and I really mean God should damn that fire, think a father (Eric Marsh) could take his beloved children (the Granite Mountain Hotshots) into the path of that thing is beyond me, unless someone who they could not say “no” to asked them to do.

          And no xxfullsailxx, I am not talking about, “I order you under penalty of the loss of your job and benefits if you don’t obey my order.” I am talking about 2 men who had a father and son relationship and the father asked the son to do something the son really did not want to do (I could feel this coming, what is your comfort level etc.) but he was conditioned to do the best job he possibly could and wanted to please his father figure and his mentor.

          Unfortunately, his gut reaction, “Hell No!” was overridden by his desire to please the boss, we all have it, or at least anyone who is successful at whatever work they do, has it.

          AND I default back to Dr. Ted Putnam in the “Collapse of Decision Making On storm King Mountain”, neither Eric Marsh nor Jesse Steed was able to accurately judge just how dangerous their maneuver was under the circumstances.

          • Gary Olson says

            And I want to further reiterate one other point, there is nothing wrong with Willis asking Marsh to take his crew to Yarnell. It was ultimately Marsh’s and Steed’s responsibility to ensure the safety of their crew (as others have said). The problem comes in when that act was lied about (in my opinion). And that problem is not even a legal one, he wasn’t under oath.

            The alarm bells did not start going on inside my head until I listened to every word Willis said out at the deployment site several times. Nothing he said made any sense to me.

            Like I said in an earlier comment, Willis should have been home staring at the wall in a semi-catatonic state mumbling to himself, that is where I would have been, not out at the deployment site or down on the football field before a game rolling in it.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Gary… it is impossible to ignore your
              common-sense arguments on this
              point. I believe you are ‘nailing’ it.

              SOMETHING had to have happened
              in the course of 5 minutes for a man
              who was 43 years old and childless
              himself and who thought enough
              of those boys to say “Hell NO!” to
              one man asking him to put them
              in danger… to only minutes later
              sounding VERY concerned about
              something (perhaps) another
              man ( Willis ) asked him to do…

              …and we go from “Hell NO” to
              “Gaggle UP!” in just 5 minutes.

              Another point: I have listened to
              the MacKenzie video/audio over
              and over. Regarding Steed… it
              really sounds like he could not
              have cared less. He just sounds
              hot, tired, frustrated… wants the
              day to officially end. I get no
              feeling from the tone in his voice
              that saw or felt the need to go
              anywhere or DO anything else
              that day.

              So it may just come down to
              this ‘father/son’ thing between
              Marsh and Willis.

  48. Bob Powers says

    So the discussion and statement by OPS1 Able that he talked with Marsh on the Cell Phone then blows the theory that the radio traffic was to busy for Marsh to notify OPS1 Able of his decision to move the crew and where they would head. He could have called OPS on a CELL PHONE and had that option the whole time as well as talking to any one else. There has to be phone records out there as to who called Marsh and when. Even if the phone was destroyed. The investigation should have got those records, if not the Law suit needs to get them.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      There is still no evidence that ANY of the phones were even
      near ‘destroyed’. In fact… all the (known) evidence is exactly
      the opposite.

      Sure… the battery leads melted on a few of them… but that
      in no way means they were ‘destroyed’… they just wouldn’t
      ‘turn on’ so the YCSO detective couldn’t just ‘scrape’ the
      phone in-house with the standard Cellebrite software.

      TWO of the phones were documented in YCSO report as
      defintely being ‘fully functional’ and able to ‘power up’… but
      they were simply password-protected iPhones and the
      YCSO fellas didn’t have the expetise to bypass the
      sign-on screen… so they were sent to ACTIC ( Arizona
      Counter Terrorism Information Center ).

      If Marsh didn’t have his own cell phone… then he MUST have
      had to borrow someone else’s… and MULTIPLE times…
      because the Yarnell Interview Notes ( YIN ) say that Todd
      Abel recalls having MULTIPLE cell phone calls from Marsh
      that day.

      So phones themselves ( call history ) or actual network
      cell phone records… either will do.

  49. Rocksteady says

    I do o not put a lot of weight behind the Outside magazine article.
    I feel it was mote sensationalized than the other documented publications.

    Jist my opinion

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Mr. Dickman was obviously writing for his audience and it
      wasn’t straight journalism… but I still think there are important
      things being ( how shall I say? ) ‘expressed’ about these men
      and that day that haven’t appeared anywhere else.

      Example: The Dickman article says…

      “Eric had been sober for about 13 years. Coffee was his
      only drug now… and he took it black.”

      That’s a pretty big revelation to ‘put out there’ unless Mr.
      Dickman has some facts to back it up… so I am going
      to give him the benefit of the doubt and call that a
      ‘true’ statement, unless someone says otherwise.

      Ditto for some other things such as descriptions from
      McDonough about what the ‘crew culture’ was really
      like. Tight Military discipline ( Drop and give me 100 )
      combined with a heavy ‘we build real men’ kind of
      nuturing thing going on… and also combine all that
      with a HEAVY religious component.

      I have no reason to doubt that is the way Brendan was
      describing ‘the culture of GM’ to Mr. Dickman and that
      that is a true description of it.

      Journalism? Nope.
      Facts?… yep… a few.

  50. Calvin says

    WTKTT… According to Mcdonough’s interview notes from 7/5 p41…. 1445 starts to take weather for top of the hour first reading wrong does it a second time good but to make sure does it a third time turns back towards fire and notices that fire has made it to his trigger point to leave.
    Daily Courier interview August 7….About 2:45 or 2:50 p.m., he heard over his radio that updated weather information was coming. Since it was almost time for Brendan to conduct his weather measurement at the top of the hour, Jesse said he’d listen to the radio information while Brendan checked the weather.
    The Daily courier interview actually has video footage and Mr Mcdonough says with his own mouth what is stated above. BUT, there is a problem with his description of these events. According to Mcdonough (DC interview), Steed is GOING TO listen to the weather while Mcdonough conducts weather measurement. As far as we know, there were only two weather updates that afternoon, 1402 and 1526. It is hard for me to comprehend that an all important weather update was delayed. By all important I mean, According to DC interview Mcdonough states…Jesse then related that the crew could expect a 180-degree wind shift and wind gusts of 50-60 mph. The 1402 weather update calls for a 180- degree shift, NOT THE 1526 update. The interview notes from BR hotshots seem to back up Mcdonoughs account……(p9 BR interview notes) They only heard 1 wx update prior to picking Brendan up.
    I am beginning to believe (more than ever) that Mcdonough actually left the post before 1500 (3pm), a full hour before any report acknowledges.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      I really tend to AGREE with you, Calvin.

      The more I read these reports… there is almost TOO MUCH
      activity being ‘crammed’ into a very small timeframe for it
      all to have really happened with that kind of ‘speed’… especially
      since we now even read in the SAIT notes that when Frisby
      picked up Brendan at the old grader… neither one of them
      was (quote) “in any kind of hurry”.

      The whole description of all the things that Frisby himself is
      supposed to have accomplished between 1555 and 1615
      almost makes him some kind of ‘superman’ or that he had
      his own ‘transporter’ that day.

      Taken all in all… it almost makes more sense that Frisby
      himself had at least an hour to accomplish all these things
      he is documented as doing at that part of the afternoon.

      More on this later… including an update on WHEN Marsh
      was actually made DIVS A.

      Did you notice that this is also ‘nailed down’ in Brendan’s
      SAIT interview notes?

      Brendan says it didn’t happen until right after Rory Collins
      ( purposely? ) dumped retardant on their ‘indirect’ burnouts
      and GM was forced to change tactics.

      That was at 11:45 AM.

      That was when McDonough ( who we now learn was a
      squad leader ) volunteered to take his ‘squad’ over to
      do the ‘tie into cold black’ thing that is documented in
      all of the reports.

      It’s also curious that Marsh waited until 11:50 AM that
      morning to have this ‘face-to-face’ with Marsh. Marsh
      didn’t ‘request’ that meeting until 5 minutes AFTER
      Collins forced him to ‘change tactics’.

      Here is what I think Brendan’s SAIT notes tell us…

      11:36 and 11:45 – Air Attack ( Rory Collins ) purposely drops
      retardant on their indirect work and forces tactic change.

      11:46 – Marsh calls OPS1 (Abel) on a CELL PHONE to
      report this. We know that Todd Abel has reported MORE
      than just one cell call from Marsh so this could have been
      the first one that day.

      11:47 – Abel decides to make Marsh DIVS A, and tells him so.

      11:48 – Marsh is now DIVS A. He calls Brian Frisby and
      requests ( demands? ) he schlep all the way out to the
      ridge with Trueheart for a ‘face-to-face’ planning meeting.

      It’s possible this is how that part of the day went down.

      • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

        I think you may be mistaken about Brendon being a ‘squad leader’. Without digging around for quite awhile, trying to find the actual statement, I think it went something like; ‘Brendon’s squad volunteered to……’. That can be read two different ways. One, Brendon was the leader (Brendon’s squad), or two, it was the squad Brendon was in (Brendon’s squad). I think it is the second version, and there is absolutely no evidence that he was qualified or acted as a squad leader, ever. Somewhere in all of this voluminous documentation, the squad leaders are specifed, and he’s not one of them.

        • Calvin says

          TTWARE… P41 Yarnell Interview notes (YIN) Brendan Mcdonough Interview states….Brendan volunteers his squad for assignment
          But I do not think he was a squad boss.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        TTWARE…

        As Calvin noted… the YIN quote only says ‘his’ squad,
        and you are right… there is no documentation that
        says McDonough was an ACTUAL ‘squad leader’…

        …but that brings up another question for WFF folks.

        How ‘off the reservation’ would it be for a second year
        greenhorn to willy-nilly ‘volunteer his squad’ for
        ANYTHING?

        What would the REAL ‘squad boss’ have to say about
        that… no matter now ‘no-brainer’ the task might seem
        to be?

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Well… then we have just one more deep
            mystery to solve, then. Brendan said
            in his OWN interview that HE ‘volunteered
            his squad’ for the ‘tie to cold black’ job
            over on the west side of the ridge after
            they decided to switch from indirect
            to direct. It’s there in ‘black and white’.
            Did that really happen… or is this more
            evidence that Brendan was ‘making
            things up’ even in front of the SAIT
            investigators?

    • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

      In regards to the topic of weather overall, in reading through the various ADOSH interview narratives, it’s amazing how many different personnel on the fire stated they did not get either one, or both, of the crucial weather updates. This includes some of the air resources.

      As has been commented upon here many times, the number of firefighters “almost lost’ is stunning. From McDonough and the engine crews that were rescued by the BR Sup, to the structure protection guys on the north end who didn’t see one flank of the fire hooking around to block their escape route, who were advised of that fact by air attack. Also, a little discussed event that came close to having DIRE consequences, is the instance of the engine crews who were pulled-off their rigs to hike-in, and dig and cut on a much needed section of line somewhere toward the west end of Z. As the fire was bearing down on them and they were evacuating, they returned to where they had parked their vehicles. THEIR VEHICLES WERE GONE! Someone, moved them to points unknown, without telling anybody. It is simply refered to in the reports as ‘some crews got pinched’. I guess that’s a nice way of saying they almost got burned-over as well. Those folks need to be interviewed, to see how close they actually were to becoming another statistic.

      • jeff i says

        Without a doubt there was chaos on every side of the fire. Primarily, in my opinion, due to the extreme fire behavior and the fact that the IC team still trying to assemble itself during the most active part of the day. Had they taken this fire more seriously 12hrs earlier, perhaps we wouldn’t be talking about it now. But, these are just contributory factors, ultimately GMIHC overhead had the final responsibility for the crews safety.

        • Calvin says

          Tony Sciacca said….Historically chaparral only burns for one operating period. I had not seen fire fun downhill during the daytime in the this country. p51 Yarnell Interview Notes for Tony Sciacca
          Can anyone else speak about the daytime downhill fire run? Is it that uncommon?

          • jeff i says

            A downhill run given the conditions that day, low RH, low fuel moisture, high temps, along the weather forecast of possible downdrafts, would certainly not be an unforeseen event.

            As for the comment about burning for one operational period. That may generally be true, but only if the operations during the period had been effective.

          • NV says

            Calvin, the transcript does say “country,” but he could have meant county?

            It’s a wind issue. CA, for instance, has Santa Ana winds that can push fires downhill, or lift and allow them to suddenly progress back uphill. I’m not sure what Sciacca means when he say that there’s no fire predictability. Not just the fire itself, but the weather acted pretty predictably. He may be referring to the fact that without the thunderstorm and the change in winds that the fire would have evolved differently.

          • xxfullsailxx says

            i think what he is saying is that brush fires and especially in chaparral type fuel models often burn through one burn period (one day) and then RH (humidity) values rise enough in the evening to at least greatly reduce the amount of residual heat left.

            the drought conditions and live fuel moisture levels experienced in that area made those fuels available to remain actively burning through the first night and subsequently into the fatal shift.

            also- in light fuels WIND ALWAYS OVERRIDES SLOPE. meaning with enough wind a fire in lighter fuels can move down slope very quickly, and it looks sort of counter-intuitive when you see that.

            • Calvin says

              Thanks NV and fullsail. It appears Sciacca is a type 1 IC. Odd if he actually meant county,( I guess I was also thinking about about Sciacca’s delay for an interview because he was “out of the country”) but I guess anything is possible. Fullsail, I can see what you are saying about wind being a bigger factor than slope in light fuels.
              Does anyone know if Sciacca helps WFF abroad?

              • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

                ‘This country’ also is sort of slang for ‘out west’, or ‘the mountains’, or ‘the desert,’ if you get my drift.

                • xxfullsailxx says

                  actually, seeing as how tony works for Prescott F.D., i think he is referring to that specific geographic area around Yavapai County.

                  • Gary Olson says

                    fyi, he is a retired USFS Fire Management (Thumb Butte District ?) Officer for the Prescott National Forest and was the Prescott Hotshot Crew Boss back in my day. And he is highly respected at the national level.

            • Bob Powers says

              Much of central California has the sundowner winds influenced by costal temperatures. They blow down drainages at night.
              Also southern Calif. Santa Anna’s blow off the top of mountains to the valleys at high speeds day and night they are hot winds as well.

        • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

          jeff i,

          I think everyone posting comments here agrees with you that the ultimate responsiblity for crew safety, lies with the leaders and the crew, themselves.

          The majority of the peripheral discusion here, is trying to chip away at what might have been some of the factors that caused, what up until that day, was a seeminigly well-led crew, to step off the road and head down into that bowl.

          That examination has to include human factors, both internally within the crew, and externally, those forces, pressures, or actions, occuring throughout the day, which may have consciously, or subconsciously affected the decision process.

          Any answers found in that process, are ones that would be in addtion to what we are left with so far, reaffirming the 10 & 18 and LCES. If any external influences can be found that, in ‘the fog of war’, can cause things like the the safety measures mentioned above to become ‘cloudy’ as well, it would be a good thing for firefighters to learn and know.

          • jeff i says

            Elusive,

            I don’t know about everyone…

            I agree that there is value in looking at outside factors and forces, and I am not trying to discourage that. But, I believe the most important lessons to be learning must take place at the crew level. Maybe I just felt the need to state the obvious out of fear of loosing site of it.

  51. Calvin says

    WTKTT… thanks for the follow up. You did not include the Daily Courier interview by Mcdonough from August 7 by Joanna Doddler Nellans….. About 2:45 or 2:50 p.m., he heard over his radio that updated weather information was coming. Since it was almost time for Brendan to conduct his weather measurement at the top of the hour, Jesse said he’d listen to the radio information while Brendan checked the weather.
    Kyle Dickman interview above says…DONUT WAS LESS than a minute into slinging his 4 P.M. weather
    when Steed came back over the radio. I am not following you here. According to this, Dickman reports Mcdonough doing his 4pm weather, 1545.

  52. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** WHEN DID BRENDAN MCDONOUGH ACTUALLY
    ** LEAVE HIS LOOKOUT POSITION?

    Was it circa 1445 ( 2:45 PM ) or
    was it circa 1550 ( 3:50 PM )?

    Brendan McDonough himself has ‘changed his story’ on this one a few
    times since June 30, 2013.

    I know that calvin has been working this one, but I decided to put all the ‘known
    sources’ together into one place and take a look at the ‘chronological order’ of
    the changing times mentioned for WHEN Brendan left his lookout position.

    In other words… what was he saying to WHO… and WHEN?

    Things to notice in the full text of all the sources below…

    The recently released SAIT notes say that Brendan McDonough
    was interviewed by the SAIT investigators on July 5, 2013, just 5
    days after the tragedy. In that SAIT interview… Brendan said he
    left his lookout position at 1445 ( 2:45 PM ).

    A month after that… Brendan is interviewed independently
    by the ADOSH investigators… but suddenly he has changed the
    time when he left his lookout position to more than an HOUR
    later than what he told the SAIT investigators.

    On August 20, 2013, ADOSH conducted their own independent
    interview with Brendan McDonough. Brendan had his personal
    attorney Emily Dolan present for this ADOSH interview.
    The final ADOSH report says that Brendan told them ( with his
    attorney present ) that he left his lookout position at 1550 ( 3:50 PM ).
    That is more than an HOUR after the time he’d already reported to the
    SAIT investigators a month or so earlier.

    Then… a month AFTER this ADOSH interview… Brendan is back to
    saying (publicly) that he left his lookout position at 1445 ( 2:45 PM ), as
    he originally told the SAIT investigators on July 5, 2013.

    On September 17, 2013… just 11 days before the SAIR document was
    to be published, Author Kyle Dickman published his article based on
    his exclusive independent interview with Brendan McDonough.

    In his interview with Kyle Dickman, Brendan was STILL sure
    that he had left his lookout position at 1445 ( 2:45 PM ), despite
    what he had told ADOSH ( with his attorney present ) a month
    before this article was published.

    11 days after the Kyle Dickman interview was published, when
    the SAIR report finally came out on September 28, 2013, that
    time of 1445 ( 2:45 PM ) has now magically CHANGED back
    to 1550 ( 3:50 PM ), which is what Brendan told the ADOSH
    investigators… but is NOT what he actually told the SAIT
    investigators on July 5, 2013, OR the author Kyle Dickman
    circa September 17, 2013.

    The SAIR put the time at MORE than an HOUR later than when
    Brendan said it happened in his own SAIT interview AND in
    his other independent interview with author Kyle Dickman.

    So here is the chronological order of when Brendan was
    saying 1445 ( 2:45 PM ) and when he was saying 1550 ( 3:50 PM )…

    * July 5, 2013 – SAIT interview – Brendan says 1445 ( 2:45 PM )
    * August 20, 2013 – ADOSH interview – Brendan says 1550 ( 4:50 PM )
    * September 17, 2013 – Dickman article – Brendan is back to 1445 ( 2:45 PM )
    * September 28, 2013 – SAIR report – Back to 1550 ( 4:50 PM )
    * December 5, 2013 – WFAR report – Back to 1550 ( 4:50 PM )
    * December 5, 2013 – ADOSH report – Back to 1550 ( 4:50 PM )

    For the sake of completeness ( and so all the references are in
    the same post somewhere ) here are the DATES again in chronological
    order accompanied by the exact text and testimony of Brendan
    McDonough as reported by these various sources…

    ** THE REPORTS AND INTERVIEWS ( CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER )

    * DATE: July 5, 2013 – Brendan says 1445 ( 2:45 PM )

    Page 41 of SAIT notes…

    Yarnell Hill Fire Investigation
    Interview with Brendan McDonough – 7/5/2013
    1445 starts to take weather for top of the hour first reading
    wrong does it a second time good but to make sure does
    it a third time turns back towards fire and notices that fire
    has made it to his trigger point to leave. On his way down to
    old grader looks at a spot that he might use as a deployment
    site to his right decides it’s to small continues to area of
    old grader.

    * DATE: August 20, 2013 – Brendan says 1550 ( 4:50 PM )

    Page 8 of ADOSH report…

    August 20, 2013 – ADOSH conducts interviews with City
    of Prescott employees Tony Sciacca and Brendan McDonough.
    Brendan McDonough has his personal attorney Emily Dolan
    present for his interview. With his attorney present… Brendan
    McDonough says he left his lookout position at 1550 ( 3:50 PM ).

