Comments

  1. Marti Reed says

    calvin said JANUARY 13, 2016 AT 3:49 AM

    Do you have any idea exactly how many aircraft or how many gallons of retardant were dropped on the YHF between the time we hear “Air support down there” and the time of deployment?

    As we know, there was no retardant lines placed to protect Glen Isla or Yarnell in that timeframe

    ———————————————————————————————–

    Via the Air Study Videos we have a very good record of the various drops on the fire during all of that time.

    I’m writing this off the top of my head, and way past my bedtime, but I think your question is important.

    Until the 4;30-ish drop that the SAIR incorrectly (imho) said Eric said ‘that’s where we want it,” the aerial fire-fighting was going on on the northeast and then east flanks of the fire. Firstly defending areas in the Model Creek Road area, and then in the Sickles Road Area.

    After that, in the time framework you are speaking of, the aerial fire-fighting then turned it’s attention to the southwest part of the fire. They then managed to put in one line of retardant at around 4:30 (from, I think, about Shrine Road north-eastward), and then while they were lining up the DC-10 for a line continuing that, the Deployment happened.

    After the deployment, they continued dropping retardant from the first line they put in all the way towards the northeast, to defend Yarnell.

    The line Bravo 3 dropped, earlier in the day, across the bowl was basically in vain.

    However, it looks to me that the lines dropped in the Model Creek Road area and across the top of Yarnell were successful, via the aerial photos in this article on this UK-based Daily Mail Website:
    —————————————————————————————-

    “Devastation left by ‘firestorm’ that killed 19 Arizona firefighters: Shocking aerial images show town burned to the ground by blaze”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2353353/Arizona-wild-fires-pictures-Shocking-aerial-images-utter-devastation.html

    You have to scroll down a bit to come to the actually quite interesting collection of aerial photos that show where the retardant lines stopped the fire. I’ve mapped almost all of these photos, by the way. I have absolutely no clue how they managed to obtain these photos.

    So, imho, the story is…………complicated.

    OK its more than past my bedtime. Goodnight.

    • Marti Reed says

      PS. Given what I’ve seen in these aerial photos, it has always disturbed me that they didn’t start that line above Glen Illah. I don’t know why that was the case. I really don’t and it bothers me.

  2. Marti Reed says

    Yikes! San Bernardino!

    I spent a bunch of time “there” yesterday reading about the whole WUI thing.

    I guess what’s going on right now there might be comparable to Initial Attack on a quickly expanding wildfire in the Wildland Urban Interface?

    • Marti Reed says

      Ok, for some strange reason I posted this in the wrong place. Will move it to the right place.

      I have no idea why or how this happened.

  3. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** EXIF METADATA SUMMARY FROM
    ** ALL OF THE PANEBAKER AIR STUDY VIDEOS

    Below is a just a short summary of the EXIF data contained in ALL of the
    Panebaker videos sitting in the online Dropbox folder.

    You can see clearly below what Marti has been talking about with embedded
    time stamps ( and GPS time stamps ) actually bearing no relation to the
    time stamp(s) eventually used in the FILENAMES themselves.

    The Nikon Coolpix seems to have been set TWO hours ahead of real time
    and the filenames used for files coming from the camera were just ‘dialed back’
    manually, or something.

    The first SEVEN Panebaker videos show below also contain a short NOTE after
    the EXIF data that tries to show how both the ‘Creation Dates’ OR the GPS
    Time Stamp *may* have been used to come up with the actual time stamp
    used in the video filename.

    As you can see from these NOTES below… something is very strange about
    where the time stamps used for the video titles actually came from. None
    of them appear to be an exact match for either the ‘Creation Time’ or
    the ‘GPS Time’ embedded in the movie itself.

    Also note… MOST of the videos taken with the Nikon Coolpix P520 do, in fact,
    have UTC based GPS timestamps… but SOME videos from the (same?)
    Nikon do NOT. It is almost as if the GPS was being turned OFF on the Nikon
    for only SOME of the videos shot that day.