    * DATE: September 17, 2013 – Brendan is back to 1445 ( 2:45 PM )

    Outside Magazine
    Tuesday, September 17, 2013
    19: The True Story of the Yarnell Fire
    By Kyle Dickman – Based on exclusive
    interviews with Brendan McDonough.
    http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/YarnellFire.html

    DONUT WAS LESS than a minute into slinging his 4 P.M. weather
    when Steed came back over the radio.
    “Donut, you up?”
    “Go, Steed.”
    “They’re calling for a 180-degree wind shift and gusts of up to 60
    miles per hour out of the northeast.”
    “Copy that.”
    He looked up at the approaching wall of flames and blinked. For the first
    time that afternoon, the wind was blowing at his face instead of his back.
    The flank that had been slowly backing down the valley had suddenly
    jumped to life. Two-foot flames had grown to twelve, and within moments
    the fire was running up a ridge on the east side of the valley and then
    south, directly at Donut.
    “Steed, Donut. It hit my trigger point.” The fire had crossed the drainage
    on the valley floor only a quarter of a mile away. “I’m bumping back to
    the dozer push.”
    “Alright, let me know when you get there. We’ve got eyes on you.”
    Donut tossed on his pack and grabbed his gear as he started wading
    down through the brush field and boulders toward the safety of the clearing
    the bulldozer had created that morning.

    * DATE: September 28, 2013 – SAIR report – Back to 1550 ( 3:50 PM )

    Page 23 of SAIR document published September 28, 2013…

    At about 1550, GM Lookout is taking weather observations when
    GM Capt calls him to relay the weather update. DIVS A hears the
    transmission and copies. GM Lookout copies and continues taking
    weather observations. He looks at the fire to the north and notes it is
    moving slowly toward his location. He scans back up to where the
    crew is working, to the thermometer, back to the crew, and then back
    to the fire. In that short time, the fire has started building and the wind
    is already beginning to shift. GM Lookout is not worried, but he
    recognizes it is time for him to move. He calls GM Capt and says
    the fire has hit his trigger point and he is moving towards the open
    area at the old grader. GM Capt calmly replies, “Okay, cool.”
    GM Lookout hikes toward the grader. As he hikes, he identifies
    options including an alternative lookout spot further up the road, a
    possible shelter deployment site near the grader, and a little clearing
    just down from his original lookout spot where he could deploy his
    fire shelter if the fire caught him.

    * DATE: December 5, 2013 – WFAR report – Says 1550 ( 3:50 PM )

    Page 14 of WFAR ( Wildland Fire Associates Report )

    At about 1550, the GM Lookout was taking weather observations
    when the GMIHC Captain called to relay the weather update.
    GM Lookout acknowledged the message and continued to take
    weather observations. By the time the GM Lookout completed the
    weather observations and scanned the surroundings as well as the
    crew location, the fire had started building and the wind was beginning
    to shift. GM Lookout recognized the fire had hit the first trigger
    point established for his safety. After informing the GMIHC Captain,
    GM Lookout moved towards the open area at the old grader. The
    GMIHC Captain received the information relatively calmly.
    As the GM Lookout hiked toward the grader, he noted the options
    open to himself including an alternate lookout spot further up the
    road, a possible shelter deployment site near the grader, and a
    little clearing just down from his original lookout spot where he could
    deploy his fire shelter if needed. The BRIHC Superintendent was
    driving back to meet DIVS A for a face-to-face meeting. He met with
    the GM Lookout as he reached the grader. (4)
    Footnote (4) ADOSH Interview with GM Lookout.

    * DATE: December 5, 2013 – ADOSH report – Says 1550 ( 3:50 PM )

    Page 18 of ADOSH report…

    At approximately 1550 hours, McDonough noticed that the fire
    head, which had been steadily progressing northwards, had
    switched directions, was approximately two miles wide, and
    burning southward towards his position. The fire had reached
    his trigger point just to the north of his lookout position.
    McDonough radioed his supervisor GMIHC Captain Steed and
    explained that the fire had reached his trigger point and
    he was leaving. Steed confirmed the message and could
    see the fire and McDonough in the valley below his position.
    McDonough hiked south while looking for a reasonable location
    to deploy his shelter should he become entrapped. He made
    his way to the old abandoned grader at the dozer line where
    brush had been cleared earlier that day. During his interview
    ( with ADOSH investigators and with his lawyer present ), he
    stated the he believed this area to be his best option as a
    safety zone. His other option was to hike up the steep
    mountain slope to previously burned wildland

    • jeff i says

      Re-read your post, you have 3 different times mentioned, from the comfort of your own home… And your surprised that McDonough is confused in an interview situation??

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Yea… I goofed on some of the 24 hour time format
        translations in parentheses and such. Typing too fast.
        If I could edit the post I would.

        Calvin is also right… I even left out some OTHER
        reports from McDonough about when this happened.

        Read the actual ‘report’ text… however.
        That’s the information we are being asked to believe.

        When do YOU believe he left his lookout post?

        Who ( or what report ) do YOU believe?

  53. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to calvin post on December 18, 2013 at 9:07 am

    >> calvin wrote…
    >>
    >> WTKTT, Thanks for taking the time to review the parker
    >> photo. I appreciate the great description in your comment.
    >> As I look at this picture again I see the tan spot (clearing).
    >> There appears to be something white on the west end, it is
    >> not very clear but distinctive against the bright tan spot. I am
    >> asking because, according to BR interview notes, (p8)….Get
    >> to the trucks Brian gets GM with only minutes before the fire
    >> would have been on them. The picture by Parker does not
    >> show fire in proximity to the GM buggy parking area and BR
    >> indicate moving them just before burnover. You would think
    >> the GM buggies would still be in the parking area when parker
    >> picture is taken based on the ONLY interviews given by BR.
    >> Also, are the names Big and Little roundtop on the map or
    >> have they been identified elsewhere as such? Thanks

    calvin… have you seen the photos in the ADOSH media supplement that were
    taken by Brendan McDonough himself ( and time stamped by ADOSH )?

    He took a few of them at the exact moment you are describing… right after
    Brian Frisby ( BR Supt ) had dropped him off back at the GM vehicles.

    We can be SURE that is where he is because one of the photos in the
    sequence was taken as Brendan was standing on the gunwale of the GM
    Supervisor Truck and was shot to the north looking over the roof of the
    truck itself.

    What is REALLY confusing here ( and you are correct to notice it ) is that
    these pictures do NOT match what is shown in the Parker photo and the
    timestamp that the SAIT put on that Parker photo.

    This could have a lot to do with the other lingering issue I know you have been
    working on and that is the 1445 versus 1545 time discrepancy as to when
    Brendan actually left his lookout spot.

    You are right. Brendan has now said it was 1445 in two separate interviews.

    That is a full HOUR earlier than any official report says it happened.

    Could Brendan really have been that confused that day?

    I suppose his own weather reports that he was ‘spinning’ during his
    lookout duties would tell us that.

    I wonder if the SAIT ever bothered to obtain those (documents) from him
    or the Prescott Fire Department?

    If they did… then I imagine copies of those actual weather reports he was
    ‘spinning’, ( and the actual times he was writing down ) could/should be part
    of the SAIT FOIA/FOIL package.

    We shall see.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Followup: Forgot to answer your last question.

      The names ‘Little Round Top’ and ‘Big Round Top’ are simply the
      names I have been giving to those landscape features here in
      my own notes about the photographic evidence from that day.

      I do not know if those mounds out there have official ‘names’
      or even informal ones used by any local hikers.

  54. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** ARTICLES FROM TODAY

    Just as a quick reference… here are the articles covering the important
    things that have happened just today alone…

    ** BREAKING NEWS: 12 Hotshot families file claims against public entities
    The Prescott Daily Courier – 12/19/2013 2:30:00 PM
    http://www.dcourier.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=126569&utm_source=&utm_medium=&utm_campaign=

    ** City of Prescott and Arizona State Forestry reject Yarnell Fire claims and fines
    December 19, 2013 by Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today
    http://wildfiretoday.com/2013/12/19/city-of-prescott-and-arizona-state-forestry-reject-yarnell-fire-claims-and-fines/

    ** State Forestry contests hotshot safety citations and fines
    Prescott Daily Courier – 12/19/2013 12:10:00 PM
    http://www.dcourier.com/main.asp?FromHome=1&TypeID=1&ArticleID=126566&SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&utm_source=&utm_medium=&utm_campaign=

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Mr. Dougherty himself also published an article about the
      events of today…

      ** Twelve Granite Mountain Hotshot Families File
      ** Wrongful Death Claims Seeking $237.5 Million
      http://www.investigativemedia.com/twelve-granite-mountain-hotshot-families-file-wrongful-death-claims-seeking-237-5-million/

      I know that the City of Prescott is only ONE of the defendants
      named in all the suits… but just to put the $237.5 million
      dollar number into perspective…

      The entire estimated financial resources available to the city of
      Prescott, Arizona for the year 2014 is $230,161,910.

      That’s $7.4 million dollars LESS than the amounts named
      in the suits filed today.

      • mike says

        In addition to the entities named in the claim, there were 4 individuals named – IC Roy Hall, OPS1 Abel, Russ Shumate (first IC) and Darrell Willis. Shumate named due to the ineffective IA obviously. Hall named because he was in charge. Anything to be read into this list? Anyone not on the list that might have been there? Willis is named because….?

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Willis was the Wildland Division Chief for the
          Prescott Fire Department, and was instrumental
          in creating, organizing, and maintaining the only
          Type 1 Hotshot team in the country wholly owned
          and operated by a Municipal Fire Department.

          Regardless of his actions on June 30, 2013
          ( which are mostly still a mystery and also
          complicated by contradictory statements
          of his own )…

          …Willis was ultimately responsible for things
          like training programs and certification for
          that crew.

          We also now learn from the SAIT notes that
          it was Brendan McDonough himself who
          was supposedly the ‘squad leader’ that took
          his ‘squad’ off to ‘tie into the cold black’ after
          Air Attack ( Rory Collins ) dropped retardant
          on their own backfires ( on purpose? ) and
          they had to ‘change tactics’ and ‘go direct’.

          Since when is someone who is only in their
          SECOND fire season qualified to be a
          ‘squad leader’?

          Did Willis accept the ‘assignment’ even though
          these men were dog-tired and really shouldn’t
          have even been in Yarnell that day?

          Do things like this all come back to Willis and
          his own ‘competency’?

          I guess we will find out now.

          • mike says

            I guess I was asking if you think that Willis was being named for his actions before 6/30 or on 6/30? What we know FOR SURE of his actions on 6/30 probably does not justify a claim, at least by the families of the GMHS (maybe by others?).

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              I think it all ties together. The entire handling of the fire from the lightning strike to the deployment is the center of the lawsuits and not just 6/30.

              Willis was there the night before 6/30
              at 11:30 PM. He was basically ‘Co-IC’
              with Shumate throughout the night and
              so is responsible for a lot of the planning and the results the next day.

              Then there is the day itself, of course.

              Then there are all the questions about not just the WFF culture in general, but the peculiar culture of Granite Mountain itself.

              Then there are the ( documented ) things like (perhaps) faking a certification document and refusing to cooperate with Marsh when all he was trying to do was maintain full-time benefits for one of the 7 required full-time positions ( Ashcraft ).

              Then there is the (supposed) ‘suggestions’ to Marsh… at least once but maybe multiple times that day and perhaps at ultra-critical moments.

              Example: Don’t you think it’s strange that, at the public press conference at the deployment site, Willis used the phrase “I wasn’t REALLY involved with what they (GM) were doing.”

              Really?

              Why even use that word?
              It’s suspicious.

              What that means is that he WAS
              ‘involved’… but only sorta-kinda.

              If he wasn’t involved at all he would
              have just said…

              “I wasn’t involved with what they were doing.”

              There would be on REALLY in there.

              Anyway… the list goes on and on.

              I actually shudder to think how
              MUCH Darrell Willis might have had
              to do with this entire Yarnell Hill
              Fire… from soup to nuts.

              He had that kind of personality to be throwing his weight around all over the place. You can hear it in his radio transmissions captured in the Globe Type II Crew videos.

              So yea… I am not surprised at all that Darrell Willis is named in the suits. He is a KEY player in everything that happened with the Yarnell Hill Fire.

              • Calvin says

                Tony Sciacca said…..I was only on scene 2 hours. I got a call from Peyson dispatch at 13:55 for a Safety Officer. Arrived at the middle school 50-55 minutes later and tied in with RH and Paul Musser there. Divison Chief, Daryl Willis painted the picture about what was going on. P51 Yarnell Interview Notes (YIN)
                WTKTT….. It seems like Chief Willis is still playing Co-IC later in the day.

  55. Bob Powers says

    There was a lot of evidence including tracks, had the right investigation team been called, and the area secured. That’s what happened on North Canyon, a fire fatality investigation teem should have been on site. Not the sheriff’s department to much evidence and information was lost because they did not know what they were looking for and what was valuable information.

  56. The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

    Well, it’s apparent now, that any truth that’s out there, WILL indeed come out. It might take a while, BUT IT”S GOING TO HAPPEN. 12 Hotshot families have now filed suit against the ‘powers that be’, and I think it’s VERY apparent that as well as some changes in policy, they want the truth!! See the new Dougherty IM article above.

    • Bob Powers says

      We knew it was coming after the Last investigation. Not knowing who I would say its all the seasonal crewmen families. Unless the survivors of the permanent employee’s did not sign off on there benefits.

  57. Bob Powers says

    My mistake found the article. Outside Mag. Kyle Dickman.
    The statement was—The crew stated over the radio they were moving to Yarnell. That is the first time some one said that they heard radio traffic stating that. It sounded like it was made by McDonough.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Bob Powers post on Dec 19, 2013 at 2:43 pm

      I believe I have figured this one out.

      Please correct me if I am wrong.

      The quote you have been referring to is not from a NEW article
      at all, as you first described it a few days ago.

      It is probably from either the original Kyle Dickman article
      based on his interviews with Brendan McDonough dated
      Tuesday, Sepetember 17, 2013…

      Outside Magazine
      Tuesday, September 17, 2013
      19: The True Story of the Yarnell Fire
      By Kyle Dickman based on interviews with Brendan McDonough
      http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/YarnellFire.html

      OR…

      It came from Mr. Bill Gabbert’s ‘article about another article’ that
      he does a lot which covered the same Kyle Dickman article
      and appeared on his Wildfire today site on the same exact day…

      Outside Magazine covers the Yarnell Hill Fire
      September 17, 2013 by Bill Gabbert, Wildfire Today
      http://wildfiretoday.com/2013/09/17/outside-magazine-covers-the-yarnell-hill-fire/

      The following is Mr. Gabbert describing exactly what is also
      in the Kyle Dickman ( Outside Magazine ) article…

      >> With conditions changing so dramatically, Eric and the
      >> crew’s leadership—[acting crew superintendent Captain
      >> Jesse] Steed, Clayton [Whitted], Travis [Carter], Robert
      >> [Caldwell]—would have gathered for a moment on the ridge
      >> to discuss their options while the other hotshots sat perched
      >> on white granite boulders watching the drama unfold.
      >>
      >> Do we hunker down in the black and do nothing but watch
      >> Yarnell burn? Or do we head down there, do some point
      >> protection, and try to save a couple of homes?
      >>
      >> Eric would have made the decision.
      >>
      >> He couldn’t have imagined that, by heading for town, he
      >> was leading his crew toward a series of increasingly
      >> compromised circumstances, each more desperate than
      >> the last.
      >>
      >> He (Eric) radioed out that Granite Mountain was moving
      >> back toward Yarnell.”

      So right there is ( I believe ) the ‘quote’ in question.

      That is actually ( word for word ) what was in the original
      Kyle Dickman article.

      The lingering question is… is that what Brendan McDonough
      REALLY told Mr. Dickman he heard Eric Marsh say during their
      interviews… or is this quote ( republished word for word by Mr.
      Gabbert ) just a victim of Mr. Dickman’s obvious ‘interpretive
      narrative’ style in his original article?

      We don’t know. ( but it would be nice to know, fer sure ).

      I have no idea how this quote turned into Brendan McDonough
      himself saying that Eric announced they were ‘headed for the
      Helms’ ranch’.

      I really don’t think Eric Marsh could have possibly said that
      ( since it is almost certain Marsh had no idea that afternoon
      who owned that ranch ) nor, in turn, could Brendan have ever
      HEARD him say that.

      I think the ‘Helms’ ranch’ thing becoming part of that reported
      quote from Brendan is/was just another ‘lost in the interpretation’
      moment.

      All that being said… it would still be nice to know EXACTLY
      what Brendan told Mr. Kyle Dickman he heard over the radio.

      If Mr. Dickman actually heard Brendan say he heard Marsh
      say “We are moving back toward Yarnell” over the radio…
      then 2 official investigations and 60+ investigators didn’t get
      the same information from Brendan.

      • Bob Powers says

        WTKTT That’s what I was trying to explain. I was not sure either if it is just righter flair or something that was really heard. As we have been searching for a radio statement that GM was moving to Yarnell. We will need some real conformation on this one.

        • Bob Powers says

          Another Question if the GM crew lived and worked in that area (Yarnell ), Would some of them not known the name of the ranch?. It would seem possible. Could that be ruled out?

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Yes. It’s possible. A few people have suggested over the last few weeks that ‘personal ties’ might have even had something to do with the decision to leave the black… but no one has ever followed up on that. Best I could do was discover that while Chief Dan Andersen ( who lives in Glen Ilah ) knows Darrell Willis… I don’t think there were near friendly enough for Willis to instruct ‘his’ crew to try and go save Anderson’s house.

            There is also just the chance of ‘familiarity’ such as the fact that Jesse Steed was a ‘runner’ and he even ran in some marathon event right there in the Yarnell area not long before the burnover.

            So yea… it’s POSSIBLE that someone on that crew knew that the ‘bomb-proof ranch’,
            AKA Boulder Springs Ranch…

            was also known as ‘The Helms’ place’…

            …but my money is on black for this spin
            of the roulette wheel. I do NOT believe
            anyone in the fire command and on the
            radio channels that day knew it was
            referred to by the locals as ‘The Helms’
            place’.

            This is just a ‘wrap-up’ of what I think is
            a ‘moot’ discussion since I think we’ve
            proved Brendan himself did NOT ever
            say he heard Marsh say ‘Helms’ ranch’…

            …but as with a lot of things regarding this
            incident and the evidence floating around…
            this issue MIGHT come up AGAIN.

  58. Bob Powers says

    I t was a reference to an article in a magazine that an ex Hot Shot writer did that interviewed several families and Brendan McDonough. It could have been referenced by Tex and Joy.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      What magazine?

      The significant thing about the quote ( and I posted about this
      last night but it evaporated ) is that Brendan is ( apparently )
      quoted as saying he heard them say they were “going to
      the Helms’ ranch.”

      The curious thing there is that the Helms’ ranch was ONLY
      being referred to that day as either “that bomb-proof ranch”
      or its topo map name of “Boulder Springs Ranch”.

      The fact that the ranch actually belonged to Lee and DJ Helm
      only emerged sometime AFTER the incident.

      The local hikers Tex Gilligan and Joy Collura certainly knew
      Lee and DJ Helm and they would have referred to it as
      the ‘Helms’ place’… but both have testified numerous times
      now that even though they talked to Marsh THREE times
      that morning/afternoon… there was NEVER any mention
      of any ‘ranch’ ( by ANY name ). Marsh never asked… and
      they never talked about it.

      The SAIR would have us believe they did… and even tried
      to get us to swallow some story about the hikers actually
      discussing the ‘alternate escape route’. We all know now
      why the SAIT had to ‘make that up’. They knew they
      were lying about all that being discussed in the ‘brieifings’,
      yet they had to find some plausible way to make us all
      think that Marsh/Steed were aware that the ridge-road
      went all the way to the ranch. If they didn’t… then that
      would have been an obvious fatal oversight on any
      number of persons’ part. So they used the hikers as
      the excuse for making us believe their story.

      Regardless… my point here is that for Brendan McDonough
      to say he heard ‘Helms Ranch’ coming out of the mouths
      of Marsh/Steed is not in the ‘believable’ range.

      No one in the command structure that day ( Marsh and Steed
      included ) knew that was what the locals called the place.

      Something is very ‘wrong’ there, and needs to be looked at.

      • Elizabeth says

        WTKTT: The SAIR FOIA package includes an e-mail from Joy confirming that she told Marsh about their alternative escape route DOWN the backside of the mountain to Congress. The “escape route” she discussed with Marsh was not to Helms, but, again, toward Congress.