    ** PANEBAKER AIR STUDY VIDEOS

    File Name: 20130630_143844_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 16:38:41
    Duration: 2.24 s
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520

    File Name: 20130630_144226_VLAT_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 16:40:52
    Duration: 0:01:32
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520
    GPS Time Stamp: 21:40:46.57 UTC ( AZ 14:40:46.57 PM )
    GPS Date Stamp: 2013:06:30
    GPS Position: 34 deg 16′ 19.85″, 112 deg 43′ 51.89″
    NOTE: GPS time stamp of 14:40:46 AZ time plus 1:32
    equals 1442.18, but that is still 8 seconds shy of 1442.26.
    16:40:52 plus 1:32 equals 1642.24, but subtracting two
    hours manually still only gives 1442.24, which is still
    two seconds shy of filename time stamp 1442.26.

    File Name: 20130630_144508_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 16:44:27
    Duration: 0:00:40
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520
    GPS Time Stamp: 21:44:22.11 UTC ( AZ 14:44:22.11 PM )
    GPS Date Stamp: 2013:06:30
    GPS Position: 34 deg 16′ 19.85″, 112 deg 43′ 51.94″
    NOTE: GPS time stamp of 14:44:22 AZ time plus 40 seconds
    gives 1445.02, but that is still 6 seconds shy of 1445.08.
    16:44:27 plus 40 seconds equals 1645.7, but subtracting two
    hours manually still only gives 1445.7, which is still
    ONE second shy of filename time stamp 1445.08.

    File Name: 20130630_144756_SEAT_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 16:45:37
    Duration: 0:02:17
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520
    GPS Time Stamp: 21:45:31.97 UTC ( AZ 14:45:31.97 PM )
    GPS Date Stamp: 2013:06:30
    GPS Position: 34 deg 16′ 19.85″, 112 deg 43′ 51.95″
    NOTE: GPS time stamp of 14:45:31 AZ time plus 2:17
    gives 1447.48, but that is still 8 seconds shy of 1447.56.
    16:45:37 plus 2:30 equals 1647.54, but subtracting two
    hours manually still only gives 1447.54, which is still
    TWO seconds shy of filename time stamp of 1447.56.

    File Name: 20130630_150016_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 16:59:44
    Duration: 0:00:29.66
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520
    GPS Time Stamp: 21:59:39.17 UTC ( AZ 14:59:39.17 PM )
    GPS Date Stamp: 2013:06:30
    GPS Position: 34 deg 16′ 20.99″, 112 deg 43′ 51.82″
    NOTE: GPS time stamp of 14:59:39 AZ time plus 29 seconds
    gives 1500.08, but that is still 8 seconds shy of 1500.16.
    16:59:44 plus 29 seconds equals 1700.13, but subtracting two
    hours manually still only gives 1500.13, which is still
    THREE seconds shy of filename time stamp of 1500.16.

    File Name: 20130630_150530_fire_behavior_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 17:05:10
    Duration: 0:00:17.55
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520
    GPS Time Stamp: 22:05:05.95 UTC ( AZ 15:05:05.95 PM )
    GPS Date Stamp: 2013:06:30
    GPS Position: 34 deg 16′ 20.99″, 112 deg 43′ 51.82″
    NOTE: GPS time stamp of 15:05:05 AZ time plus 17 seconds
    gives 1505.22, but that is still 8 seconds shy of 1505.30.
    17:05:10 plus 17 seconds equals 1705.27, but subtracting two
    hours manually still only gives 1505.27, which is still
    THREE seconds shy of filename time stamp of 1505.30.

    File Name: 20130630_150822_VLAT_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 17:06:28
    Duration: 0:01:52
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520
    GPS Time Stamp: 22:06:23.3 UTC ( AZ 15:06:23.3 PM )
    GPS Date Stamp: 2013:06:30
    GPS Position: 34 deg 16′ 20.99″, 112 deg 43′ 51.82″
    NOTE: GPS time stamp of 15:06:23 AZ time plus 1:52
    gives 1508.15, but that is still 7 seconds shy of 1508.22.
    17:06:20 plus 1:52 equals 1708.12, but subtracting two
    hours manuall still only gives 1518.12, which is still
    TEN seconds shy of filename time stamp of 1508.22.

    File Name: 20130630_151842_fire_behavior_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 17:16:50
    Duration: 0:01:49
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520
    NOTE: 17:16:50 plus 1:49 equals 1718.39, but
    subtracting two hours manually still only gives 1518.39,
    which is still THREE seconds shy of filename time
    stamp of 1518.42.

    File Name: 20130630_152406_SEAT_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 17:21:07
    Duration: 0:02:56
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520
    GPS Time Stamp: 22:21:01.4 UTC ( AZ 15:21:01.4 PM )
    GPS Date Stamp: 2013:06:30
    GPS Position: 34 deg 16′ 20.18″, 112 deg 43′ 51.71″

    File Name: 20130630_153014_SEAT_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 17:29:02
    Duration: 0:01:10
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520
    GPS Time Stamp: 22:28:57.45 UTC ( AZ 15:28:57.45 PM )
    GPS Date Stamp: 2013:06:30
    GPS Position: 34 deg 16′ 20.14″, 112 deg 43′ 51.73″

    File Name: 20130630_153414_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 17:34:01
    Duration: 12.38 s
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520
    GPS Time Stamp: 22:33:56.38 UTC ( AZ 15:33:56.38 PM )
    GPS Date Stamp: 2013:06:30
    GPS Position: 34 deg 16′ 19.98″, 112 deg 43′ 51.79″

    File Name: 20130630_153510_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 17:34:42
    Duration: 23.62 s
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520
    GPS Time Stamp: 22:34:37.65 UTC ( AZ 15:34:37.65 PM )
    GPS Date Stamp: 2013:06:30
    GPS Position: 34 deg 16′ 19.96″, 112 deg 43′ 51.79″

    File Name: 20130630_153532_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 17:35:13
    Duration: 1.17 s
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520
    GPS Time Stamp: 22:35:07.87 UTC ( AZ 15:35:07.87 PM )
    GPS Date Stamp: 2013:06:30
    GPS Position: 34 deg 16′ 19.95″, 112 deg 43′ 51.80″

    File Name: 20130630_153622_5KA_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 17:35:38
    Duration: 0:00:43
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520
    GPS Time Stamp: 22:35:33.09 UTC ( AZ 15:35:33.09 PM )
    GPS Date Stamp: 2013:06:30
    GPS Position: 34 deg 16′ 19.94″, 112 deg 43′ 51.80″

    File Name: 20130630_154138_fire_behavior_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 17:41:06
    Duration: 0:00:31
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520
    GPS Time Stamp: 22:41:01.07 UTC ( AZ 15:41:01.07 PM )
    GPS Date Stamp: 2013:06:30
    GPS Position: 34 deg 16′ 19.84″, 112 deg 43′ 51.83″

    File Name: 20130630_154940_SEAT_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 17:48:21
    Duration: 0:01:18
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520
    GPS Time Stamp: 22:48:15.97 UTC ( AZ 15:48:15.97 PM )
    GPS Date Stamp: 2013:06:30
    GPS Position: 34 deg 16′ 19.76″, 112 deg 43′ 51.84″

    File Name: 20130630_161620_VLAT_split_1_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 18:12:48
    Duration: 0:03:31
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520
    GPS Time Stamp: 23:12:43.83 UTC ( AZ 16:12:43.83 PM )
    GPS Date Stamp: 2013:06:30
    GPS Position: 34 deg 16′ 19.92″, 112 deg 43′ 50.16″

    File Name: 20130630_161658_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 18:16:41
    Duration: 15.75 s
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520
    GPS Time Stamp: 23:16:36.24 UTC ( AZ 16:16:36.24 PM )
    GPS Date Stamp: 2013:06:30
    GPS Position: 34 deg 16′ 19.90″, 112 deg 43′ 50.35″

    File Name: 20130630_161858_VLAT_split_2_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 18:17:07
    Duration: 0:01:49
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520
    GPS Time Stamp: 23:17:02.62 UTC ( AZ 16:17:02.62 PM )
    GPS Date Stamp: 2013:06:30
    GPS Position: 34 deg 16′ 19.88″, 112 deg 43′ 50.40″

    File Name: 20130630_162300_SEAT_drop_EP.MOV
    Make: Canon EOS REBEL T3i
    Lens Type: Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 16:23:34
    Internal Serial Number: ZA2261150
    Serial Number: 152066061038
    Lens Info: 15-85mm f/?
    Lens Serial Number: 000013b95c
    ** WHY IS THIS TIME DIFFERENT FROM 16:23:34?
    Create Date: 2013:06:30 16:23:01
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 16:23:01
    Duration: 11.78 s
    Create Date: 2013:06:30 16:23:34.00
    Date/Time Original: 2013:06:30 16:23:34.00
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 16:23:34.00