        FYI, I have not been refusing to share the FOIA/FOIL materials – they just have not all arrived yet. Plus, I have been busy on an unrelated project (which is why I have not been posting or reading much), but I will post when I have the materials in hand!

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Elizabeth… thank you.

          Re: ‘Escape Route’

          Yes… Joy Collura posted heavily to ‘chapter 1’
          of this ongoing discussion to make it clear
          what she did or didn’t say to Marsh.

          When Joy first appeared posting on this
          discussion over a month ago… it was the first
          question I asked her and she kindly replied right
          away.

          Here is a ‘cut-and-paste’ from ‘chapter 1’ of
          this discussion thread…

          >> On November 18, 2013 at 7:00 pm
          >> Joy A Collura said…
          >>
          >> WTKTT asked…
          >> At any time during any of your encounters
          >> with Eric Marsh that day… did you ever get
          >> the impression that he KNEW the high ridge
          >> road that headed south would eventually take
          >> him right to a point near the Boulder Springs
          >> Ranch?
          >>
          >> Joy responded…
          >> NO.
          >>
          >> HE ASKED US THE BEST WAY TO THE
          >> FIRE AND HE SEEM TO NOT KNOW
          >> THE AREA TOO WELL.
          >>
          >> WTKTT also asked…
          >> Did ‘the ranch’ ever come up at all?
          >>
          >> Joy responded…
          >> NO.

          She also said they ONLY told them which way
          THEY were going to go, which was to leave
          the two-track road and bounce down on
          the Congress side back over towards
          where their ( Tex and Joy ) vehicles were
          parked over near Candy Cane Lane.

          In retrospect… even though the Boulder Springs
          Ranch was NEVER discussed… if Marsh had
          simply recalled what Joy had told her… and
          he and Steed had just decided to go that ‘third
          alternate’ way… those 19 men would still be
          alive today like Joy and Tex are.

          Re: FOIA

          I never suggested you were ‘refusing’ to do
          anything… I only said we ‘hadn’t heard from you’.

          LOL. We all have lives.

          I just hope most/all of that information becomes
          public somehow… someday.

          Besides… this thing isn’t going away.

          As the events of today alone have proved… this
          incident is going to be examined in detail for
          a long, long, time.

  59. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    >> calvin asked…
    >> WTKTT… regarding Globe Type 2 Crew Video #4…
    >> Is that VLAT number 910 or 911?

    My best guess is 910, but cannot verify that 100 percent.

    The rear engine cowling with the number on it only comes into view
    starting at +22 seconds.

    The best view of that cowling comes at +25 seconds.

    Enhancement of the frame(s) in the +25 to +27 second range SEEM
    to indicate a ZERO and not a ONE on the end of the number there.

    The video is too grainy to be 100 percent sure. Must have been an iPhone.

    The other piece of evidence to back up the 910 assumption is that
    VLATs 910 and 911 have slightly different rear engine exhaust flange
    configurations.

    The video seems to show that the exhaust flange configuration is
    closer to VLAT 910 than VLAT 911.

    • Bob Powers says

      When I got cut off awhile back John got me back on and said my posts were going into the spam mail. May have happened to you last night non of mine were reposted.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Everything I posted last night was fully ‘accepted’ and
        visible before I signed off. No ‘spam’ filter involved.

        Re: Your “Let’s get back on track” message yesterday.

        I agree… and I almost posted an evaluation I have done
        here of the TIME stamps in the recent video of the
        ‘final moments of GM’… but I hesitate to do that until
        I can see the ENTIRE video.

        Both Mr. Dougherty and Elizabeth have indicated they
        received their SAIT FOIA/FOIL packages last Monday.

        We’ve heard nothing from either of them since.

        I’d rather wait until the REAL (unedited) video(s) are
        somehow publicly available before I say anything
        about the TIME stamps.

        That AZREPUBLIC video release last Friday was
        butchered.

        So I hear you about ‘moving forward’… but a whole bunch
        of other ‘evidence’ is (supposedly) about to be made
        public… so I think we are just ‘back-drafting’ at the
        moment.

        By the way… a lot of the posts that disappeared last
        night were requests to YOU to please provide a link
        to that ‘recent interview with Brendan McDonough’
        you mention where you say he says he heard the
        crew say they were ‘going to the Helms’ ranch’.

        I have searched everywhere online and can find no
        such article. Where did you read/see this?

        • Bob Powers says

          I believe it was on here that I viewed it. The article was a x FF now writer that interviewed Brendon with excerpts from wife’s and families. Some of the statements seemed really off in what happened and time frames. I’ll look back and let you know where and reread it.

  60. The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

    My post requesting a reference to the apparently recent release of comments from Brendon, specifically referencing the Helm’s ranch has disappeared. I would still like to obtain that, if someone could supply it.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      A large number of posts from yesterday have disappeared
      including some new photographic evidence and more
      analysis of existing ones. I’ll try to re-post my replies to
      calvin’s ( good ) questions about some of the photographs
      and the fact that Brendan is still claiming he left his lookout
      post at 1445 instead of 1545.

      • mike says

        About 40 posts were gone this AM at home, but then were there at work. Now they are gone from both computers. I think we are stressing this site’s capacity.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Mr. Powers… see above for a ‘reply’ to your
            post about the tape/flagging. There is a
            photograph to back up your theory. I posted
            a link to it last night but that’s one of the
            comments that evaporated so I have
            posted it again on your original comment.

    • J. Stout says

      Reply to TTWARE regarding disappearing posts:

      Am astonished to see just how many posts have been removed. (And no explanation for this event, either.) If this kind of thing has happened before, I’ve apparently not been cognizant of it. I’m a little taken aback by this — especially when considering the type of post you had submitted.

  61. NV says

    One point that had resurfaced prior to some thread pruning was the possibility of past bad decisions with good outcomes. Conceptually, these are difficult training issues because the people making them often aren’t aware they are bad decisions. There is also no tree nearly hitting anyone or another more visible type of near miss. Past bushwhacks would be simply past trips through the brush, unless someone sprains a knee or there is a more serious problem. This may not be the place to talk specifics, but I believe giving info on any bad decisions with good outcomes in the past to Dougherty could be a way of collecting this in a way that allows for vetting.

    • Bob Powers says

      I hope crew Supt. will sit down and discuss that very thing. I know RTS has brought that up and I am sure he will add to the discussion when Superintendents sit down to work out a training agenda. As well I hope the others who are still WFF.

    • Bob Powers says

      Thanks those of us that are fire fighters and those that are not learned a lot from the article’s. One of there staff has been assigned to fire coverage for 10 years and she does a great job of reporting in southern Idaho. There 30 min. video documentary covered North canyon and Yarnell hill they were well put together I’ll let every body know if you can order it. I lost two old friends on North Canyon.

  62. Bob Powers says

    We seem to be chasing rabbits the past couple of days we need to get back on track.
    1. The new time frames from the helmet cam. That was just produced and what that dose to the fire progression charts and time frame for the crew.
    2. The new article with interview with Brendon that stated he said the crew said they were headed to the Helms ranch.
    3. The statement by Willis that he felt a little guilt about GM entrapment as he had asked them to help him tie in line, Some have said that happened in the morning. Could it have happened again when the fire started making its run’s
    4. Radio traffic was occurring with GM the time of silence has been reduced by 6 Min. not including Brendon’s Discussion of where the trucks were parked.

    As we research maybe more. We need to start working on things we can get answers on that clear up some of the confusion or investigative information that is turning out to be wrong.
    Thanks sorry if that upsets anyone. I am open for new input.

    • NV says

      Regarding the Willis conversation about getting “an anchor on this thing” around Yarnell, is there a possibility “0600” which has been suggested as roughly the time this conversation occurred was really roughly 1600? I apologize if I am raising something that has already been nailed down. It just seems out of context for Willis to have been pressing or asking Marsh before Marsh was there, in a way he felt guilt over later, at that time in the morning. But, over the course of the day, at 1600 the conversation would seem to reflect the course of the day’s events. It is easy for people to make a completely innocuous error in noting times. And of course, it could also have been a general statement made in the morning, even if a bit out of context.

      • Bob Powers says

        I think there is something hear that was my summation as well. Why would you say any thing about quilt for something said in the morning? Seems to be a very loose comment.

  63. Bob Powers says

    Quick one on flagging- possibly Steed was bringing up the rear and Marsh was back further. Steed wrapped a bush with flagging and the roll was almost out so he left it attached to the flagging, to indicate where they dropped off. several explanations any could be correct. One of those little details we will never know.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Bob Powers post on December 18, 2013 at 9:56 am

      Mr Powers… as it turns out… there WERE some small bushes
      right there by the side of the road where Tex Gilligan found
      the depleted roll of pink tape/flagging..

      At least that is what satellite imagery from April 9, 2013 seems
      to indicate.

      So your proposal is a valid theory… along with the other recent
      one about a standard ‘arrow’ being used at that location.

      Joy Collura took ‘before’ an ‘after’ pictures from up on that
      saddle. I will check them to see what they might show.

      I certainly don’t expect to find any evidence of ‘melted tape’
      remaining on any bushes that might have been there…but
      Joy Collura uses a very high-res camera so you never know.

      As with most things in this incident… it never hurts to
      recheck evidence a second ( or a third, fourth, fifth… ) time.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        FOUND it! ( Well, sort of ).

        One of Joy Collura’s ‘after’ photos was taken at almost
        the exact location the pink tape/flagging was found.

        Problem is… she was standing about 6 feet to the left
        of that exact location and whatever small ‘bush’ might
        have been there is out-of-frame to the right.

        However… look at the very bottom of this photograph.
        It DOES show the remnants of a small bush right
        in front of the camera and right by the side of the
        two-track. It appears to be about waist-high and
        would match any other small bush at that location
        off to the left or right.

        So it apparently might have been an ideal ‘small bush’
        for leaving some kind of obvious ‘signal’ for someone
        coming up from behind.

        That photograph is HERE on Collura’s ZAZZLE page…

        http://www.zazzle.com/rlv/isapi/designall.dll?action=getimage&id=397980bc-c7a5-48ce-80b5-061e660b584b&bg=0xffffff

        ** POSSIBLE ALTERNATE DEPLOYMENT SITES

        Something I hadn’t notice before in this photograph.

        The deployment area and the dozer road leading to it
        are clearly visible as the ‘tan dirt’ areas in the distance.

        However… look just a short ways closer to the camera,
        about a hundred feet WEST of the deployment site.

        The photo shows TWO other relatively UNBURNED
        areas. Those are NOT places where the investigators
        cleared ground. Those are the actual remnants of
        two of the clearings that existed prior to the burnover
        and lined up due west of the deployment site.

        So… did GM actually choose the WRONG place to
        deploy down there?

        If they had just ‘backed up’ a hundred feet or so to
        either one of these other ‘clearings’ that look
        relatively ‘unburned’… would they have survived?

        This photographic evidence actually matches the
        statements in the article you just posted from
        your own local paper where the ‘expert’ ( who has
        visited the site ) was wondering the same thing
        himself.

        • Rocksteady says

          Hindsight is 20/20.

          When you are trying to find a deployment site and the fire is bearing down on you, in a panic, you don’t have the luxury of assessing tge pros and cons of each site.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            There is also still no evidence of exactly
            what path they took to wind up where
            they were found. If they had come through
            the series of ‘clearings’ that line up west
            of the deployment site on the way DOWN,
            then they would have already had a good
            mental image of the ‘clearings’ that
            were available to them.

            If they really did bushwack their way
            through the drainage gully… then they
            probably wouldn’t have even been
            aware these other ‘clearings’ were
            available to them.

            The SAIT did a piss-poor job of actually
            even trying to identify the exact route
            that was taken. They just ‘guessed’ and
            then drew a line on a topo chart.

            • xxfullsailxx says

              i’m not sure you can say “there is no evidence” of the path. twenty people with packs and tools walking in a line kick up quite a bit of dirt. i’ll bet their tracks were very evident once the fire slicked off the hillside and i would imagine someone GPS’ed the track. although the SAIR says that they don’t know the exact path of travel, someone walked a very squiggly line through the box canyon for the maps. i have a hard time believing there weren’t a heavy set of tracks through there.

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                I AGREE with everything you are saying above as far as what ‘evidence’ anyone could imagine SHOULD have been left there. Even Tex Gilligan ( the hiker ) says there was some obvious evidence of the path they took including evidence of chainsaw work OUTSIDE of the deployment area… but he also says no one he ever took on a hike-through was ever all that interested.

                Problem is… we have never gotten ANY details on that ( what evidence there was or wasn’t… or if any ‘official’ attempt at all was ever made to observe, photograph, or collect it ).

                I can ‘imagine’ all kinds of things. I still want to know what ‘official’ effort was really made to discover the truth, and the details of those findings.

                The ‘squiggly line’ is the same
                one that would be drawn by anyone working off either a topo map or Google Maps if they just ‘assumed’ they followed the gully itself, with no evidence to actually back that up.

                To say that the line of men just descended in the actual gully does not account for the roll of pink tape/flagging that was found by Tex Gilligan. It was found quite some distance south of where the SAIR diagrams indicate they ‘think’ the men left the road. Tex Gilligan tried to contact the SAIT about this when he found it but didn’t get any response from them. Didn’t “fit their story” so they weren’t interested.

                I believe ADOSH responded to Tex about ‘finding the tape/flagging’… but there is no real ‘evidence’ of the path taken by the men presented in their report, either.

              • xxfullsailxx says

                i think you need to get a job with dougherty, putnam, or maclean… at least then you might have access to some real evidence instead of conjecturing your way through this.

                i’ve seen your various discussions about the spent roll of pink flagging, i personally think all it means is someone dropped a spent roll of flagging. there’s no reason to think it was marking anything.

                you can make up whatever conspiracies you want i guess, but i have a hard time imagining that after they found the bodies, someone didn’t start doing some GPS’ing… to me, that’s what that squiggly line is on the maps. that’s also often how firelines get put on maps, by somebody walking the line with a GPS.

                • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                  Well.. again… I certainly would expect any investigators worth their salt to have done that… and perhaps that documented evidence is actually in the SAIT FOIA/FOIL package(s).

                  As for the tape/flagging thing… I don’t think you have read what you say you have read. This is NOT what I ( personally ) think happened.

                  You DO know that this discussion is simply a ‘continuation’ of a previous discussion that was going on for weeks before you showed up, right?

                  We maxed out the comment thread on the previous ‘chapter’ and Mr. Dougherty requested we continue it here. See the top of this thread for a link to the ‘first part’ of this ongoing research/commenting.

                  • xxfullsailxx says

                    oh yes, i’ve read through most of your tail chasing back there too. really love the accusatory stance you took with Blue Ridge and the posting of their phone numbers… and the B.McDonahue having a cheeseburger while his crew was dying was cute too.

  64. NV says

    @Mike who’d asked “If this very fine crew super messed up and crew supers absolutely control their crew’s safety, how do we prevent a repeat of this? Do we just stop at “mistakes were made” or is there a step beyond that?” In terms of lessons learned, one should be that crew supers don’t live in vacuums. That Marsh didn’t cert to the crew’s status earlier in the year, when pressed to do so in that email exchange between him and Willis, speaks to his character but also to pressures he was under.

    We obviously don’t know, yet, conclusively, whether someone spoke with Marsh following Musser’s request. But, I do think a crew with some of these issues was more likely to be involved in an incident like the Yarnell entrapment than one without them.

    Likewise, Willis was using what sounds like a likely inadequate possible deployment site and no safety zone that day, separate from the GM crew. GM’s lookout cut things close and could have had to deploy, had BR not run into him, in what again would likely not have been a survivable incident. I think there’s a real training issue there, and again think that seeing these things tied together with personnel out of Prescott makes an entrapment more likely to occur. Enough close calls and inevitably someone gets bit.

    We also still don’t know, and may never, if there was a past history of bushwhacks that happened without incident. Unburned has obviously been a big topic of discussion online, but in this case the chaparral particularly limited mobility and choices and was costly in terms of time.

    • Bob Powers says

      Very well said NV—Even without the state or investigations saying any thing there are a lot of lessons to be learned.
      1. back to the basic 10 and 18 full discussion.
      2. Fire shelter deployment sites your not always able to preplan those sites as they are a last minuet selection.
      3. Fire shelter survivability HEAT and OXIGON
      4. Always scout Safety zones and escape routes The closer the better.
      5. Unburned fuel when is it ok and when is it bad— LCES in place???
      6. Meetings to discuss and establish a training outline for all fire fighters next summer.
      There are thins that stand out on this fire for lessons learned.

  65. Gary Olson says

    Oh, and one more thing. Go back and read the original article John Dougherty wrote where he quoted me more than everyone else combined, and then compare that to what ADOSH said, I ******* NAILED IT from my living room almost before they finished moping up that ******* Circus of Fire ran by a bunch of Circus Clowns that was defended by a bunch of agency political appointees and hacks for Christ’s sake. I wish I had you on my hotshot crew back in the day!

    • Gary Olson says

      Oh, and one more thing, I am done with this circular discussion. I know more than I need to know. I am just going to wait until the families of the Granite Mountain Hotshots get to rename this ******* cheap ass fight-wildfires-on-a-shoestring-with-the-culls-from-professional wildfire teams state because they own it!

  66. Gary Olson says

    xxfullsailxx said “the fact is, you ARE looking for a smoking gun. whether it be air attack flying off the fire, a div sup leaving the line, confusion from too many ops. section chief’s or a dictator/hypnotist Division Chief “ordering” Granite Mountain off the hill.”

    Actually, I was looking for a way to explain the inexplicable. So…maybe I should just go along with your thoughts on this subject. In spite of the fact that Eric Marsh and Jesse Steed had extensive experiences as wildland firefighters at many levels and were really squared away crew bosses, they misread a predicted weather event, broke almost every rule in the book that has been developed over the last 100 years of wildland firefighting to keep firefighters safe, while taking their crew through unburned fuel in front of a raging out-of-control wildfire burning in extreme conditions, through dry explosive fuel that hadn’t burned in 40 years while ignoring all of the obvious facts of the explosive situation that John Q. Public (Tex) recognized as a extremely dangerous situation and he and Joy went the other way while they disobeyed a direct order from one supervisor while giving out disingenuous information on their radios to everyone regarding their true direction of travel and intentions etc., etc., etc., which resulted in the worst blunder and subsequent single loss of life in the history of wildland firefighting (not counting the Idaho Fires of 1910, which I have explained, don’t really count) FOR NO GOOD ******* REASON other than the fact they had been working their asses off all day and wanted to get back to their buggies and reengage a fire Tex and Joy could see was just about to obliterate the collection of indefensible structures in that ****hole they call Yarnell? Does this explanation satisfy you? I can hardly wait to study the Lessons Learned for the Yarnell Hill Fire Staff Ride that is going to be developed by the NWCG! I hope they use you as a Subject Matter Expert since you know so ******* much and I am just a stupid used-to-be wildland firefighter who doesn’t understand the complexities of working with other agencies and the public in this current world since I retired as a Supervisory Senior Special Agent working for the Washington Office of the federal land management agency that just happens to manage more federal land than all other federal land management agencies combined. How the **** to you think I got there from being a GS-464-Forestry Technician for Christ’s sake with my head up my ass, don’t answer that, I’m not sure myself anymore.

    • xxfullsailxx says

      hard for me to believe too… but even after the exhaustive effort presented on this website… that does seem to be the case. noone besides marsh and/or steed decided to leave the black and walk the crew out.

      thanks for all your input!

    • Hey, Gary! says

      Gary, hi. I have a small piece of info (actual info as opposed to conjecture) that I wanted to share with the group, but I’m only gonna do it if YOU promise to jump in and give the smackdown if xxfullsailxx tries to snark on me regarding my piece of info shared….
      Eagerly awaiting your reply….

      • xxfullsailxx says

        yes, by all means, don’t let me hold you back Elizabeth.

        there’s plenty of people here who will defend you against my snarkyness!

      • Gary Olson says

        Right on, if I can give an appropriate smack-down, I will be happy to do it. Oh, and by the say xxfullsaixx, thank you for downloading A FREE copy of chapter one of my book, “Betrayed By Our Fire Gods” from ourfiregods.com. I hope you learn something from the old school way of doing things.

        • xxfullsailxx says

          yes, of course! was wondering about checking out your jeep website too… when you have the chance you mind emailing a link?

          • Gary Olson says

            Certainly, I need all of the hits I can get, I will also send you a link to my road trip web site. Thank you for asking.

      • xxfullsailxx says

        just re-iterating my reply from yesterday…

        gary was NOT agreeing with me… i’d say he was being sarcastic in recommending me as a SME for a Lesson’s Learned…

        your confusion is pretty funny though!

  67. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** IS ROBERT CALDWELL’S VOICE ACTUALLY
    ** RECORDED IN THE ‘LAST MOMENTS’ VIDEO/AUDIO?

    A possibly very significant piece of new information appeared
    just last night and it spurred some interesting discussion
    today… so for the sake of recording more detail… here is
    the exact ‘piece of evidence’ that ( might have ) emerged.

    A standard Facebook ‘group’ comment from Amanda Marsh
    about how painful it was to hear Eric’s voice on the video
    was posted last evening.

    That original post from Amanda Marsh is here…

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/595705917126991/permalink/677629595601289/

    The beginning of Amanda Marsh’s post reads…

    >> In Memory of Our Good Friend, Eric Marsh
    >> Its very disturbing to me and hurtful to know that people can
    >> hear Eric’s stressed, scared voice on the radio. How sad that
    >> people, other than family and fire officials feel the need to listen
    >> to the last transmissions. The more energy we put towards
    >> this, it just fuels… (More)…

    That ‘letter’ was then ‘replicated’ on another Facebook page which is here…

    19 Prescott Firefighter’s Last Alarm
    13,391 likes · 1,142 talking about this
    https://www.facebook.com/PrescottFallenFirefighters

    People started to comment back to Amanda on THAT page
    and this is the exact text of just ONE of the 45 or so
    comments that appeared…

    Laurie McKee Sutton
    Amanda I totally relate – Robert’s voice is on there too – It is not how we
    want to remember him – It is so painful – Thank you for saying how I
    feel – love ya soul sister xoxox

    Laurie McKee Sutton is Grant Quinn McKee’s sister.

    Grant Quinn McKee is one of the GM Hotshots that died
    and the son of Marcia McKee… who has the multi-million
    dollar wrongful death suit already filed.

    Laure McKee Sutton’s own Facebook page is…
    https://www.facebook.com/laurie.sutton.94
    Her husband’s name is Jim Sutton.
    His Facebook page is…
    https://www.facebook.com/jim.sutton.779

    The ‘Robert’ being referred to in her comment must be GM
    Hotshot Robert E. Caldwell. He was the only ‘Robert’ on the GM crew.

    Claire and Robert Caldwell were in Laurie McKee Sutton’s ‘Friend’ list on Facebook.

    Prescott Daily Courier article with photo of Linda Caldwell,
    Grant Quinn McKee, and Laurie Sutton all running a store
    together in Prescott back in 2009…
    http://www.dcourier.com/Main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=71243

    So not only is Laurie McKee Sutton related to the Hotshot Grant McKee,
    she appears to ALSO be related to GM Hotshot Robert Caldwell.

    So… it would stand to reason that she knew Robert’s voice VERY well.

    That being said…

    I have listened to the audio over and over… and I cannot find any
    reason to believe that there are more than TWO voices recorded
    from out in the box canyon.

    Voice 1: Initial MAYDAY and all ‘Do you read me?’ calls after that.

    Voice 2: Eric Marsh suddenly appearing on the radio, announcing
    that he is “DIVS A here with Granite Mountain”, and then announcing
    that they are ‘deploying’.

    So I believe there are NOT THREE voices from the canyon… only TWO.

    That means either Laurie McKee Sutton is correct… and squad leader
    Robert Caldwell is the one making all the transmissions other than
    Marsh’s…

    OR… She is simply mistaken… and all the other transmissions
    really are Captain Jesse Steed.

    Personally?… I have compared that voice from the first MAYDAY
    call that says “We are in front of the flaming front” with Steed’s
    voice from the MacKenzie video saying “I Copy… and it’s almost
    made it to that two track road we walked in on”… and I think
    those voices belong to one and the same individual. Jesse Steed.

    So my best guess about this supposed new piece of evidence
    that emerged last night is that Laurie McKee Sutton is simply
    incorrect about that being Robert Caldwell’s voice.

    Your mileage may vary… and everyone PLEASE chime in
    with an opinion.

    I did not know ANY of these men… but somebody out there
    did and it’s time they helped us all discover WHO is really
    speaking on that recently released video. It’s important.

    It is still astonishing to me that the SAIT, with all their
    resources ( 50+ investigators ), access to witnesses,
    and multi-million dollar budget… REFUSED to identify
    who is speaking at these critical times…

    …but ‘astonishment’ just continues to be the only way
    to describe this entire incident and the (supposed)
    professional follow-up / analysis.

  68. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** FINALIZED GPS COORDINATES FOR ALL FOUR
    ** GLOBE TYPE II CREW VIDEOS FROM THE YARNELL FIRE

    This is just some ongoing ‘followup’ work.

    In ‘chapter 1’ of this research/commenting… I discovered FOUR
    new videos of the Yarnell Hill Fire that had never been seen before
    sitting on YouTube under the YouTube user account name 4490red.

    This ‘Globe Type II Crew’ was resourced the night before out of
    the Globe Fire Department. Apparently, Globe FD has a subcontract
    with Arizona State Forestry Commission to supply personnel ‘as needed’
    when calls go out. The vehicles they were all driving were AZ State
    vehicles and the caps they were wearing were AZ Forestry… but
    when they finally got around to uploading the videos they took
    that day ( June 30, 2013 ) this ‘4490red’ fellow just defaulted
    to his own employment designation as ‘Globe Type II Crew’.

    I was able to find out who YouTube user 4490red actually is since
    he left all the clues needed to do that in his own YouTube videos
    and he does, in fact, work for the Globe, AZ Fire District… but I’m
    still not going to publish his name here since that’s not really
    important at this time.

    What HAS always been important is exactly WHERE these videos
    were taken throughout the fateful day of June 30, 2013, and what
    the ‘accidentally captured’ radio transmissions tell us.

    These are the videos that accidentally capture a number of radio
    conversations that day featuring both Eric Marsh and Darrell Willis.

    Anyway… just for the sake of completeness… here are the
    actual EXACT locations for all FOUR ‘Globe Type II Crew’
    videos shot in Yarnell on June 30, 2013.

    They are listed in chronological order as to when they were
    taken during the day… starting with the crew just sitting in
    the parking lot of the Yarnell Fire Station waiting for their
    assignment, to the ones taken while they were assigned
    to Structure Protection Group 2 ( Darrell Willis ) and working
    in the Model Creek area ( Peeples Valley )… to the final video
    taken just around the time of the burnover event from the
    U-Store-It Storage facility on Highway 89.

    Just cut-and-paste any of the “Latitude, -Longitude” lines
    with the ‘comma’ separating the values into the search
    bar of Google Maps, hit ENTER, and a large GREEN ARROW
    will be pointing at the exact location.

    NOTE: That final video has new relevance since it is the
    exact same ‘mini-storage’ facility mentioned in the recently
    released MAYDAY video/audio transcipt(s), and the place
    where the crew in that video was actually headed as
    we see them tear out of the Shrine area.

    ** VIDEO 1

    YouTube Video Title…
    Yarnell Hill Fire 6_30_2013. Globe Type II Crew – Staging

    YouTube address…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgh_O9vcCyQ

    YouTube ABOUT information…
    Yarnell Hill Fire 6/30/2013. Globe Type II Crew.
    Uploaded by YouTube user: 4490red
    Published on Oct 9, 2013
    Staged at Yarnell Fire Dept. morning of 6/30/2013. 4th crew on
    scene. Granite Mountain can be heard on the radio calling
    Operations on Tac 1. Waiting to see if we were going to be
    choppered up on the mountain. Everyone was in good spirits
    that morning.

    The first video these fellas shot that day ( June 30, 2013 ).

    They are just sitting in parking lot of Yarnell Hill
    Fire Station and waiting for an assignment.

    They would NOT be ‘choppered up on the mountain’.

    Shortly after this video was taken they were assigned
    to Structure Protection Group 2 ( SPGS2 – Darrell Willis )
    and Willis had them clearing brush around houses up
    in the Model Creek ( Peeples Valley ) area.

    This is the one with Eric Marsh’s voice on the radio
    at +43 seconds when he says…

    +43: Operations, Abel, Granite Mountain, on TAC 1
    ( There was never any response ).

    NOTE: It is now pretty much been proven that this was
    not a ‘call sign’ slip on Eric Marsh’s part. The reason
    he does NOT identify himself as ‘DIVS A’ at this time
    ( as he would the remainder of the day ) is because he
    wasn’t even informed he’d been given that assignment yet.
    Eric Marsh was already ‘on the hike’ out to the ridge
    when this radio transmission was accidentally captured
    in this video… and he still believed he was just GMIHC.

    Location where video was taken…

    Dirt parking lot just due east of the Yarnell Hill Fire
    Station Helipad.

    Camera operator was sitting in the driver seat of
    one of the AZ State Crew Carriers exactly here when
    he shot this video…

    Latitude: 34.222295
    Longitude: -112.745052

    34.222295, -112.745052

    ** VIDEO 2

    YouTube Video Title…
    Yarnell Hill Fire 6_30_2013. Globe Type II Crew – Fire Whirl

    YouTube address…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6FUZnoX0Gw

    YouTube ABOUT information…
    Yarnell Hill Fire 6/30/2013. Globe Type II Crew.
    Uploaded by YouTube user: 4490red
    Published on Oct 9, 2013
    Yarnell Hill Fire 6/30/2013. North East structure protection group.
    Prepping houses as the fire burned towards us.

    They have been assigned to SPGS 2 ( Darrell Willis ) and they
    are up in the Model Creek ( Peeples Valley ) area clearing
    brush from around homes in that neighborhood.

    They are on the NORTH side of the fire at this point.

    Winds are still blowing from the SouthWest.

    This is the video with the ‘fire tornado’ in it seen on the fireline.

    Camera operator was standing exactly here when he shot this video…

    Latitude: 34.282010
    Longitude: -112.766376

    34.282010, -112.766376

    ** VIDEO 3

    YouTube Video Title…
    Yarnell Hill Fire 6_30_2013. Globe Type II Crew – 2 VLAT drops

    YouTube address…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwc3IexjJTk

    YouTube ABOUT information…
    Yarnell Hill Fire 6/30/2013. Globe Type II Crew.
    Uploaded by YouTube user: 4490red
    Published on Oct 9, 2013
    Yarnell Hill Fire. 6/30/2013. Globe Type II Crew. DC-10 Tanker
    drop on Northeast flank. Late afternoon 6/30/2013. Helped prevent
    spread to the Northeast before the wind shift.

    Crew had been assigned to SPGS 2 ( Darrell Willis ) and
    they are still just clearing brush around houses in Model Creek,
    up in Peeples Valley, as they had been doing most of the day.

    This is much later in the day than the previous video shot from
    the same general area in Model Creek.

    Approaching thunderstorm is clearly seen arriving into
    the Yarnell area and is alread overhead.

    Shows TWO sequential VLAT drops on the north side of
    the fire, just before ( or right at the time ) the winds shifted.

    Willis is heard talking to ‘Corey Moser’ on the radio in this video…

    +1:50
    Willis: Task Force Moser, Structure 2, on TAC 2.
    Moser: Structure 2, Moser, go ahead.
    Willis: Hey Corey, have you checked those… ah… the ranch?
    Moser: That’s negative. I’ve got… ah… three engines I’ve been workin’ this flop.
    Looks like we just about got it caught… so I’m gonna head over
    and check the ranch out as soon as I’m… ah… comfortable here.
    Willis: Copy.

    NOTE: What is significant about this ‘accidentally’ captured radio
    communication from Willis is that ( according to all other published
    records ) Willis SHOULD have been at the ‘Double Bar A Ranch’
    himself at this time making sure everyone got out of there safely
    since by this time of day it could not be saved. Instead… here we
    clearly hear Willis asking Corey Moser to go ‘check on the ranch’.
    Very curious. Where WAS Willis at this moment in time? Still unkown.

    Camera operator was standing exactly here when he shot this video…

    Latitude: 34.282593
    Longitude: -112.765360

    34.282593, -112.765360

    ** VIDEO 4

    YouTube Video Title…
    Yarnell Hill Fire 6_30_2013. Globe Type II Crew – At the U-Store-It

    YouTube address…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riLzhfH6g_M

    YouTube ABOUT information…
    Yarnell Hill Fire 6/30/2013. Globe Type II Crew.
    Uploaded by YouTube user: 4490red
    Published on Oct 6, 2013
    Yarnell Hill Fire. 6/30/2013. DC-10 Tanker drop just
    east of Glen Ilah. After the wind shift. Right around
    the time of the entrapment.

    This is the one where they are in the U-Store-It mini-storage parking
    lot later in the day… about the time of the burnover ( according
    to their own About comments ) watching a VLAT drop with their
    white Globe Type II ‘Crew Trucks’ in the foreground and the
    ‘Ranger 58′ radio traffic heard in the background right after the drop.

    Their own description of where they took this video is NOT CORRECT.
    They were not really ‘just east of Glen Ilah’. The mini-storage facility
    seen in the video is actually north of Yarnell itself, just as you leave
    town, on the west side of Highway 89.

    The EXACT time of this video has still not been determined.

    If it was right BEFORE the burnover… then this could be the VLAT
    line-up and drop that Marsh was trying to help with when he called
    out “That’s where we want retardant” just 2 minutes before the
    first MAYDAY call from the canyon. That’s a stretch… but it’s possible.
    The flight path and location matches the description in both the
    SAIR and the ADOSH as a ‘retardant drop to the north of Yarnell’.

    If it was right AFTER the burnover… then this could be Air Command
    telling this VLAT to “Get in touch with Ranger 58 ( The DPS Helicopter )
    right now and GO BACK”. Ranger 58 would have been already scrambling
    at this moment following the ‘We are deploying’ message.

    Camera operator was standing exactly here when he shot this video…

    Latitude: 34.231000
    Longitude: -112.739872

    34.231000, -112.739872

    You could also just drop this address into the Google Maps search bar
    and the red marker will be right on the exact location…

    21972 Arizona 89, Yarnell, AZ

  69. Robert the Second says

    WTKTT,

    “Brings up a good question for WFF people, however. When you ARE in a ‘mountaintrail’ area… and trying to mark a spot where you left the road for someone
    who is coming up later… what’s the standard practice? Just drop a roll of
    tape on the ground and HOPE the guy sees it… or something more obvious
    like an ‘arrow’ weighted with rocks, or something?”

    YES, that’s ALMOST exactly what I do. It needs to be REALLY OBVIOUS. I tie it to the brush/branch up high, then tie it to a rock on the ground point the direction to go.

    AND it’s called FLAGGING, not tape. Tape is for tool heads or injuries. More basic FF 101 for all you non-WFF out there.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to RTS post on December 17, 2013 at 9:06 pm

      >> RTS wrote…
      >> YES, that’s ALMOST exactly what I do. It needs to be
      >> REALLY OBVIOUS. I tie it to the brush/branch up high,
      >> then tie it to a rock on the ground point the direction to go.

      There wasn’t really any ‘branch’ near the side of the road
      at that point to do that… but I think it’s safe to say now that
      just willy-nilly ‘dropping a roll of tape’ ( I’m sorry, ‘flagging’ )
      off to the side of the road and expecting that to be some kind
      of real ‘marker’ for someone coming up from behind is
      totally absurd.

      >> RTS also wrote…
      >> AND it’s called FLAGGING, not tape.
      >> Tape is for tool heads or injuries.
      >> More basic FF 101 for all you non-WFF out there.

      Thanks. What WOULD we do without you fireboys?

      By the way… if anyone is OUT… they’re running a special
      right now up on the Forestry Suppliers website.

      Hint: Just use their product search bar and ask for either
      ‘tape’ or ‘flagging’. You will get the exact same pages.

      https://www.forestry-suppliers.com/search.asp?stext=tape&page=2

  70. Robert the Second says

    Full Sail,

    Disregard the above, you already did. Bad SA on me. Posts not scouted and sized up on my part.

  71. Robert the Second says

    I have to agree with Bob in that the GMHS Crew travelled together. It’s very likely though that Marsh took a serarate route ending up in the same place AFTER the rest of them.

    • xxfullsailxx says

      i concur as well. the crew would have departed together, with either steed or an experienced squad boss leading the way. overhead are usually the first in and the last out. marsh probably came up behind the crew, realized what was going on and made the calm call to air attack that we hear in the video.

      an interesting question would be whether or not the spent pink roll of flagging was from marsh scouting a more direct escape route back to the ranch. but again, we’ll never know. i imagine IF he flagged a game trail down through the green any remnants would have been burnt up given the fire behavior.

      • Robert the Second says

        Full Sail,

        I responded to your reply to me on the SOP issue above from a few days ago.. Let me know what you think.

  72. Bob Powers says

    WTKTT –You are right about the info that it was the squad boss Robert being important to the families and those who are seeking all the information. I apologize for my statement it does matter. I was referring to the reason they got there in the first place, and what information is gained if it was Robert on the radio. He was part of the crew, he was a squad boss and he also had responsibility for his crew and to his supervisor. They were trapped and he was doing his part.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Yes… but does this possible new development mean a lot
      more than that?

      We have been assuming all along that these men were in
      single file on descent… and that Steed was leading them.

      What if that’s not the case?

      What if they ‘broke into squads’ and were descending along
      different paths?

      What if the ‘missing 9 men’ from the MacKenzie video and
      the mysterious ‘third voice’ represent a ‘squad’ that had
      been sent ahead to ‘check out the escape route’ and they
      were WELL ahead of the other men?

      It introduces the possibility that one of the squads encountered
      the flaming front FIRST.

      It also introduces the possibility that some of these other
      men may have ended up running TOWARDS their death…
      instead of using every possible second to RETREAT.

      We still don’t know exactly how this went down.

      That’s why we are still here.

      Every detail counts.
      That’s MY perspective, anyway. Always has been.
      That’s why I am here participating.

      Why some of these other commenters are here?
      I’m no longer sure.

      • Bob Powers says

        Based on my knowledge the crew bunched up and left in one unit, That’s SOP for a hot Shot crew. Line up– every body has there place in the crew line it is not haphazard. Move out when the leader is ready to depart– Leader in front Captain, Supt, lead squad boss which could have been assigned as the asst. for the day. usually one of the leaders would take up the rear to make sure every body kept pace. That is the way it has always been I would expect no difference with GM.

      • xxfullsailxx says

        “It also introduces the possibility that some of these other
        men may have ended up running TOWARDS their death…
        instead of using every possible second to RETREAT.”

        no, i think you’re leaping again…

        the fact that there were 19 shelters deployed in a very tight formation, indicates that they remained a cohesive unit to the bitter end… for better or worse. it amazes me in fact, that no one did their own thing. that alone speaks volumes to the type of crew that steed and marsh ran.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Reply to xxfullsailxx post
          on December 17, 2013 at 8:01 pm

          >> xxfullsailxx said…
          >> it amazes me in fact, that no one did
          >> their own thing.

          That’s TWICE in one day that we AGREE!

          I, too, have always been TRULY amazed that
          no one ran for it. The top of the ridge was only
          470 yards away and there were four distinct
          CLEARINGS that lined up due west of the
          deployment site. Some ‘open field running’
          was definitely possible. Some of them would
          have PROBABLY made it.

          By the way… not sure if you knew this… but there
          has ALWAYS been a ‘theory’ put forth by a
          former WFF Hotshot-turned-author that these
          men did, in fact, run TOWARDS their death.

          Kyle Dickman was the first author to obtain
          exclusive interviews with Brendan McDonough,
          even prior to the SAIR being released.

          Brendan ‘warmed up’ to Kyle since he was a
          ‘fire brother’… and told him things that have
          never even appeared in any official report.

          In his article… Kyle Dickman says that GM was
          still ‘descending’ when they first saw the fire
          and hadn’t even reached the canyon floor yet.

          He then ‘theorizes’ that they decided deployment
          was the only option… and then ran FORWARD
          some distance TOWARDS the fire and the flat
          part of the canyon just to find a good place
          to deploy.

          You owe it to yourself to read the article.

          I do NOT agree with his ‘theory’… but since he
          is ‘one of your own’ I thought you might find it
          interesting to read his theory.

          It has still NOT been determined exactly where
          they were when they actually first realized they
          were in deep trouble.