    File Name: 20130630_162508_2SEATS_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 18:23:17
    Duration: 0:01:50
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520
    GPS Time Stamp: 23:23:11.9 UTC ( AZ 16:23:11.9 PM )
    GPS Date Stamp: 2013:06:30
    GPS Position: 34 deg 16′ 19.82″, 112 deg 43′ 50.86″

    File Name: 20130630_163338_fire_behavior_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 18:31:26
    Duration: 0:02:09
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520

    File Name: 20130630_163700_fire_behavior_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 18:36:17
    Duration: 0:00:39
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520

    File Name: 20130630_164544_fire_behavior_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 18:43:43
    Duration: 0:01:59
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520
    GPS Time Stamp: 23:43:38.25 UTC ( AZ 16:43:38.25 PM )
    GPS Date Stamp: 2013:06:30
    GPS Position: 34 deg 16′ 19.64″, 112 deg 43′ 51.87″

    File Name: 20130630_170634_VLAT_EP.MOV
    Creation Date: 2013:06:30 19:05:42
    Duration: 0:00:49
    Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520
    GPS Time Stamp: 00:05:37.3 UTC ( AZ 17:05:37.3 PM )
    GPS Date Stamp: 2013:07:01
    GPS Position: 34 deg 16′ 19.63″, 112 deg 43′ 51.90″

    END OF LISTING

    • Marti Reed says

      Wait, what?? I’m not sure you explained that right.

      Panebaker’s Nikon and Canon t3i are one hour ahead of Arizona time, because Arizona time is not Mountain Daylight Savings Time, the time Panebaker set his cameras to.

      If anybody working on these files, unless they were in a serious hurry, or didn’t care whether it made sense dealing with an Arizona fire, should have known how to do this. Somebody apparently didn’t.

      So first you have to set the camera’s timestamp back one hour, in order to sync to other Arizona-set cameras (like the one used on the Air2Air videos, and just about every other camera used on that fire).

      Then you have to translate that to the military time — (the 24 hour clock) format they’re using on these filenames.

      It seems crazy complicated, for people who don’t understand it. But it’s not really.

      So, for example, a photo or video, taken by Panebaker, who lives in Montana and had set his two cameras to Mountain Daylight Savings Time, should have been re-timestamped, by whoever was preparing these files for this, back one hour. Say from 4:16:24 PM to 3:16:24 PM. Then, in order to accurately translate that into the “military 24-hour” format they chose to use to name these files for this kind of important publication, they would then “add” 12 hours to it (to count from midnight of the beginning of that day), to get to 151624. That’s how you do this. That’s what everybody does when they do this, That’s what I’ve been doing all along. For people hired/payed to do it, I would think it would been a “no-brainer.”

      They could have absolutely cleanly and quickly and accurately renamed these files without confusion. I have no clue why they didn’t.

      But thank you for doing it!

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Marti… yes… this confused me as well when I finally
        did an EXIF dump on ALL of Panebaker Apple Quicktime
        movies and then looked at the dates coming OUT of
        the movie files themselves. ( EXIF metadata ).

        You ALREADY said the Nikon Coolpix P250 was set
        ONE hour ahead of time… but the ‘Creation Date’ being
        stamped into the movies themselves says that it was
        TWO hours behind the ‘real Arizona time’ that day.

        Let me take just ONE of the EXIF metadata dumps
        from above and see if I can show you what I mean…

        Let’s take just THIS one ( since it also has GPS data )…
        _______________________________________________
        File Name: 20130630_144226_VLAT_EP.MOV
        Creation Date: 2013:06:30 16:40:52
        Duration: 0:01:32
        Make: NIKON COOLPIX P520
        GPS Time Stamp: 21:40:46.57 UTC ( AZ 14:40:46.57 PM )
        GPS Date Stamp: 2013:06:30
        GPS Position: 34 deg 16′ 19.85″, 112 deg 43′ 51.89″
        NOTE: GPS time stamp of 14:40:46 AZ time plus 1:32
        equals 1442.18, but that is still 8 seconds shy of 1442.26.
        16:40:52 plus 1:32 equals 1642.24, but subtracting two
        hours manually still only gives 1442.24, which is still
        two seconds shy of filename time stamp 1442.26.
        _______________________________________________

        Here’s what I am seeing above…

        >> File Name: 20130630_144226_VLAT_EP.MOV
        >> Creation Date: 2013:06:30 16:40:52

        The FILENAME ended up in the ‘1400’ timerange… but
        the ‘Creation Date’ ( according to the Nikon ) was TWO
        HOURS ahead of that… in the ‘1600’ hour.