          Was it ( coincidentally ) at the spot where they
          deployed?… or did they really have to spend
          some time ‘searching’ for that spot?

          How much time?

          Did they ‘retreat’ to that spot… or did they, in fact,
          have to move ‘forward’ to find it? Still unknown.

          Here is Kyle Dickman’s original article…

          Outside Magazine
          Tuesday, September 17, 2013
          19: The True Story of the Yarnell Fire
          Author: Former WFF Hotshot Kyle Dickman
          Based on exclusive interviews with
          Brendan McDonough.

          http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/YarnellFire.html

          Kyle Dickman is an associate editor for Outside magazine. He was a hotshot for years before
          becoming a magazine editor. He belonged to the
          Tahoe Hotshot Crew. Dickman started fighting
          forest fires when he was 18 years old.

          • xxfullsailxx says

            yes, that was a very good article.

            i don’t think that it is hard to believe that GM, once realizing the situation, probably backtracked to a flat spot they thought was large enough for all to deploy. looking at the topo map (but not having actually been to the site) it seems to me they didn’t have to get too far around the knob to see the fire advancing on their position.

      • calvin says

        WTKTT, I have been following your work closely and you have done an incredible job. I, for one, believe that every small piece of evidence is crucial. It appears that the reports that have been issued (SAIR and WFAR) are inaccurate. The strongest piece of evidence that I can provide is the actual words of the only living survivor of the GMIHC. In the interview notes released last week Mr. Mcdonough stated for the second time ( 8/7 Prescott Daily Courier) that he left his lookout post shortly after 1445. The interview notes on p 41 dated 7/5 (first time but only released last week) says ..1445 starts to take weather for top of the hour first reading wrong does it a second time good but to make sure does it a third time turns back towards fire and notices that fire has made it to his trigger point to leave. P42…Advises Steed he is there (old grader) Steed says he can see him decides at this time if he needs to deploy this is the spot. Looks at a possible new lookout spot up hill at about this time Blue Ridge Supt shows up and says he will give him a ride out. Not in any rush to load up asks the Blue Ridge Supt if wants to talk to Crew on his radio. Next paragraph…. Blue Ridge Supt advised to Steed fire conditions and asks if they have good black. Steed says yes they have good black and can see the fire. Blue Ridge says they will move there trucks and have Brendan with them.
        I am eager to see if Mcdonough indicates leaving his lookout post at 1445 in the other TWO interviews done by ADOSH.
        There is a lot of confliction in the few statements above. Mcdonough does not contact BR to pick him up. He considers a different lookout spot. And once BR arrives at grader they are in no rush to load up. But in the same few short sentences, Mcdonough and Steed discuss deployment. I understand that you should always be thinking worst case scenario, but to actually discuss deploying when (per Mcdonough’s interview) He doesn’t call for BR to evacuate him, considers finding another spot to serve as lookout, and do not rush away once picked up; doesn’t add up to me.
        BR interview notes (P9) …They only heard 1 wx update prior to picking Brendan up. This seems to be a confirmation that Mcdonough was picked up prior to the second weather update first announced at 1526.

  73. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    >> On December 14, 2013 at 12:44 pm TTWARE said…
    >>
    >> It would seem perhaps a more logical progression of events for
    >> DIV A and GM to be feeling good about being safe in the black,
    >> and then citing THAT to Musser at the time of the turn-down of
    >> his request, AND THEN, immediately after that receiving a request
    >> from Willis to protect Yarnell, causing an abrupt change in their
    >> prior decision, whereby they immediately departed for Yarnell.
    >>
    >> IN FACT, if Willis actually heard the Musser turn-down over the radio,
    >> AND THEN prodded them to go anyway, perhaps a little more
    >> than ‘minor guilt’ ( on Willis’s part ) would be in order.

    There’s been a lot of ‘new’ discussion above about this new piece of
    evidence from the SAIT notes that Willis definitely TOLD Marsh
    “we’ve got to get this thing anchored”… and WHEN he gave that
    directive to Marsh.

    The SAIT notes actually say that this ‘directive’ from Willis to Marsh came
    early in the morning. Willis had been UP ALL NIGHT along scouting
    the Model Creek / Peeples Valley are and sizing up structure protection
    needs and consulting with Shumate all night.

    We learn now it was actually Willis’ input to Shumate throughout the night
    that was causing a lot of the overnight ‘requests for more resources’ to
    go out. So Willis was almost ‘Co-IC’ overnight that night… telling Shumate
    what to order and probably WHO to order.

    There is also still the lingering issue of whether Willis ‘intervened’ after
    Marsh/Steed issued their turn-down to Musser later in the afternoon,
    and whether Willis had a ‘second opinion’ about that and might have
    contacted Marsh to ‘suggest’ he change his mind.

    What is still key to all of that, I think, is whether Eric Marsh really would
    have given a crap what Darrell Willis ‘thought’ about anything.

    There is evidence that he did NOT.

    There had been a LOT of ‘conflict’ between Marsh and the people running
    his organization back in Prescott. Willis stood directly between Marsh
    and the City of Prescott when it came to administrative issues and
    Amanda Marsh herself has come out in public describing some of
    those issues/conflicts.

    It wasn’t just the mysterious ‘certification’ thing… where Willis got Steed
    to sign a certification document that Marsh was apparently refusing
    to sign. We know now ( as per Amanda Marsh ) that there was a huge
    confilict between Marsh ( Willis? ) and the City of Prescott over Marsh
    trying to obtain full-time benefits for Andrew Ashcraft.

    The following is a transcript of what Amanda Marsh has had to say
    in public about this… in case you haven’t seen it.

    She gave a video interview to reporters on the steps of the Courthouse
    just after being ‘dissed’ at a meeting of the Prescott City Council.

    She was NOT happy… and proceeded to tell us all how NOT happy
    her husband ( Eric Marsh ) had also been recently.

    The ‘Q:’ prefixes in the transcript below are reporter’s question.

    The ‘G:’ prefixes in the transcript below are from a gentleman that was
    with Amanda that day at the Council Meeting and also ‘pushing her cause’.

    The rest of the transcript is pure Amanda Marsh speaking out, and the
    EMPHASIS shown below is not mine. It is when Amanda herself was
    raising her voice in anger.

    AMANDA MARSH PRESS CONFERENCE – August 7, 2013

    YouTube VIDEO…

    Granite Mountain Hotshots-Amanda Marsh-Press Conference-Aug. 7 2013
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjiRjERhgbU

    About
    Published on Aug 7, 2013
    Amanda Marsh (widow of Granite Mountain Hotshot, Eric Marsh)
    speaks to the media after the press conference held by Juliann Ashcraft
    (widow of Granite Mountain Hotshot, Andrew Ashcraft) on
    Wednesday, August 7, 2013 on the steps of the Yavapai County
    Courthouse in Prescott, AZ.

    Amanda Marsh speaks…

    We’re talking about the need for raising taxes in Prescott when our Hotshot
    um… program is already in place. The money is already there. The program is
    already in place… it’s just a shaky program… it’s just a shaky foundation.

    Um… and… so… the City…

    I wanted to ask that question… and… they wouldn’t let me speak.

    And then that made me mad.

    So I did want to thank them for wanting to… um… for wanting to bring the
    crew back… but… I don’t know.

    I thought that the way they handled the situation.. and handled me…
    was pretty poor seeing how I’m one of the widows and I just asked for
    TWO minutes.

    Um… so that’s what happened.

    Q: Amanda… I know you’re not a very public person… and this is a rare
    occasion for you to be speaking out.

    Absolutely.
    This won’t happen again.

    Q: What is it about this? I mean… You obviously you feel very strongly that
    these… these widows should be getting the benefits that they deserve?

    I’m only here for Juliann at the moment… and… um…

    My husband, Eric Marsh, he used… he used to not be able to
    SLEEP at night trying to deal with the issue of Andrew Ashcraft’s benefits.

    Um…

    He was VERY upset with the City.
    He was VERY upset with the entire City Council.
    Because they made it SO hard for him to get benefits for that position.
    And MY husband… This fair and just amazing human being…
    could not deliver that to Andrew and his family.
    And it made him SO upset.
    And you can SEE it.
    I mean… he talked about it in his employee evaluation.
    He was VERY upset about it… and I am upset about it, too.

    And I can remember exactly the conversations that he would have when
    he got home.

    He was SO upset.

    Um… he didn’t feel like it was right.
    He tried SO hard to get benefits for that FULL TIME position.

    Q: He understood the family was getting ACCESS?

    Excuse me?

    Q: He knew the family was getting ACCESS… had to go on State Aid?

    I don’t know that he knew that.
    I don’t remember him ever saying anything about that.

    Q: What’s… do you remember anything specific he said to you in your conversations?

    Ya know… I just remember that he was really upset.
    I remember that he just couldn’t sleep at night.
    I do remember that very clearly.

    Q: What do you think of the difference between full-time benefits and temporary.
    Something that amounts to a million dollars over a lifetime?

    You know… I don’t want to speak about any of that because that’s not why
    I’m here. I’m just here to speak about Juliann and HER benefits.

    Q: What made it so hard for her to get the benefit?
    Eric Marsh to get him the benefits? What obstacles were in his way?

    The City did NOT want to benefit those… that full-time position even though
    it had been benefited before.

    So admittedly by the city… that was a full-time position… because that
    position was benefited prior to this.

    Q: So where they just dragging their feet… or trying to cut costs?

    I think they were trying to cut costs.

    G: Understand… the Hotshot crew doesn’t cost the City any money.
    G: The Hotshot crew’s activities are reimbursed by the Federal Government.
    G: The net cost of the hotshot crew is minimal.
    G: So this is not really much of an issue.

    You got about another two… yeah… OK.

    Q: Wanna say something about that?

    Yea… I do… I do.

    Q: Go ahead

    G: I almost got you outta here. You were doin’ so good.

    Okay… I’m gonna talk about that guy… and I can’t remember
    his name. I think his last name is Steele.

    He told ME…

    He addressed me by MY name, Amanda, and Mrs. Marsh…
    and then he told me to get out of his face. So how’s that?

    Pretty bad, isn’t it?

    Q: You obviously feel so strongly about this that you wanted to get
    right up in there?

    Well… I feel strongly for Juliann.
    We’ve have been through E-NOUGH.
    We’ve been through enough.
    Juliann has been through enough.
    She is grieving for the loss of Andrew.
    She is greiving for that MASSIVE gaping hole in her life…
    And now she’s trying to figure out how to raise four children… by herself.
    And… you know… she’s talking about having to go back to work.
    Well… I think what she left out is the fact that there’s ONE parent
    left for that family. If she goes back to work… that means those kids are
    without her for that time period that she’s at work and the time that she
    comes home and she’s tired.

    And that’s not fair.
    It’s not fair.

    That’s it.

    END OF AMANDA MARSH PUBLIC INTERVIEW

    • xxfullsailxx says

      Why do you feel the need to post the entire written dialogue? Do you think people don’t know how to use their mouse to click on the link? Do you not realize that whatever point you were trying to make gets lost in the mile long scroll through redundant dialogue?

      • Bob Powers says

        Because WTKTT is good at putting the info togather for all of us. And it makes it easer for all to follow. we kind of agreed to this format so every one was on the same page.

      • Rocksteady says

        Fullsail….. If you have nothing to contribute to the discussion, in a positive manner, please feel free to leave. Your negativity is not appreciated by those trying to find answers from this event…

      • D.Meyer says

        What is wrong with you, xxfullsailxx?

        Do you totally fail to appreciate how ridiculous it is that you are making post after post on this blog in order to criticize other people for… wait for it … making post after post? If it weren’t so obnoxious, it would actually be sorta funny.

        Bill on Wildfiretoday.com had to chastise you, then John on investigativemedia.com chastised you, as did J.Stout, Rock Steady, Bob P., et cetera. But it seems like you are still failing to get the message. Hopefully you are more perceptive when you are out on the line.

        Allow me to give a shot at spelling it out for you: People on this blog and on Bill’s blog are not fond of your tenor, your snark. It is not productive, it is not respectful, and it is not welcome. Knock it off.

        • xxfullsailxx says

          umm, i don’t think i was talking to any of you, but since you’ve chosen to insert yourself into the conversation…

          i feel that posting the dialogue as well as a link to the video of the dialogue is not only redundant, it does a disservice to the point that WTKTT was trying to make. furthermore, the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome are well documented. and scrolling with your mouse, only contributes. so i am trying to do you a favor.

          lastly, this conversation isn’t about me, so if you don’t like what i am saying, then ignore me. the website administrators will hit my mute button when they feel it is appropriate.

    • jeff i says

      Eric Marsh was a professional doing the job he was well qualified for, his dealings with his employer had no bearing on the decisions he was making that day.

      If you really want to know the truth, why bring all the hearsay into the discussion?

      • mike says

        From all I have heard and read , Eric Marsh was extremely qualified and highly regarded. Yet he made a very bad mistake as you say (over and over). Fine, we can all accept that. Now what? If this very fine crew super messed up and crew supers absolutely control their crew’s safety, how do we prevent a repeat of this? Do we just stop at “mistakes were made” or is there a step beyond that?

        • Bob Powers says

          I agree with mike, the way things are coming out and new info some of our hearsay is getting closer to fact. We are in discussion at this time and have reached no conclusions with out fact. His dealings with his employer are a important part of this conversation, until absolute fact is known. As in any investigation dot the I’s and cross the T’s all of them. There may be nothing but there is information out there that still leaves us with the question. As a professional he did not follow LCES nor did he notify his OPS of his plan, we are searching for why. It wasn’t just an act of God.

          • jeff i says

            Marsh and Steed were qualified professionals, they made a judgement call, unfortunately they were wrong and it had horrendous consequences. Yes, they ignored LCES but this same type of decision is made, on some scale, every day of every fire season, fortunately with a different ending. The lesson to be learned is to admit a mistake was made and to ask why was it made. Why did they think it was a good idea to head down into that bowl?

            • mike says

              2 investigations have been done, probably most of the basic facts of this case are out there (allowing for some additional info that may or may not come). We have seen the pictures of them watching the fire, they apparently had the weather info that was available. So, as wildland firefighters, do you have any thoughts on what caused him to underestimate the fire? I surmised that he allowed what he saw to trump what he knew (the fuels, the dryness, the fact that the weather was in flux), but that is just a guess. I would be interested in the thoughts of those with experience. According to most here, this was not a close call.

              • Bob Powers says

                I would have sat it out with just what I’ve seen and the other factors that day. That why I keep asking the question why. I may never get that answer.

            • xxfullsailxx says

              in my opinion, they thought the storm front had come, and was pushing the fire to the east-south-east. when they hike off lookout spot they thought they would outflank the fire and shortcut to the ranch. whether that shortcut was a pre-determined and flagged escape route or some overheads spur of the moment idea, we will never know.

              they lost sight of the fire when they were south of the knob and when they popped out, they realized the fire was quickly advancing due south and cutting off their path to the ranch.

              they didn’t fully communicate their movement because the radio was a cluster !@#$ with the fire advancing on yarnell and resources trying to get out of the way. and noone in their right mind thought GM would do anything but sit and wait it out in the black.

              i agree that a safety officer worth his or her salt could have prevented disaster.

              • mike says

                So he was relying on the direction not changing (i.e. easterly was parallel to their route). Sounds as if he was relying on a best-case scenario, and not accounting for the worst. Not anticipating the possibility of a wind shift in a thunderstorm – is that not a pretty bad error?

                • jeff i says

                  I agree with fullsail, I simply think they thought they could outflank it and get to someplace where they could do some good. Yes, that is a pretty bad error but crews make those kind of moves all the time although probably not in as volatile of a situation as that day.

    • Gary Olson says

      I have been having problems posting, so…I am going to try and do some catch up here, although I don’t have anything to add to solving this puzzle, just more general comments because I can.

      xxfullsailxx said “the idea that eric marsh or jesse steed were “ordered” down is not something that sits well with me, though i do think it’s worthwhile to look into all the influencing factors that lead to GM leaving their safety zone in the middle of the burn period and walk through the green. in my experience over the last 12 seasons, no one “orders” (in terms of demanding an action) a crew anywhere.”

      Like so much in the wildland firefighting culture, this topic is very nuanced that requires a lot of explanation to those who are not familiar with that culture. So…my short response to your comment is that I agree with you most of the time, in fact On December 5, I said, “We have discussed the wildland fire culture quite a bit, but there is at least one difference with the military. I think It is very, very, rare for someone to say, “I order you to do such and such.” I think “orders” are given more like ordinary people would do in a conversation, a lot like WTKTT say’s above, so Marsh and Steed would hear a request, “Hey can you guy’s get down here ASAP to help us here?” That would be more like how an order is given, more like a request to do what the requester thinks is right. And of course I think they would not have a problem telling just anybody “no” but would have a problem telling somebody special “no”.”

      However, I think there are sometimes that orders are orders and orders are in fact given. For example, I consider, “That was when he (OPS1) told his DIVS A and the GMHS under his command to “Just hunker down (there) and be safe”.” that was in fact an “order” and should have been followed. And if that order had been followed…all of the Granite Mountain Hotshots would be alive today.

      In addition, in an earlier comment I also stated, “I think they were moving to the backside of Yarnell to work ASAP per their orders from a higher authority they could not say “no” to.”

      So…if the higher authority (Darrell Willis, for example) they could not say “no” to would have said,

      I would like you to go
      I wish you would go
      Can you go
      Will you go
      It would be best if you go
      Can you possibly go
      Please go
      I think you should go
      If I were you, I would go

      etc. well…even though none of those are technically an order in the strict sense of a military order, but if Eric Marsh would have heard any of those from the right person, I believe he would have interpreted it as an “order” to go.

      Furthermore, the reason I always tried to say “they had been asked (ordered) to do” is to try and make the distinction between the two ways of telling somebody you want them to do something. This attempt at making the distinction was for the sake of both the people who are reading this thread and contributing to it who do not have a background in wildland firefighting, and there is a lot of this discussion that is very depended on the interpretation of semantics.

      So the short answer it…I agree with you AND I disagree with you, which means yes…just like so many things since June 30, 2013, I am conflicted and confused about a lot of things.

      Yes, WTKTT, this quasi military culture where no one gives orders but only suggestions that can be turned down is very confusing.

      Elizabeth said, “What are you referencing that I wrote, xxfullsailxx? Clearly you are condemning it, but clue me in to what you think I said that was so wrong….”

      Please ignore xxfullsailxx, as you probably have already suspected, the widland firefighting force is full of testosterone driven, ego-maniacs, type A personalities, who have huge ego’s and have been pumped full of hubris. Most of the nice ones were killed off and eaten at a young age, although apparently, a large number of them found their way onto the Granite Mountain Hotshots, but they were the exception, not the rule.

      Luckily for me, I developed a leak when I retired and the hubris I was pumped full of is almost all gone. Hubris can not only be a killer for old men, it can kill young ones as well.

      Elizabeth N. said “No criticism. No hostility toward you. Just trying to think this through….”

      I did not think you were being critical or hostile, although you and I are probably just going to have to agree to disagree on whether wildland firefighting crews should be run as democracies. And yes, I got lucky many times, in fact…one of my favorite sayings used to be, “It is better to be lucky than good.”

      xxfullsailxx said, i also appreciate the fact that you don’t try to say that you did everything right throughout your career. everyone makes mistakes at some point throughout their career. hopefully none as tragic as this.

      Yes, my life is full of mistakes and regrets. I actually have a very long list, and if it will help here, I can offer many more for discussion. And if I had it to do all over again, I would, only I would try harder to get it RIGHT next time.

      xxfullsailxx said, “and i am so tired of wading through “Elizabeth’s” and “want to know the truth’s” B.S.

      you all don’t have a clue what you’re talking about and you make huge leaps from very shaky foundations.

      “WTKTT”: you don’t know half of what you claim to “know.”

      “Elizabeth”: for someone who is “trained as a lawyer” you don’t seem to recognize the inadequacy of assumption.”

      So…let me see if I got this right xxfullsailxx, if you think WTKTT is 50 percent wrong, then even you think WTKTT is 50 percent right. I think in baseball, that would make him a superstar, right? And even here, batting .500 when the SAIT batted 0 with their SAIR makes him a superstar, right? Oh…and one other thing, please show me even 10 percent of the half he claims to know but you think he doesn’t. And one more thing…neither WTKTT or Elizabeth N. have said they are subject matter experts (SME), just people who want help if they can.