        Now there is this…

        GPS Time Stamp: 21:40:46.57 UTC ( AZ 14:40:46.57 PM )

        That is actually CORRECT.

        Timestamp that went into the movie itself was in the
        ‘1400’ hour ALREADY… and not TWO HOURS ahead
        in the ‘1600’ hour as the Nikon’s own timeclock thought.

        Well… when I say CORRECT… I mean the HOUR was
        correct according to UTC time. ( 1400 hour ).

        As explained above, however… I don’t think this is simply
        a case where they ended up just taking the GPS time
        and using that for the FILENAME itself.

        The GPS time stamp of 14:40:46 AZ time plus the
        1:32 media duration time embedded in the movie
        itself equals 1442.18, but that is still 8 seconds shy of 1442.26 ( which is what they actually NAMED it ).

        So ‘eight seconds’ are ‘missing’, even if they were
        just referring to the embedded GPS time for filenames…

        …but my point is that the HOUR is CORRECT ( according
        to the GPS stamp )… and it is TWO hours ahead of the
        ‘Creation date’ stamped by the Nikon’s own clock setting.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      UPDATE: The ‘EXIF metadata’ dump for the Panebaker videos
      posted above in this Chapter 6 has been updated and
      re-posted at the bottom ( the START ) of the new Chapter 7.

      The list above actually has a couple of Panebaker videos
      missing. The new list over in Chapter 7 is complete and
      has all 31 Panebaker videos listed.

      Here is a direct link to the *new* Chapter VII ( SEVEN ) of this ongoing discussion where the *new* EXIF report is posted…

      http://www.investigativemedia.com/yarnell-hill-fire-chapter-vii/

  4. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** USING AN ONLINE EXIF METADATA EXTRACTOR WITH AIR STUDY
    ** VIDEOS WITHOUT HAVING TO DOWNLOAD THE VIDEOS

    The same ‘online’ tool that can be used to easily extract EXIF metatdata from
    any photograph can ALSO be used to pull a ton of metadata out of Apple
    Quicktime movie format ( MOV ) files… ( like the Panebaker Air Study videos
    in the online DropBox )… but it’s a little trickier to do than just analyzing
    a ‘photograph’ in Mr. Dougherty’s online Drobox.

    That online tool is here…

    http://regex.info/exif.cgi

    To analyze any PHOTOGRAPH in the online Dropbox… all you have to do
    is select the photo… let it appear… then use the ‘View Original’ option by
    either right-clicking the image or from the little ‘three dot’ menu option that
    is always in the lower right corner when a photo is being displayed.

    When the original photo appears… you just ‘cut and paste’ the URL that is now
    showing in your browser’s address bar into the ‘View Image at URL’ input
    box over in the EXIF online tool page.

    You have to do this ‘View Original’ thing because the online Dropbox page
    that normally (first) shows a photo to you is just an HTML ‘container’ and
    that URL is NOT a ‘direct link’ to the photo itself.

    In order for the online EXIF extractor to work… it simply needs a URL that
    represents the location of the ACTUAL image ( and not a web page URL ).

    Okay… all well and good… but here come the problem with trying to do the
    same thing with the online Apple Quicktime movies ( like the Panebaker Air
    Study videos ) that are also sitting in the online Dropbox.

    When you choose to ‘play a movie’ up there in the Dropbox… right-clicking
    the movie player when it appears does NOT give you the same ‘View original’
    option as when viewing a still photo. Likewise… when it’s a movie being shown
    in the online Dropbox… there is no ‘View original’ menu option if you click the
    little ‘three dot’ menu in the lower right corner.

    So if you just ‘cut and paste’ the URL of the Dropbox movie player into the
    online EXIF extractor tool… it simply comes back and says “Invalid URL. This
    is a web page and not a direct link to the item.”

    Not to worry. Here is how to essentially do the same ‘View original’ option
    for MOVIES up at that Dropbox… even though there is no such menu option.

    You have to PRETEND as if you want to DOWNLOAD the movie… but
    you still don’t have to actually download it.

    When the movie you want to pull the EXIF data from is showing on the screen
    with the big RIGHT-ARROW ‘Play’ button already showing… just mouse down
    to the bottom right of the panel and LEFT-CLICK that little ‘three dot’ menu icon.

    Only one option will be on the popup menu… and it says ‘Download’.

    Do NOT LEFT-CLICK that option ( that will start the download ).
    Do a RIGHT-CLICK instead.

    A RIGHT-CLICK will bring up a ‘System menu’ that should have the
    following option on it ( among others )…

    “Copy Link Location”

    Left-click click that option on this second popup menu.
    This will copy the ACTUAL URL of where that original movie
    file is really located up there at the Dropbox into your clipboard.

    Once you have done the “Copy Link Location” operation… just switch right
    over to the online EXIF extractor page and then do a ‘paste’ of that Link
    into the ‘Image URL’ input box at the top of the page… then just RIGHT-CLICK
    the ‘View Image at URL’ option.

    That’s all there is to it.

    The online tool now knows exactly where to get its OWN copy of the movie from
    the Drobox… and will do so ‘in the background’ at backbone speed… and will then
    show you the extracted EXIF data for that MOVIE. If it’s one of the larger movie
    files you WILL have to ‘wait’ just a bit while the online server obtains its own
    copy of the movie to analyze… but it won’t take long.

    NOTE: You may see the online EXIF tool ‘loading’ icon just keep ‘spinning’
    even after the EXIF data appears because it is still trying to display frames
    from the movie on the same page. Once you are done cutting/pasting the
    EXIF data into some other place of your own it’s probably best to CLOSE
    that copy of the EXIF tool window so your CPU doesn’t keep spinning.

    ** GPS TIME STAMPS IN THE PANEBAKER VIDEOS

    The Nikon Coolpix P520 camera being used for most of the Panebaker
    videos was, in fact, using GPS and MOST of the videos taken with that
    camera also have a ‘real time’ GPS time/date stamp. SOME of the same
    videos from the same camera do NOT ( almost as if GPS was being
    turned OFF at various time ).

    If there IS any GPS data in a movie… it WILL be displayed by the online tool
    and it will look like this…

    Target image: /Panebaker/Video/Video/20130630_161658_EP
    Date/Time Original 2013:06:30 18:16:41
    GPS Time Stamp: 23:16:36.24 UTC
    GPS Date Stamp: 2013:06:30
    GPS Version ID: 2.3.0.0
    GPS Latitude Ref: North
    GPS Latitude: 34.272193 degrees
    GPS Longitude Ref: West
    GPS Longitude: 112.730652 degrees
    GPS Altitude Ref: Above Sea Level
    GPS Altitude: 1292.1 m
    GPS Img Direction Ref: Unknown ()
    GPS Img Direction: undef
    GPS Map Datum: WGS84

    Arizona is -7 ( minus SEVEN ) hours in relation to GPS UTC time.

    That means…

    When UTC hour is 2100… it is 1400 ( 2:00 PM ) in Arizona
    When UTC hour is 2200… it is 1500 ( 3:00 PM ) in Arizona
    When UTC hour is 2300… it is 1600 ( 4:00 PM ) in Arizona.
    When UTC hour is 0000… it is 1700 ( 5:00 PM ) in Arizona
    etc…

  5. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** REVISITING THE 1715 PANEBAKER STILL PHOTOS

    >> On May 18, 2014 at 4:48 am, calvin said:
    >> The Panebaker VLAT pictures labeled 1715′ish are incorrect. These pictures
    >> are actually the split drop from the VLAT from 1617. I am not sure if this is
    >> relevant, or if it has already been identified.

    It’s VERY relevant.

    One of those 1715’ish Panebaker still photos ( the one named 20130630_171528-1_EP ) is the one that is a PERFECT match for the Tom
    Story photo that was (supposedly) shot at 1639 ( according to the timestamp
    on Story’s Canon 1D with the 300mm zoom lens attached ).