      You on the other hand, are representing yourself as a SME, so like I said in a previous comment, I think you should be willing to put your real name on your comments and stand behind them.

      And yes, apparently everyone involved in this discussion has some discretionary time on their hands, even you. I for one, am glad so many people are devoting that discretionary time to solving this conundrum…”What the hell happened on the Yarnell Hill Fire? Or don’t you think the 19 out of 20 of the Granite Mountain Hotshots are worth it?

    • Bob Powers says

      Gary’s answer is right in the heat of the moment. a squad boss could have taken over the radio as Steed was busy directing the Deployment site. What difference does it make?

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Gary’s response: Expected
      Mr. Power’s response: Helpful… but also surprising.

      We now have a statement/evidence that it was NOT
      Captain Jesse Steed making the actual MAYDAY calls.

      What difference does it make?

      If you care at all about what REALLY happened that day…
      Including the final moments of these men…
      It matters a LOT.

      More to come on this point.

  74. mike says

    One of the Facebook pages is saying that the other voice on the audio besides Marsh is “Robert” – would be Robert Caldwell I assume, who was a squad boss. Certainly that would seem to be possible. Not sure it is really all that critical.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to mike post on December 16, 2013 at 10:40 pm

      Just to be clear… are you referring to the ‘third voice’ heard
      saying “You bet!” in the second 9 second MacKenzie video clip?

      Also… which Facebook page are you referring to?
      Could you post a link?

      • mike says

        No, the reference is to the last radio transmission video, I believe. The page is Prescott Firefighters Last Alarm. Mrs. Marsh has put a post up near the top. In one of the comments, a family member says that Robert’s voice is also on that video – there are only 2 of the GMHS heard on that video. Understandably, there is a lot of upset on their part about the release of the video.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          I imagine so. It’s hard for anyone to listen to.

          This brings up a question for the WFF people,
          though, I suppose.

          Under what conditions would a simple squad
          boss even be ‘allowed’ to be trying to make
          his own transmissions on either Channel 10
          or 16… when his supervisor and his own DIV
          are right there near him?

          Would that be a serious violation of this
          all-important ‘pecking order’, even in an
          emergency situation?…

          …or could it be that Steed just got busy
          directing the improvement of the deployment
          site and actually told him ( that squad boss )
          to ‘take over’ with the radio?

        • RJJumper says

          We all know when we sign up for this kind of work that there is a tragedy risk and that public attention is going to follow when or if a tragedy occurs. It happened with 9-11, and it has always happened.

          That that is the way it goes and it has to be that way as part of the learning process and investigation process. At the risk of being blunt and saying the truth, if you do not want to open yourself or your family to the attention or the painful examination, maybe a desk job in the private sector is the better option.

          My sympathies to all of the families. Even for someone without family involved, it is hard to hear some of the audio or see some video.

  75. Robert the Second says

    Elizabeth,

    “Going direct” is right on the fireline, ‘one foot in the black.’ What DIVS A Marsh wanted, and AA was NOT getting was for AA to “pre-treat’ along the line, wet it down, so as to give the GMHS time to put in their parallel line (a few feet next to the fire periment allowing for radiant heat reduction – the inverse square law) so they could burn it out. However, the AA was being a jerk and insisting DIVS A go ‘direct,’ and again, that’s NOT what DIVS A wanted to do. AA was trying to basically FORCE him to go ‘direct’ by dropping on the burnout operation of their parallel line.
    Afterall, they were in Watch Out #11 with lots of unburned fuel that needed to be mitigated.

    As I said in an earlier post, these ODF guys always insist on going direct and NOT burning out. There’s a time and a place for that, but then wasn’t the time. AND the AA is supposed to work WITH the DIVS and support his operation, NOT work against him as he was doing in this case.

    • Bob Powers says

      When you have a lot of line some times it is much faster to back off usually not a lot and build line and fire it out as you go it is much faster than meandering around on the burned edge and you still have the black with you. At that time the fire was above them not active and they had the weather with them. They also had direct access back to the burn as they moved. This is done all the time and dose not violate #11. When you back off a 1/4 or more miles from the main fire then you are going indirect and you need to be aware and put a lot of things into place. Also you need to continually burn out as you go, so you are bringing the black with you. That’s probably clear as mud if you are not a fire fighter. Marsh was trying to get as much line built as he could and that was the best way to do it and LCES was in place.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to Bob Powers post on Dec 17, 2013 at 9:05 am

        >> Mr. Powers wrote…
        >> That’s probably clear as mud if you are not a fire fighter.

        Nope. I am no firefighter ( well… other than putting them
        out when they get started on my own back 40 )… but
        it makes perfect sense.

        With no disrespect… it’s not rocket surgery.

        Dangerous, yes…. but there’s only a certain number of
        ways to ‘get the cows in the barn’, so to speak.

  76. Elizabeth N. says

    Remember when I asked all of you what going “direct” meant? Below are some first-hand quotes from the Blue Ridge guys who were trying to explain in interviews what Marsh was trying to get done, and this is part of what prompted me to ask you all to explain what YOU thought “direct” meant:

    “They watched Granite Mtn bring fire down the hill in the saddle…….
    But the AA had the SEAT drop right on the heat….
    Eric got on the radio and said I want to pretreat the area….
    AA came back with I want you guys to go direct….
    The next drop the SEAT dropped again right on the heat they were putting down so Eric gave up.”

  77. Robert the Second says

    Elizabeth,

    “… I got the impression that [Marquez[ was saying that Marsh wasn’t satisfied with where he (Marsh/GM) was in the geography and where he was going to therefore end up cutting an unconnected line; …” That’s not how I interpreted it.

    “The way Marquez tells it, he didn’t just leave – just flounce off in a huff. He actually went off – seemingly with Marsh’s concurrence – to look for another access point, to get to a place where he could tie-in more effectively with Marsh.” Not quite following you here. The access point should have been decided/scouted by Marsh and the GMHS, not by DIVS Z. And for Marquez to tie in effectively with Marsh didn’t need sany scouting. Just say where you want to meet, and meet. The issue between Marsh and Marquez was over Division boundaries, not access.

    “Remember that there is a group of folks here who believe that Steed was trying to take the ridge-line route to the Helms Ranch (and then Yarnell), but Steed came OFF the ridge b/c he failed to understand the sharp dip in the ridge path and the fact that it would quickly “un-dip” back toward the Helms ranch.”

    Maybe so, it doesn’t/didn’t matter. It sounds/looks like it wasn’t properly scouted before hand – one of the Fire Orders and one of the Watch Outs.

    “Some folks believe that Marsh came down *after* Steed into the green, basically catching up to them *after* they had already gotten off the ridge-line (presumably accidentally), which might explain why Steed was calm at 4:39 and then a bit more panicked two minutes later when he caught up with the group.” I agree with you on this one. Marsh was just doing his job as DIVS A separate from the Crew, as any DIVS would/should do.

  78. The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

    I posted this on another thread, but meant to do it here instead. I picked up on this with my first read of the interview notes:

    p46 of the interview notes states that BR was assigned to Division A. I don’t think I have ever read or heard that before, but come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve previously seen any notes or documents officially assigning them to DIV Z. I just made that assumption because that is where DIV Z (Marquez) was instructed to go to. Apparently, there is no record assigning him ANY resources. With DIV Z showing up in the middle of the work day, wanting to take a certain piece of ground and resources from DIV A, it is easy to see how friction could develop between A and Z.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to TTWARE post on December 16, 2013 at 1:21 pm

      ** Re: Page 46 of SAIT notes.

      Discovering now ( and only after months and two highly
      expensive official reports ) that Blue Ridge was actually
      part of Marsh’s DIVS A does not surprise me. I can’t
      believe we had to just discover that in “interviewer’s notes”
      that had to be obtained with FOIA/FOIL… but such is this
      entire fiasco.

      It actually explains a lot of what happened that day to know
      that Brian Frisby considered Marsh his ‘boss’ that afternoon.

      It explains Marsh ‘dissing’ both Rance Marquez ( DIVS Z )
      and Rory Collins ( Air Attack ) and insisting that the plan
      he and Brian Frisby had already agreed on be the one
      that they continue working on.

      It also explains the mysterious ‘request for a second
      face-to-face’ meeting from Marsh to Frisby… just before
      Brendan had to abandon his lookout position. I have always
      thought that was curious. It was a TERRIBLE inconvenience
      for Frisby to have to drop what he was doing at that busy
      time and schlep all the way out to that ridge ( 2 miles )
      on a UTV just because Marsh didn’t feel comfortable
      talking about something over the radio…

      …but inconvenient or not… Frisby agreed to do it.

      That’s when he ‘accidentally’ found Brendan and motored
      him back east and out of there.

      It makes sense now that if Marsh ‘requested’ the meeting…
      Brian felt the need to comply becase Marsh was ‘DIVS A’
      and his BOSS at that moment.

      • xxfullsailxx says

        again, you really don’t understand what you are talking about, and i really am trying to say that without being insulting.

        i would consider marsh and frisby peers in this scenario (yes, even if someone interviewed said that BR was assigned to Div. A). there is a developing incident without a lot of overhead and people are just trying to come up with a plan of attack. since Div Zulu was late to the scene, BR and GM were formulating a plan.

        stop making more of the face to face between marsh and frisby than there is. it is much easier to discuss tactics and strategy face to face than it is over busy radio frequencies, especially when radios have a programming bug. two miles is virtually no distance on a UTV. so it was no big deal for frisby to run up there and have a discussion about the overall cluster that the incident was becoming. i am sure they were both recognizing that things were about to get dicey, and wanted to reassess the overall strategy.

        you continually make huge leaps from very shaky foundations.

        • jeff i says

          fullsail is right on with his comments, you people without HotShot experience just don’t get it and you try to read way too much into insignificant details.

        • Bob Powers says

          Some times we chase rabbits here. You are right Frisby and marsh were working together. Marsh was DIVA and Frisby inherited DIVZ. or since there was no real division line DIVZ may have just faded away. Meeting face to face would have been good except time just ran out and they had to much open line between them. But I am sure the were working together as Peers. With no conflicts.

        • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

          My original comment referenced an apparently ‘new’ revelation that BR was actually assigned to DIV A. In the two released reports, along with other information, that fact was never mentioned. Most people (including me) apparently assumed that since DIV Z (Marquez) was sent to the area BR was working in, that BR must have been working in Division Z.

          Also, my original comment had no hint of any friction between Frisby or Marsh, it simply provided a possible reason that Marsh and Marquez (A & Z) could have had friction, due to the fact that Marsh & Frisby’s crews had already been at work, carrying out their previously developed plan. Then, Marquez shows up, wants some a DIV A’ ground and personnel, without having his own plan.

          I think a critical point here, is that Marquez was sent out (assigned?) to be DIV Z, with no resources assigned to him. After he disappeared, was BR supposed to assume that they were now working in DIV Z?? It sounds like, after Marquez left, no one (OPS or anyone else) ever tried to contact DIV Z on the radio, so BR must have remained ‘officially’ assigned to A, even after the so called division break was created, and they were apparently working on the ‘Z’ side of it.

          I remember more than one report of the division break finally being decided upon between A & Z, but I don’t recall anyone ever officially stating there had been a transfer of resources (BR) from A to Z.

          Utimately, what I am trying to say here, is that DIV A, GM, and BR, actually knew the score here, and what I ‘believe’ was happening, is that BR was trying to hold together a leaderless division, along with trying to carry-out their own plan.

          • xxfullsailxx says

            it is not black and white! there were no official division breaks! division zulu was almost non-existent! yes, BR and GM were working together on that entire chunk of line. GM at the anchor point and BR out scouting a tie in point… i.e. coming up with a strategy for a piece of ground with no real division breaks and an approaching fire front and foretasted weather that is not conducive to containing the fire that day.

            and yes, Marquez showed up in the middle of it and depending on how he approached the two hotshot sups (i.e. whether he came in demanding his own strategy or was trying to listen to what they came up with) would determine the working relationship between the three of them. i don’t know much about Marquez’s background, but it would be pretty unwise to come in to a situation with two sups and not be somewhat open to what they had come up with. it would have led to friction… but none of that really has anything to do with why GM did what they did.

            • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

              fullsail, Since we don’t actually yet know what caused GM’s 4 o’clock decision to move, I think it’s safe to assume that the possiblity exists that there were other factors, occuring throughout the day, which influenced that decision. The whole ‘Z’ thing, seen as an indicator of how the fire was being run, ‘could’ have been one of them.

              • xxfullsailxx says

                i disagree. some of us do know why GM left their safety zone (at least as well as we ever will without hearing from steed or marsh). they left to get back to their buggies so they could assist in Yarnell. odds are, marsh and steed probably made that decision together.
                yep, the fire was a sh!t show, there is plenty of evidence for that.

                • xxfullsailxx says

                  “Jumper:”

                  hotshot crews perform all sorts of structure protection work, from hose lay/sprinkler set ups, burn out ops., triage and structure prep. etc. if you’ve been on a crew in the past 10 years, odds are you’ve worked directly around structures.

                • Bob Powers says

                  If that’s what they did why in such a rush. Sit in the black for 45 min. let the fire make its run then hike out in the black. If you add up all the things that had happened, moved there lookout and crossed the road they came up on past the old cat it was evident it was going to burn across the flat below them. Again why the hurry?

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Reply to TTWARE post
            on December 17, 2013 at 10:02 am

            Totally agree.

            There is no doubt that after that first
            face-to-face between Marsh/Steed and
            Frisby/Trueheart all the way up at the
            anchor point… and the full half-hour
            planning session… and Frisby is
            documented as having told Marsh the
            command briefings that morning
            were ‘worthless’… that Marsh/Frisby
            felt it was ‘up to them’ in that area all
            the way from the anchor point to the
            Shrine area.

            As Frisby/Trueheart left the ridge with
            Brendan to drop him at his lookout
            spot… It wouldn’t surprise me if the
            send-off conversation was this…

            Marsh: It’s you and me bro!
            Frisby: You bet!

            They had NO IDEA, at that point, if this
            Marquez guy was even EVER going
            to show his face that day, or not.

            All of sudden… he does.

            The rest is then confusion, arguments,
            Rory Collins ( Air Attack ) trying to insert
            himself into the situation to ‘help resolve
            the arguments’ he was hearing on the
            radio down there… yada, yada, yada.

            The real circus began when the fire
            reversed and there was no DIVS Z in
            place. The structure protection guys
            in the Shrine area were the ones that
            actually almost died themselves because
            they had no active DIVS in place. If not
            for BR’s extra efforts ‘playing’ DIVS to
            get them all dis-engaged and out of
            there… there may have been more
            bodies brought off that fire that day.

            Yet still the SAIR said…
            All protocols were followed.
            No mistakes were made that day.

      • xxfullsailxx says

        you know what else? it’s a hard thing to say, but i am going to go ahead and say it…

        it was extremely fortuitous that BR came back to get Brendan. i am sure that Frisby realized what was going on and that it wasn’t just a coincidence. they dropped him off so i am sure they felt responsible to move him out of there as the fire started heating up.

        another disclaimer: GM had a good vantage down on Brendan’s position as well as good eyes on the fire. they were looking out for him as well, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t underestimate rates of spread and the oncoming downdrafts from the t-cell, and it certainly seems as though Brendan was missing his “E” and “S” from LCES…

        so here it is: if BR hadn’t made it back there, it seems that Brendan would have been faced with his own shelter deployment. whether or not he would have survived is questionable, but i can’t help but think that the rest of GM would have been witness to that scenario and maybe the change in their focus would have prevented them from taking their fatal walk.

        maybe it’s already been said, and it is totally hindsight bias and irrelevant at this point. i’m sure if Brendan is an introspective type of person, he has run through that scenario in his own head many times.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          About a month ago… on ‘chapter 1’ of this ongoing
          research/comment thread… there was a
          discussion about whether the choice Brendan
          says he had ALREADY made for a deploy
          ( the old-grader location ) would have been
          survivable.

          Joy Collura took an amazing photograph of
          that area just days after the fire.

          Judge for yourself if you think he would
          have survived.

          NOTE: There is still GREEN on the leeward
          side of the deployment site… even with
          everything around it ‘moonscaped’.

          That photo is here…

          http://www.zazzle.com/rlv/isapi/designall.dll?action=getimage&id=fbbeed4c-832f-4743-914c-7fb2db455ab9

          There are only two people left alive who can
          still ‘fill in the details’ of everything that
          happened in that part of the fire all day
          that day… from soup to nuts.

          Brian Frisby and Brendan McDonough.

          One is being prevented from talking by his employer.
          The other is (still) simply reluctant to talk.

          Maybe one or both of those conditions
          will (soon) change.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Weren’t you just saying that if
              Brendan had to deploy… that
              might have ‘changed their focus’?

              I actually AGREE with you.

              If they knew Brendan was deploying
              down there… I think ‘whether or
              not Brendan had survived’ would
              have been all they would have
              been concerned about themselves,
              and at least those 19 would still
              be with us today.

                • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                  We remain in
                  AGREEMENT, then.

                  If ‘one of their own’
                  was in trouble… right
                  there down in front
                  of them… they would
                  have stayed right
                  where they were and
                  we MIGHT only be
                  here now trying to
                  determine how
                  Brendan McDonough
                  could have possibly
                  lost his life that day.

  79. Bob Powers says

    So I am still sitting here looking at the pictures taken by the crew with high fire activity.
    Marsh states that the winds are getting squarely and sees high fire activity within 1 to 2 miles of his location.
    The crew is in the black and has been there for some time. All have their gear either off or comfortable. This is a crew at this point that dose not expect to move.
    The discussion between Marsh and Steed and an unknown person. Then all of a sudden they are up and moving (to reengage)
    Something happened that put them on the move just after that discussion?
    We are finding bits of information that we are putting together. I think its all there we are going to have to drag it out one peace at a time.
    When they stepped down into unburned fuel from the black they lost all control of the situation awareness. A calculated risk not a good choice. I think they made that decision based on somebody telling them to get to Yarnell that they could not refuse.

    • Elizabeth N. says

      Bob or anyone, before I forget, what are the chances Steed/Marsh moved b/c of the THUNDER that they and others heard? Meaning, they did not want to wait in the black and get toasted by lightening….

      PAGING JOY and SONNY/TEX: Where Steed was resting with the crew (in the black) at roughly 4 p.m., does that area strike you as a lightening rod – is it the highest point in the area, such that lightening was a credible motivator to get Steed/Marsh to move.
      Also, WHERE – exactly,, as best you can – did Sonny/Tex recently find the pink tape?
      THIRD, have you hiked to the area where you think Steed/Marsh started going down, and is there anything there that would suggest WHY they went down at that exact place? Meaning, was there an old dirt trail there? Was there a natural reduction in the brush there? Was that the only place where there were NOT boulders? Did you see ANYTHING that would explain *that* descent point rather than one twenty or 50 or whatever yards before or after?

      • Bob Powers says

        It looked like the mountain was full of bolder areas from the Google. I do not believe that lighting was a factor and they had not seen any ground strikes in the area. They were off the top of the mountain from there pictures. so not on the ridge line anyway . If there was lighting they would have been more exposed when they went down the ridge. (don’t expose your self on the ridge line and stay away from your metal tools) part of safety training. I did not see or hear any concern about the lighting, I believe air attack would have been talking about that as well.

        • Elizabeth N. says

          Thank you, Bob. FYI – my disk came from Az Forestry today. If nobody else uploads the materials (e.g. the media), I will do it tonight!

          • Bob Powers says

            It sounded like john was going to do that. Or it may have been Wildfire today. I start getting mixed up here. Also my news paper is running a 4 day news on fatality fires. there good article’s ( magicvalley.com Times news) started Sunday.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to Elizabeth N. post on Dec 16, 2013 at 12:42 pm

        Elizabeth…

        Re: Lightning/Thunder that afternoon

        I don’t trust the SAIR narrative as far as I can throw it…
        but I believe a lot of the ‘doppler radar’ and other
        meteorological charts and data are up to snuff. It’s
        just data from outside sources. It doesn’t lie and
        doesn’t appear to have been ‘manipulated’ like
        the ‘narrative’ part of the SAIR obviously has been.

        Page 72 of the SAIR is the only place it mentions any
        evidence of lightning and/or thunder that afternoon
        and it was just two quick in-cloud strikes at 4:20 PM.

        That would have been 20 minutes AFTER Granite
        Mountain had decided to ‘leave the black’. It is
        curious, however, that these two recorded thunder
        claps would have been heard by Steed at just about
        the moment he was deciding to drop off the two-track
        road and descend into the canyon.

        I personally don’t believe this influenced Steed’s
        decision to leave the two-track in any way. I still believe
        that wasn’t even a ‘moment of choice’ for Steed while
        he was leading the line of 17 other men… with Marsh
        still catching up from behind. A ‘decision moment’
        or a ‘need to consult’ only takes place when you
        actually think you have options to talk about with
        someone. Steed had NO IDEA there was any
        other option that afternoon or anything to ‘discuss’
        with anyone… so his ‘left-blinker’ just went on the
        moment the Boulder Springs Ranch came into view.

        That being said… the actual timing for the recorded
        thunder being heard at 4:20 PM is, in fact, curious.

        >> Page 72 of the SAIR…
        >>
        >> Around 1620 MST, field personnel near Highway 89 in
        >> the Yarnell area began to hear thunder, and shortly
        >> afterward noted spritzes of rain or mist mixed with
        >> ash. The Earth Networks Total Lightning Network
        >> verified the thunder, showing two in-cloud lightning
        >> flashes at 1620 (Figure 11)

        NOTE that these were ‘in-cloud’ lightning strikes… so
        no ghastly bolts were seen hitting any ground… but
        GM would certainly have heard the thunder at exactly
        4:20 PM.

        Re: PAGING JOY and SONNY/TEX

        Obviously I can’t answer for them… but most of the
        questions you are asking of them have already been
        discussed in the previous ‘chapter’ of this ongoing
        research/commenting on Mr. Dougherty’s previous
        article at this URL…

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

        I will post some of those (pevious) answers here just
        to save the lookup time…

        >> Elizabeth asked…
        >> WHERE, exactly, did Sonny/Tex recently
        >> find the pink tape?

        Tex already posted the exact longitude/latitude point
        on the previous discussion thread. It is exactly here…

        Latitude: 34.2215
        Longitude: -112.78218

        34.2215, -112.78218

        Just cut-and-paste the line above with the comma
        between the decimal latitude/longitude values into
        the search bar of Google Maps, hit RETURN, and
        the exact location will appear. A GREEN ARROW
        will be pointing to this exact point on the ridge road.

        >> Elizabeth asked…
        >> You have you hiked to the area where you think
        >> Steed/Marsh started going down, and is there
        >> anything there that would suggest WHY they went
        >> down at that exact place? Meaning, was there an
        >> old dirt trail there?

        Yes, there was. 2 of them, in fact. One that heads
        right for the ‘gully’ and another that heads for the
        series of ‘clearings’ that connect together all the
        way down to the deployment site.

        See link to VIDEO below.

        >> Was there a natural reduction in the brush there?

        Yes. Multiple places. See link to VIDEO below.

        >> Was that the only place where there
        >> were NOT boulders?

        No. Multiple ‘clear’ spots there to begin a descent.
        Again… see the link to the VIDEO posted below.

        >> Did you see ANYTHING that would explain *that*
        >> descent point rather than one twenty or 50 or
        >> whatever yards before or after?

        You can see for yourself, and decide.

        A video was posted on the previous ‘chapter’ thread
        that provides a complete ‘visual’ on this.

        It is a close-up ‘fly-down’ and ‘fly-back’ of the exact
        area you are asking about.

        Notice the series of ‘clearings’ that all line up towards
        the deployment site. There still has been no definitive
        proof that GM utilized these ‘clearings’ to assist
        their descent… but they were definitely ‘there’.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUiv3TC-RrY

        The actual DATE on the satellite imagery used for
        this closeup ‘fly-down’ and ‘fly-back’ in the box
        canyon is April 9, 2013… just 82 days before the
        tragedy.

        The EXACT spot where Tex Gilligan found the pink
        tape is also marked in this video and you will see
        that it is some distance beyond the point where
        the drainage gully met the saddle… which is
        where the SAIR diagram thinks they descended.

        So that means only a finite set of things…

        1) The entire line of men reached the point where
        the pink tape was found… ONE of them dropped
        the roll of tape… and then the entire line of men
        ‘backed up’ on the road to then descend where
        the SAIR diagram thinks they did. ( Not likely ).

        2) The entire line of men began their descent in
        that ‘clear’ area right there where the tape was dropped
        or just shortly beyond that.

        3) Steed and his line of 17 men did, in fact, descend
        where the drainage meets the gully… but when Marsh
        finally caught up from behind… he went beyond that point,
        dropped the roll of pink tape where Tex found it, and then
        descended himself at a different point still trying to
        ‘catch up’ with the rest of them who were down in
        the canyon already.

        • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

          OR, 4) Marsh had not caught up with the crew yet, and the tape was intensionally left by the crew to mark the point of desent for Marsh. With things starting to look a bit dicey, the roll with not much tape left on it, might not have been a priority for him to pick up.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Yes… perfectly possible.

            My own opinion on that would be…

            1) The roll was so depleted that it just
            simply stands to reason it belonged
            to Marsh. There isn’t much evidence
            of Steed or any squad boss using their
            tapes much that day. You can actually
            SEE all these ‘other’ rolls of pink tape
            on the backs of these men in the
            MacKenzie video(s) and still pictures,
            right before they headed south. I don’t
            see any rolls of pink that look ‘depleted’
            enough to match the one Tex found.

            2) If you ARE going to ‘mark a spot’ for
            someone… wouldn’t you try to do a
            better job? It was not found ON the
            road. It was in an unlikely place just
            off the side of the road… and that’s why
            many, many SAIT investigators walked
            right by it and never even saw it. It was
            only Tex Gilligan’s sharp eyes that
            found it some time after the investigators
            were ‘up there’.

            Brings up a good question for WFF people,
            however. When you ARE in a ‘mountain
            trail’ area… and trying to mark a spot
            where you left the road for someone
            who is coming up later… what’s the
            standard practice? Just drop a roll of
            tape on the ground and HOPE the guy
            sees it… or something more obvious
            like an ‘arrow’ weighted with rocks,
            or something?

            • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

              I’ll go with that. They would have done a better job marking the spot than just leaving a depleted roll on the ground.!

    • mike says

      Bob – you are right, a calculated risk is a very poor choice. Looking at this situation, you all see risk. The thing is, I don’t think Marsh did, at least as far as affecting their planned route. Maybe it was the speed or the direction he saw, whatever it was he did not think it was going to affect them.

      Having said that, I do not think they leave the black without the Musser request. Not because Musser “ordered” them, in fact Musser almost certainly said OK when Marsh turned him down. But now they knew they were needed, had something to do. When he decided they could move safely (after talking with Steed), Marsh decided to move. Musser did not request the whole crew, but since they were not doing anything, the whole crew moved as a unit.

      I really do not think that Willis was involved in any kind of order. If Marsh thought it was dangerous and Willis told him to go, Marsh would have told him what he thought (this is a man who would not sign paperwork he did not think was correct). No way if that happens does Willis pull rank, that would be insane.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to mike post on December 16, 2013 at 10:26 pm

        So… do you think after the TDWAO ( Turn Down With
        Alternate Option ) to Musser… the ‘comfort level’ heard
        in the MacKenzie video was referring to the following?

        1) We have our OPS1 ( Abel ) telling us to just
        ‘hunker and be safe’.

        2) We have our OPS2 ( Musser ) asking us to send
        people to town to help.

        If we try to please (2)… do we piss off (1)… or even
        be accused later of ‘disobeying an order’ ( Sic: ‘hunker
        and be safe’ ).

        Maybe that’s what the real ‘comfort level’ was that
        Marsh was asking Steed about.

        COULD their choice to please OPS2 be considered
        ‘disobeying a directive’ from another OPS ( OPS1 ),
        and would there be consequences for that later?

        Could that explain WHY such an experienced crew
        would appear to have gone out of their way to NOT
        tell the command channels exactly where they
        were or what their real intentions were?

        Were they aiming for a ‘Forgiveness will be easier
        than permission’ scenario?

        Seems plausible… now that we KNOW the two different
        directives/request they received from different OPS
        level command people within minutes of each other.

        • mike says

          In the MacKenzie video, I think they are discussing moving, obviously that is the question of the moment at the time. I don’t know how they viewed what Abel said, does not seem like they viewed it as a drop-dead order. Remember, Abel says he did not recall saying that – kinda odd if it was some kind of formal order. Are we even sure that Marsh heard it?

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Reply to mike post on Dec 17, 2013 at 12:07

            It seems like the more information that
            comes out… we get less and less SURE
            of anything.

            You just hit on one of the things that is
            VERY confusing in this WFF ‘culture’.

            One moment… all you hear is how
            important all this more-than-quasi military
            approach to the work is… and how
            important all this ‘discipline’ and
            ‘structure’ and these ‘command level’
            positions are… and then in the next breath
            you hear that the actual REALITY is that
            no one ever really tells anyone to do
            anything… you just sort of make suggestions
            and/or ‘ask nice’.

            Then you throw in this very strict ‘Turn
            Down With Alternate Option’ protocol and
            the confusion deepens even more.

            So WHEN is a simple ‘suggestion’ or
            ‘advice’ coming from up above ever
            actually considered a ‘directive’ or even
            an outright ‘command’?

            Apparently… it’s really, really hard to say.

          • Bob Powers says

            I think the real problem here is everybody assumed GM would stay in the black. IC, OPS all 3 and Blue Ridge. No body thought they would go down thru the unburned, because they would not have done it. So a passing in a conversation Hunker and be safe. Probably not an order but a closing remark.

      • Bob Powers says

        Again we keep coming back to this. Marsh made the decision, ask to or not he is responsible for the safety of the crew. Marsh moved with out a plan or notifying anyone on the decision.

  80. Rocksteady says

    Fullsail,, if you are so annoyed by others opinions, stop reading and posting.

    Elizabeth, keep asking the question to the puzzle.

    For your info, I am an active WFF, with 31 years of experience. I am presently certified as an I/C 2, Ignition Specialist 1, FBAN 1, plus many other certifications. The only dog in the fight I have, is I feel that this incident was a cluster, the investigations were a cover up, and if WE do not do the legwork investigation on our own, the answers may not be found, for the famikies of those that perished.

    Mike

  81. Bob Powers says

    Elisabeth–While there is a strict chain of command I do believe Gary and I would also say that a good relationship between the squad bosses and asst. supt. and supt. allows the complete discussion and flow of information’ if there is a concern or problem. In our crew we always relied on each other to bring up concerns. The Supt. still made the decisions but always listened to the input. You heard Marsh ask Steed if he was comfortable with that? Part of the discussion. Again sometimes group think takes over If you do not review the 10 and 18 at that point you miss the opportunity to make good decisions. Review dose not take long but will immediately bring up red flags if the plan is not complete.

    On the fire I referred to earlier I and the crew were lucky because a preplanned SZ was in place and close to everyone.

    I do have a big dog in this hunt as you know. What happened on Rattle Snake, Mann Gulch, Loop, North canyon, Cramer Yarnell and others Has the same problem
    1. Unburned Fuel between you and the fire.
    2. Communications
    3. Lookout
    4. Escape rout and SZ close and accessible.
    Those are and have been the main 4 for over 60 years, situation awareness a full evaluation and continued awareness and update continually. Unburned Fuel has been overlooked to many times. Maybe because we spend to much time doing indirect attack, or just underestimate the fire. In this higher large fires and fuels with drought this needs to be a priority in fire fighters safety and situation awareness. Over 60 years its not new its just being overlooked and Fire Fighters are dying.

  82. NV says

    This continues to be an outstanding example of community-driven journalism. @Fullsail, if you’re frustrated by the length of some of the replies, view them as the equivalent of notes, not final reports. Elizabeth’s point about the brittleness of hierarchical command structures is a valid risk management issue present in any high-stakes environment. The military talks about it. Mountaineering and skiing guides (who are naturally deferred to) talk about it. For purposes of understanding GM’s actions, I think numerous commentators have actually suggested (as Elizabeth has not) that GM was in fact following a non-hierarchical model, with everyone individually assessing and agreeing to the actions and route chosen. For purposes of understanding decision-making here, understanding that this is a hierarchy is helpful. Likewise, Marsh being subject to pressure from his boss, particularly in light of disagreements over signing off on GM’s status earlier in the year, I believe is quite possible.

    As to the 10 and 18 in high-stress situations, I believe it actually makes them more valuable in that situation. Since normal, case by case analysis is going to suffer from everything from lack of sleep to being out of breath to fragmented command, having rules that have been drilled almost like motor skills to help is very valuable.

    Part of what the group here has helped piece together (with Elizabeth and WTKTT as integral parts of doing so) is that the SAIR left out some key pieces to the puzzle in terms of what record exists of what was said and done.

    • xxfullsailxx says

      thanks, but i don’t care to read someone’s stream of consciousness.

      GM had something like 7 second year ff’s and a bunch of rookies and 2 of 3 new squad bosses. It was described as a rebuilding year and they were barely (questionably so…) qualified as an IHC. So it’s hard to believe that there was much democracy when it came to tactical decision making (as 90% of crews are not a democracy).

      There is good reason for the hierarchy on hotshot crews. The main one being, that the Sup. and Captain have earned there positions through years of experience and demonstrated ability to make decisions under stressful conditions. There is a chain of command for the very reason that E’s premise is trying to negate.

      so you are another “Willis made Marsh go down in the hole” theorist… for why? you think that Marsh was worried he would get fired if he didn’t march on command? maybe he was worried that he would get a bad year-end performance evaluation if he didn’t hike his folks down to Yarnell as quickly as possible? Maybe he knowingly put his own safety and the safety of 18 others in jeopardy because he was worried that Chief Willis might de-fund his crew next year? That theory is very contradictory to all reports of Eric Marsh’s character and abilities as a wildland firefighter.

      community driven journalism, eh? i thought it was a lot of people with too much time on their hands micro-analyzing and commenting on a news article. i’d be curious to know if john dougherty has his team scouring this “notepad” everyday for ideas?

  83. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** SAIT NOTES CONTAIN PROOF THAT THERE IS
    ** MORE MACKENZIE ( AND/OR OTHER ) VIDEO.

    The SAIT NOTES released on Friday state CLEARLY that there is more
    Christopher MacKenzie video/audio ( and/or other video/audio ) available
    that has never been seen ( or heard ) publicly.

    Jim Karels himself says ( in his notes ) that this ‘unreleased’ video/audio
    covers the Steed/Marsh ‘discussing their options’ timeframe and contains
    Todd Abel’s (OPS1’s) participation ( and voice ) in this discussion.

    I think it’s ironic ( and, somehow, appropriate ) that Jim Karels himself is the
    one who has ‘slipped up’ in his notes and revealed that the SAIT was ( with
    HIS ultimate permission and guidance ) letting the SAIT members edit and
    withhold evidence, dial back times on a poor dead boy’s last photographs,
    and omit key testimony and facts from the SAIR document and the carefully
    coordinated September 28, 2013 ‘media dump’.

    When Jim Karels ( the head of the entire SAIT team ) was interviewing OPS1
    ( Todd Abel )… he specifically asked him if he recalled him telling Marsh
    ‘hunker and be safe’… because they have him captured on VIDEO / AUDIO
    as ‘having said that to Marsh’.

    Abel says he doesn’t recall that conversation… even though it was captured
    on video/audio.

    Guess what?

    There is no “hunker and be safe” moment in the publicly released
    ( and obviously edited ) 9 second video clips from Christopher MacKenzie.

    So what ‘video evidence of the conversation’ is Jim Karels referring to?

    Parts that have been EDITED OUT of the public MacKenzie clips…
    …or is there even another VIDEO ( or more than one ) that we still don’t
    know about that was capturing the ‘discussing their options’ conversation?

    What follows is the ‘proof’ itself from page 1 of the SAIT NOTES, and then
    then what ALL the other ‘reports’ say about this ‘hunker and be safe’
    moment.

    It’s a fascinating look at how the exact SAME EVENT is described differently
    in ( count ’em ) FOUR different documents now all paid for with Arizona
    taxpayer dollars.

    Pay close attention to the ‘~1555’ entry from Jim Karel’s notes directly below.

    Going into the interview with Todd Abel… Jim Karels already KNOWS that
    Abel told Marsh to ‘hunker and be safe’ because Karel’s own notes say
    ‘we have that radio conversation captured on video’.

    Abel himself then says he doesn’t recall that conversation.

    So how could the SAIR then end up saying Abel DID tell Marsh to ‘hunker
    and be safe’ ( which it does ) unless Karels is telling the truth here in his
    notes about them ‘having that radio conversation captured on video’?

    SAIT NOTES – Page 1

    These notes are compiled from recollections of, and discussions between,
    the accident team members who interviewed people involved with the
    Yarnell Hill Fire.

    Interview with Todd Abel by J Karels on 8/14/2013

    Just after the later weather forecast (around 1530) was when Marsh mentioned
    the winds squirrely. The broadcast came out, He’s (Abel) listening on the radio
    if everyone got it. He (Abel) thinks he might have walked over marsh. so he
    (Abel) calls (Marsh) to confirm with marsh that he got it and he did.

    Re: The ~1555 radio conversation that we HAVE ON THE VIDEO,
    (which includes the phrase okay, you hunker down in the black).
    Abel did not recall having this conversation with Marsh.

    NOTE: There it is. Jim Karels admits they have more video/audio
    covering this crucial Steed/Marsh ‘discussing their options’ timeframe
    which also includes Todd Abel’s participation in that discussion.

    What follows now is what actually ended up appearing in ALL the released
    reports regarding this timeframe covered in Karel’s notes…

    SAIR – Page 22…

    OPS1 is listening on the radio to make sure everyone received the most
    recent weather announcement. At about 1550, he radios DIVS A directly
    to ask if he got the weather update and if he is “in a good spot.” DIVS A
    affirms that he received the update, and he tells OPS1 the winds are
    starting to get “squirrely” up on the ridge. He says he is working his way
    off the top and OPS1 closes by advising DIVS A to hunker and be safe.

    NOTE: NO mention that this ‘hunker and be safe’ advice was actually
    captured on video as the SAIT NOTES say it was, or any mention
    that Abel himself told the SAIT he ‘did not even recall’ that part
    of the conversation even though they ‘have it on the video’.

    WFAR – Page 14…

    At 1550, several communications occurred at or near the same
    time. Field OSC called DIVS A by radio to make sure that DIVS A
    was aware of the latest weather update. DIVS A confirmed the
    update and noted that the winds were getting “squirrely” on the
    ridge. DIVS A informed Field OSC that GMIHC moving off the top.

    NOTE: NO mention of the ‘hunker and be safe’ directive from OPS1 ( Abel ).

    ADOSH – Page 18

    At approximately 1545 hours, Division A Supervisor Marsh had a
    radio conversation with Operations Section Chief 1 Abel
    regarding the weather and the position of Granite Mountain IHC.
    Marsh was located near the top of the Weaver Mountains and
    had a clear view of the thunderstorm, the fire, and the valley below.
    Marsh and Abel had been watching the storm for some time
    and discussed their concerns regarding the storm’s effects.
    Marsh reportedly stated that Granite Mountain was safe and
    in the black ( i.e, previously burned wildland ). Marsh mentioned
    that the winds were “squirrely” at his position and that the
    retardant and dozer lines north of Yarnell were being comprised.

    Shortly thereafter ( 1545 ) Operations Section Chief II Musser
    radioed GMIHC and asked if they could spare resources
    to assist in Yarnell. Either Marsh or GMIHC Captain Steed
    responded that they were committed to the black and
    that Musser should contact BRIHC working in the valley
    ( during his interview Musser stated that he wasn’t sure
    who he was talking with ).

    NOTE: The ADOSH version of these ‘moments’ contains much
    more detail about what Abel and Marsh ‘talked about’ and
    includes the same ‘winds are getting squrrely’ quote from
    Marsh… but the ADOSH narrative says NOTHING about
    Abel advising Marsh to ‘hunker and be safe’… even though
    the SAIT NOTES say they have Abel recorded ‘on video’
    as having said this around that time.

    END OF (OFFICIAL) REPORTS

    So somebody throw me a bone here.

    FOUR documents paid for with Arizona taxpayer dollars and we still don’t
    have the ‘straight story’.

    How many MORE reports ( and more taxpayer dollars ) is
    it going to take to get the frickin’ TRUTH, here?

    WHERE is this VIDEO that Jim Karels himself admits they HAVE?