    So however *wrong* the Panebaker still photos are ( being shot with his
    own Canon EOS REBEL T3i camera )… that is ALSO how ‘wrong’ the
    Tom Story Canon EOS 1D photo timestamps are.

    So there appear to be TWO ‘wrong offsets’ involved here now…

    1) How *wrong* was Panebaker’s Canon EOS REBEL T3i that day?
    2) Answer to (1) determines how *wrong* Tom Story’s Canon EOS 1D really was.

    As much as there is no evidence that there was a VLAT drop at 1639 that
    day ( the moment of Steed’s first MAYDAY ) as suggested by Tom Story’s
    photos… there is also now actually no real evidence there was a VLAT drop at
    exactly 1715, either ( as indicated by Panebaker’s still photos ).

    There is no doubt they were BOTH photographing the ‘same VLAT drop’…
    but there is still plenty of doubt as to exactly WHEN that was.

    So regardless of how the ‘162300 video mystery’ pans out on the other
    thread… this thread needs to ‘revisit’ the Panebaker 1715 series and
    find out what the ‘wrong time offset’ for THAT camera really was.

    More on this later.
    Back to looking at video stillframes and comparing them to still photos.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      **
      ** PROBLEM SOLVED?
      **
      ** NEW TIME OFFSETS FOR BOTH…
      **
      ** PANEBAKER’S CANON EOS REBEL T3i
      ** TOM STORY’S CANON EOS 1D ( WITH 300mm LENS )

      As it turns out… thanks to the fact that the audio tracks of the
      Panebaker Air Study Videos were capturing ‘shutter clicks’…
      this wasn’t all that hard to figure out.

      As calvin pointed out… the Panebaker 1715’ish photo series
      ( regardless of timestamp ) are ACTUALLY photos of the FIRST
      VLAT PASS that was part of that ‘VLAT split’ sequence taken
      almost an HOUR earlier than 1715.

      The Panebaker Air Study video that captures the ACTUAL (correct)
      VLAT drop which corresponds to BOTH the Tom Story 7093 photo
      ( with an incorrect timestamp of 1639.21 ) AND the Panebaker
      20130630_171528-1_EP photo ( with an incorrect timestamp of
      1715.28 ) is this one…

      20130630_161620_VLAT_split_1_EP
      This video is 3 minutes and 30 seconds long.

      VIDEO 161620 STARTS AT 1612.50 ( 4:12.50 PM )

      +2:27 ( 16:15.17 / 4:15.17 PM )
      Shutter click that matches Panebaker still photo 20130630_171528-1_EP *and* Tom Story’s 7093 still photo.

      VIDEO 161620 ENDS AT 1616.20 ( 4:16.20 PM )

      So that means the TIME setting on Panebaker’s Canon EOS
      REBEL T3i was actually 1 hour and 11 seconds AHEAD of the
      time of the video camera that was recording the 161620 video
      that day.

      ( 1715.28 minus 1615.17 equals 1 hour and 11 seconds ).

      So… how does that now affect the ‘time offset’ for Story’s
      Canon EOS 1D?

      Well… since we NOW know that the actual EVENT being
      photographed by Tom Story’s 7093 photo with his Canon
      EOS 1D took place at exactly 1615.17 that day… and Story’s
      Canon EOS 1D put a *wrong* timestamp of 1639.21 on that
      photo… the ‘difference’ between those times would be…

      24 minutes and 4 seconds.

      ( 1639.21 minus 1615.17 equals 24 minutes and 4 seconds ).

      So Tom Story’s Canon EOS 1D appears to have been set
      24 minutes and 4 seconds AHEAD of the ‘real’ time that day
      ( if we accept that the video camera on the tripod shooting Air
      Study videos was, itself, set close to the ACTUAL time that day ).

      SUMMARY…

      ** Panebaker’s Canon EOS REBEL T3i camera was timestamping
      photos 1 hour and 11 second AHEAD of ‘real time’ that day.

      ** Tom Story’s Canon EOS 1D camera was timestamping
      photos 24 minutes and 4 seconds AHEAD of ‘real time’ that day.

      • Marti Reed says

        See what I wrote below about syncing 152406_SEAT with the 1544 Air2Air video.