  84. Elizabeth N. says

    RTS: When I read the Marquez interview, I got the impression that he was saying that Marsh wasn’t satisfied with where he (Marsh/GM) was in the geography and where he was going to therefore end up cutting an unconnected line. The way Marquez tells it, he didn’t just leave – just flounce off in a huff. He actually went off – seemingly with Marsh’s concurrence – to look for another access point, to get to a place where he could tie-in more effectively with Marsh.
    Remember that there is a group of folks here who believe that Steed was trying to take the ridge-line route to the Helms Ranch (and then Yarnell), but Steed came OFF the ridge b/c he failed to understand the sharp dip in the ridge path and the fact that it would quickly “un-dip” back toward the Helms ranch. Some folks believe that Marsh came down *after* Steed into the green, basically catching up to them *after* they had already gotten off the ridge-line (presumably accidentally), which might explain why Steed was calm at 4:39 and then a bit more panicked two minutes later when he caught up with the group.
    Two disparate thoughts, but I wanted to put them out there…..

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Elizabeth N. post on December 15, 2013 at 10:10 pm

      Odd timing, Elizabeth. I was just about to post something
      along those lines myself but you summarized it pretty well.

      The THEORY has been that we KNOW Marsh was NOT with
      Steed/Crew circa 4:02 PM ( The MacKenzie video and the
      partial capture of the ‘discussing their options’ conversation ).

      We also KNOW they were ‘on the move south’ just 3-4
      minutes later ( The Wade Parker photo showing them
      LEAVING the location of the MacKenzie video ).

      So it’s safe to say Marsh was NOT with them when they
      left that area.

      So what would the final ‘roll and go’ command have been
      from Marsh to Steed?

      Marsh: Just head for that ranch that’s supposed to be
      to the southeast there and I’ll catch up with you as
      soon as I can.

      Steed: Copy that. We’re gone.

      I still believe all the evidence is there that Marsh did NOT
      ‘catch up’ with them until AFTER either most or all of
      the line of 18 men had already descended into the canyon.

      I believe that Steed has his ‘marching orders’… and when
      he reached that saddle and the Ranch came into view…
      Steed just put his left blinker on… left the road… and the
      ‘gaggle’ of 17 men behind him just put their left-blinkers
      on as well and followed him.

      Others with WFF experience have said ‘no way’ that Steed
      could have made a decision like that without first stopping
      and calling Eric… but I still believe despite what might
      have been ‘normal procedure’… that that is exactly what
      happened that day.

      Steed had NO IDEA where that two-track road went.
      If he believed there was only ONE way to get to the ranch
      then, to him, it wasn’t a ‘moment of decision’ at all.
      It was the ONLY way to get there, he had his marching
      orders… so on comes his ‘left blinker’.

      When Marsh finally DID catch them… I believe the roll of
      pink tape that hiker Tex Gilligan found proves that he
      only did so when they had already left the road. That
      roll of pink tape was well-depleted… and Eric was the
      one doing most of the ‘trail marking’ that day. I believe
      the only reason it was there for Tex to find is because
      Eric Marsh became the LAST MAN in the line and there
      was no one there to see him drop it, pick it up, and hand
      it back to him.

      So for Eric Marsh… dropping into the canyon simply became
      a moment of… “There they go… and I must follow them…
      for I am their leader.”

      There is also now a piece of NEW evidence to support
      this theory and it is in the video/audio just released Friday.

      Eric Marsh was known to be in GREAT shape. Even the
      hikers Tex Gilligan and Joy Collura… when they first met
      him up near the ridge at exactly 8:07 AM that morning…
      both commented on what great shape he was in and
      the ‘agility’ he was displaying. They said he ‘moved like
      a deer and was never out of breath’.

      Well… listen to the audio track just released.

      When Eric Marsh finally comes onto the radio… he is
      completely OUT OF BREATH. Calm… yes… but he
      is obviously breathing heavily.

      I suppose I would be too if I’d just seen a wall of flames in
      front of me but stick with me for a moment.

      This was not PANIC ‘out of breath’… it sounds like simply
      ‘at the end of runninig’ type ‘out of breath’.

      So I believe the new video/audio proves that not only was it
      Jesse Steed ( at the head of the line of 19 men ) who is
      the one ‘breaking in on Arizona 16’ for that first MAYDAY…

      I believe the time that passes then before we hear Marsh
      come on the radio ‘out of breath’ is because he was
      WAAY back at the end of the line and only realized the
      trouble Steed was in up ahead when he heard the
      same MAYDAY from Steed.

      Marsh then RAN through the tangled brush as fast as he
      could to get to Steed… and then ‘took over’ as ‘DIVS A’
      when he saw the real situation… and that’s why he is
      so ‘out of breath’ on that ‘we are deploying’ transmission.

      (Almost) all the evidence is there now to support this theory
      on how they got down there ( Steed made the actual decision )
      and what happened in those last moments ( Eric had to run
      up to Steed from way in the back to even see what was
      really happening ).

      • Elizabeth N. says

        WTKTT: Quick question for you – you think that the panicked transmission was Steed, with Marsh following-up shortly thereafter. Can you please go back and re-listen to that? I opened the video in two different browsers, and played both communications in immediate succession. It sort of sounded like Marsh both times. I think one of the guys in the background of the fellow with the helmet video-cam actually says (with respect to that first panicked yelling) “is that Eric [Marsh]?”
        It makes more SENSE if the first transmission is Steed, and the second is Marsh, but I am not actually sure if that is honestly the truth. Re-listen to them if you get a second – one right after the other – and tell me what you think….

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Reply to Elizabeth N. post
          on Dec 16, 2013 at 8:20 am said:

          Elizabeth. I have done as you asked.

          I am still convinced that whenever the caller in
          that video simply identifies himself as
          “Granite Mountain”… that is Jesse Steed, and
          only when the caller finally identifies himself
          as “DIVS A here with Granite Mountain” do
          we hear Eric Marsh ( out of breath ) for the
          first time in that MAYDAY sequence.

          You missed a LOOONG discussion about this
          in ‘chapter 1’ of this research/commenting
          that was done without benefit of any audio.

          A number of experienced WFF people chimed
          in and agreed that once Eric Marsh knew
          that he was ‘DIVS A’… he was too experienced
          and conscientious a firefighter to NOT then
          be ‘identifying’ himself with the call sign
          ‘DIVS A’ at all times for the remainder of the day.

          Even in his final moments… and on his final
          radio communications… he does that.

          When the caller just begins a transmission
          with ‘Granite Mountain’ ( and no DIVS A prefix ),
          you can also be sure that is Captain Jesse
          Steed… also following proper radio protocol.

  85. Robert the Second says

    xxfullsailxx – thanks for adding your experienced insight to the thread.

    Just to let you know, I have quite a few years of ONGOING and CURRENT wildland fire experience, and even though I am actively involved in this thread, I am NOT a slacker.

    I took the time to read several of the interviews from the AZCentral.com site that Mike suggested. It’s worth the time. A lot (60 pages) of good information there even though they are interviews and NOT statements from the individuals.
    http://www.azcentral.com/ic/pdf/1213-yarnell-interview-notes.pdf

    These are excerpts taken from the interview in somewhat progressive interview-order if that makes sense. All EMPHASIS is added by me.

    OPS Abel interview

    “Marsh’s phone call, they talked about resources and division break between z and alpha (Marsh said somewhat heated discussion, but they worked out the break …”

    BRHS Supt. interview
    The Air Attack (Rory Collins) was putting retardent drops on GMHS firing operation TWICE even though AA was aware they were burning out their indirect line. AA was DIRECTING Marsh toward going DIRECT ATTACK instead of indirect and burning out.

    This squares with what I posted earlier about this guy’s Douglas Forest Protection Agency, contracting with Oregon Division of Forestry, INFLUENCE regarding DIRECT ATTACK – because these guys DON’T burn out.

    IC Roy Hall interview
    The arrogant IC Hall’s first sentence was “YOU UNDERSTAND WHO I AM:” Oh, I’m impressed.

    “My first priority was to get aircraft over the fire. Second priority, told Russ that we stand together at the briefing.” And WHERE does firefighter and public safety fit in?

    Rance Marquez interview
    “My conversation with Eric LED ME TO BELIEVE THAT HE FELT THAT HE WASN’T GOING TO BE EFFECTIVE WHERE THEY WERE.”

    I think this is fairly revealing as it rings true with a statement Willis said at the news conference at the fatality site. Willis said “NO wildland firefighter is satisfied sitting IN THE BLACK as the fire progresses …”

    Really? This wildland firefighter is PERFECTLY SATISFIED with sitting in the black as the fire progresses. When the big dog’s eating, you let the big dog eat. You can go engage AFTER the fire makes its runs.

    Was this PFD policy or SOP or just something Willis made up for the media circus that day? If it was some type of an accepted PFD practice, then this MAY have had some influence on WHY Marsh and GMHS left their perfectly good SZ.

    Marquez makes this statement about the BRHS – “BLUE RIDGE WAS DOING NOTHING.” So, in spite of all they had done and were doing that day, he clearly was NOT aware of it because HE LEFT THE DIVISION!

    If not for the BRHS, there were A LOT of firefighters, vehicles, AND citizens that MAY have been burned over that day. Just read the interviews of these Engine Bosses and crewmembers with very little situational awareness!

    Musser and Abel interview
    “MARSH CALLED ABLE ON THE CELL PHONE and mentioned there was some intense communication between himself and Marquez on the Division break between Alpha and Zula.”

    So, Marsh either had a phone or borrowed one and INITIATED the call to OPS.

    “Musser hears radio traffic from Eric Marsh, Granite Mountain, that said “THEY WERE GOING TO PRE-DETERMINED ROUTE TO THE STRUCTURES.” EMPHASIS in original here. “Musser was not sure who that radio traffic was sent to?”

    This is almost exactly what I comment on earlier from Musser.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      All good ‘catches’ in the NOTES…

      …but the BIG one is that only now… months later… after all
      the speculation… we learn that Eric Marsh most certainly
      had his own cell/smartphone that day ( unlikely he would
      have been borrowing someone else’s for these off-road
      conversations )…

      …and that Marsh wasn’t hesitating to use it when he had
      something he wanted to talk about but also wanted to
      keep it off the radio. ( E.g. Talking with OPS about Marquez ).

      Where is that cell phone now?

      Screw phone company records ( though those would
      still help )… that phone will have its own onboard ‘call history’
      complete with calls sent/received, times, phone numbers,
      call duration lengths, etc.

      We still have no idea what the results of any of the ACTIC
      ( Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center ) examinations
      of the phones were.

      At least two of the phones sent to ACTIC were iPhones that
      were still fully functional after the burnover. The YCSO
      police investigators just said they were ‘password protected’
      ( which means they were fully operational and still powering
      on ) but they were just going to need ACTIC to make the
      standard request(s) to Apple to get the code needed to
      bypass the password protection.

      Well… DID they?

      We still need to know how, in just the space of
      a FEW MINUTES… we got from this…

      ** GOOD CHOICE

      TDWAO ( Turn Down With Alternate Option ) and
      Marsh/Steed telling Musser “We can’t spare resources.
      We are committed to the black (now). Try Blue Ridge”…

      to ( minutes later ) this…

      ** BAD CHOICE

      Let’s break every rule we were ever taught… try to beat the fire
      into Glen Ilah… and also make sure no one on the standard
      command radio channels REALLY knows where we are or
      what we’re doing.

      That’s an astonishing ‘turnaround’…
      in just the space of a few minutes.

      Sole decision of Marsh/Steed? ( Brendan would know ).
      Cell phone call in there? ( Multiple ways to find out ).
      Third-party directive via radio? ( Brendan would also know ).
      Heat stroke?

      Which?

      • Elizabeth N. says

        FYI – I asked (via FOIL/FOIA) for either the phone records that the investigators looked at or at least a LIST of the records that they reviewed. Whatever they are giving me in response will come this week.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Be prepared to discover that the actual documented
          results from ACTIC ( Arizona Counter Terrorism
          Information Center ) might still be sitting in a
          filing cabinet over at the YCSO police station.

          The specific request for data extraction(s) came
          FROM the YCSO police to the ACTIC group, so
          that’s where the results would be returned.

          If the SAIT people did not, themselves, REQUEST
          a copy of those results… then they won’t be
          in any FOIA/FOIL package from them.

          Something tells me the SAIT didn’t give a hoot
          in heck about any of that. They already had
          their story cooked up by the time those ACTIC
          results were available and didn’t need any
          ‘facts’ messing up their day.

          So without any ‘interest’ in the documents… and
          no criminal activity to pursue… those result
          documents are just buried in a filing cabinet
          over at the YCSO police station.

          ADOSH published it’s entire ‘event list’ at the
          start of their investigation as to who they made
          requests for information to. They also did NOT
          make any requests to YCSO for the results
          of the ACTIC phone examinations.

          • Elizabeth N. says

            WTKTT: ADOSH reviewed the materials reviewed for the preparation of the SAIR. If the SAIR “team” reviewed the phone records, then ADOSH also did. The way I worded my FOIL/FOIA request, I should get the records regardless of who prepared them, as long as they were submitted to Forestry. Your point is duly noted, though. If I do not get them in the package coming this week, I will follow-up with YCSO.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              ADOSH did, in fact, have the right permissions to examine evidence in the possession of YCSO. See the actual proof of this ( below ) from the YCSO police report…

              …but there is nothing in the ADOSH that says they ever actually inquired about the phones OR the ACTIC results.

              The ‘letter’ they refer to below was eventually supplied and ADOSH was able to see pretty much anything they wanted to ( or ASKED to see ) over at the YCSO evidence storage… but the phones were no longer there… and there is no known information about what happened to them after they were sent to ACTIC.

              Page 9 of the YCSO police report…

              On 07/10/13 Bruce Hanna and Brett Steurer of OSHA came to the office and asked for me. They had been given my contact information. They said they were conducting their own separate investigation into the incident. They asked to eventually go to the scene once they had an “expert” in place. They asked to view the shelters, photos and reports. I contacted Lt. Boelts who said it would be OK to give them (what we have) providing they provide us with the request on a letterhead. I had them direct the letter to Lt. Boelts as I would be away for a couple weeks. I gave them Lt. Boelts contact information. I gave them my card. They gave me their cards and a pamphlet showing the laws that gave them the authorization to ask for these things. I gave copies of these items to Lt. Boelts. We are awaiting the letter before taking any further action.

              Date, Time, Reporting Officer:
              Tue Jul 16 10:43:08 MST 2013
              Det J McDormett #5472

    • xxfullsailxx says

      robert- i respect what you’ve had to say throughout these articles and appreciate the obvious experience that you bring to this discussion…i hear what you’re saying… by all accounts that shift sounds like a complete debacle.

      i had started reading the interview notes a couple days ago and need to pick back up on it… i agree, that they offer more insight and evidence than what the general public has been offered prior. but they also show how futile it is for so many in this comment arena to be trying to piece together bits and pieces of details down to the last minute when odds are, no one was taking notes of exact times, or exact radio transmissions. unit logs are handy tools, but when sh!t is hitting the fan, it’s impossible to keep track of all the movements and conversations.

      Re: Blue Ridge… i think they were doing exactly what they should have been, letting the crew sit while the overhead was out scouting
      and coming up with a plan. when they felt like they had safe, manageable work, they put the crew to work.

      Re: Air Attack… i can only imagine how frustrating that was having air attack dictate the tactics in Marsh’s division. and i hear you about ODF… a lot of them don’t like to cold-trail either.

      Re: Prescott SOP’s… to me it doesn’t matter if that’s their SOP’s. they weren’t in Prescott FD’s jurisdiction. Willis was not their supervisor on that fire. you don’t think Marsh was a strong enough leader to say “no” if he felt a given assignment was unsafe? i know Musser (a Hotshot Sup himself for well over a decade) would have understood that they were committed to the black and unavailable to assist. and i would hope that Marsh had a strong enough relationship with Able (being from the same county) that they would understand each other’s position.

      i do believe that Marsh felt ineffective in the black at that point, and wanted to reengage his crew.

      • xxfullsailxx says

        and i am so tired of wading through “Elizabeth’s” and “want to know the truth’s” B.S.

        you all don’t have a clue what you’re talking about and you make huge leaps from very shaky foundations.

        “WTKTT”: you don’t know half of what you claim to “know.”

        “Elizabeth”: for someone who is “trained as a lawyer” you don’t seem to recognize the inadequacy of assumption.

        • Elizabeth N. says

          Dear xxfullsailxx:
          Thanks for the feedback, but which comments of mine are, in your words, “bullshit,” “ignoran[t],” and “huge leaps”? If you do not clarify, I cannot go back and rectify the situation, get a better understanding, or clarify what I am trying to communicate.
          Also, what is the “assumption” that you claim that I am failing to recognize as “inadequa[te]”?
          Thanks in advance.

          • xxfullsailxx says

            Elizabeth, i already gave a couple examples above. IN MY VIEW, you seem to be well intention-ed, but you don’t really have a clue what you’re talking about. you make all sorts of assumptions, to the point of trying to speak for people who are either deceased or whom you’ve never met.

        • Bob Powers says

          Bill almost cut you off his Wildfire today Because of your attack on people. You apologized but evidently haven’t learned your lesson. Please refrain from attacking people and be opened and involved in the process.

          • xxfullsailxx says

            bob, with all due respect, i have little to learn from someone who is continually claiming to have done everything right throughout their career, and who always followed the rules, and never had any employee get injured.

            (and who can’t recognize the many differences between fighting fire today vs. 20-30 years ago.)

            i am not “attacking people,” i am expressing an opinion… the fact that Bill Gabbert censors comments is certainly his prerogative, and i respect that he is the owner/creator of Wildfire Today. but his cherry picking of comments makes his website more of a blog than news media.

            • Bob Powers says

              Fullsale– I feel sorry for you if you cant learn any thing from me, Gary, Rod Wrench and others on this site and Wildfire today. Because I have been out of Fire for 20 years does not mean I do not understand fire today. Or I am not giving good advice from lessons learned in the past. I was on a lot of major fires in my time in many capacities. I did not have major accidents because I paid attention to safety, not because the hazards weren’t there. RTS can tell you what a hard head I was about safety.

            • Elizabeth N. says

              John Dougherty (who runs this website – investigativemedia.com) *just* posted the following comment:

              John Dougherty on December 16, 2013 at 10:53 am said:
              Please refrain from ANY personal attacks or nasty comments concerning anyone posting on this site. Please maintain a professional approach to discussing the issues. Disagreement is natural. But name calling will not be tolerated and anyone who continues to post in this manner will be permanently blocked from the site. Thank you, John

              • Bob Powers says

                Thank you John And Elizabeth I would like to get back on track with our research. I think fullsail has good things he could input in a positive manner. weather he wants to learn any thing from us is again up to him.

      • Robert the Second says

        xxfullsailxx,

        RE: The PFD SOP question

        I was always told that you had to follow YOUR rules and SOP from your home unit no matter where you were fighting fire. And I’m thinking maybe ATTITUDE or UNWRITTEN rule may be better terms for what I was trying to get across. Kind of like a peer pressure thing.

        I still believe that the decision to leave their perfectly good SZ was of his own volition, his own conclusion, along with the agreement by Steed. Although now it’s looking like Steed led the Crew out and Marsh caught up with them in the bowl.

        • xxfullsailxx says

          it is interesting to wonder what mindset GM had being from a municipal department; and if they felt like structure protection was their forte, since they were so closely attached to PFD. it would be interesting to hear from other IHC crew overhead about how they worked on other assignments and whether or not there was a common theme in the assignments they took or were given. knowing that they just came off the Doce Fire, i wonder how that influenced their mindset. they were basically heralded as heroes in their own front yard. then, not even hardly a week later they’re in their backyard with similar scenario and possibly expectations.

          regardless, both steed and marsh came from pretty solid wildland backgrounds. they both trained and taught wildland concepts and tactics. they knew weather and fire behavior and they sure as hell knew LCES. no matter what anyone else was telling them or asking of them (or any module leader for that matter) they assessed the risk themselves, and probably made the decision together to disengage and walk out.

          i think we’re saying the same thing. thanks.

  86. xxfullsailxx says

    B.Powers and a few others-

    the fact is, you ARE looking for a smoking gun. whether it be air attack flying off the fire, a div sup leaving the line, confusion from too many ops. section chief’s or a dictator/hypnotist Division Chief “ord