        Now thinking about that 162300_SEAT_drop video. I couldn’t figure out where it came from. It’s not from any of the cameras we’re seeing most of the video from. It’s totally different. I had been wondering “Where did Panebeker get that video from??”

        Now that all makes sense. He was shooting stills with the t3i, with a, as you have found, camera set ahead one hour (which actually would be correct in any Mountain Time place other than Arizona — which doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time), and he decided to shoot that drop as a video.

        So whoever was file-naming Panebeker’s t3i’s photos/video didn’t know that and thus incorrectly named the files.

        It really makes me wonder who was naming these files. They made so many mistakes it makes it hard to believe it was someone on “their team.” I think if it was somebody on “their team” they would have been going more for syncing accuracy and would have been more clued in.

        Just my somewhat brain dead at this pont opinion.

        I think here’s still a lot of timestamp wonkiness on the Nikon videos. Bit I have somewhat of a killer day in front of me, so I don’t know when I’ll be able to get back to it.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          We are still putting a lot of ‘trust’ into the existing
          filename time/date stamps of the Panebaker
          Air Study videos… but I still think it’s OK to do
          that ( given exceptions like the 162300 video ).

          Example… even for the NEW ‘time offsets’ for
          Panebaker’s Canon REBEL and Story’s EOS 1D,
          I am obviously ‘trusting’ the fact that the following
          Panebaker video is ( at least ) CLOSE to the
          REAL time that day…

          20130630_161620_VLAT_split_1_EP

          As you just pointed out… events in these Panebaker
          videos *ARE* ‘traceable’ back into the long-running
          Air-To-Air channel videos… and usually ( at least )
          these TWO video cameras match up pretty
          well, time wise.

          So what are the odds that BOTH the camera on
          the tripod recording the Panebaker videos *AND*
          the camera on the tripod that was recording the
          long-running Air-To-Air channel traffic are *BOTH*
          set incorrectly… but still within a few seconds
          of each other?

          I don’t know… but I would say ‘slim to none’.

          The fact that the Air-To-Air traffic captures
          eventually ‘line up’ ( timewise ) with the actual
          MAYDAY calls and the deployment events seems
          to indicate that the camera doing the Air-To-Air
          channel captures that day was pretty much set to
          the ‘right time’ that day… so anything from
          Panebaker that ‘matches’ up with dialogue in an
          Air-To-Air capture can/should also be considered
          ‘the right time’ that day.

          At one point… I tried to match up an event in either
          a Panebaker video OR the Air-To-Air videos with
          something from the Blue Ridge GPS unit ( which
          was using satellite real-time that day )…

          …but that turned out to be pretty much like putting
          a square peg into a round hole. I can’t find any
          DIRECT correlation between a GPS stamped
          event in the Blue Ridge data with an Air-To-Air
          channel transmission and/or a Panebaker video
          radio capture. Close… but still guesswork.

          When I set out on THAT quest… I was hoping to
          actually find a TAC channel capture in an Air
          Study video that matched the moment when
          Frisby told Brown to ‘get some drivers to move
          vehicles’. That is still, of course, the EXACT
          moment when Brown did his ‘about face’ on
          his hike on the Cutover Trail… which was
          captured by his GPS unit.

          No such luck. None of that ‘rescuing Brendan’ and
          the immediate ‘moving vehicles’ radio traffic seems
          to have been captured in any Air Study video.

          The only line we NOW have to the Blue Ridge GPS
          unit and the Panebaker videos is this ‘indirect’ line…

          1) Blue Ridge GPS event ( ATV leaving parking lot )
          was used to verify that Story’s Canon 3D was
          ‘accurate’ that day ( within 45 to 50 seconds of
          real time ).

          2) Story’s photos can be used to ‘match’ events
          in Panebaker videos to determine ‘accuracy’
          as related to Blue Ridge GPS unit.

          So any Tom Story Canon 3D photo that matches
          a moment in a Panebaker video almost exactly
          is a good ‘indirect’ line of proof back to the
          GPS based satellite time that day.

          But as we have already discovered… ANYTHING
          within 60 seconds or so is going to have to be
          considered ‘accurate’ for this day in Yarnell.

          Even the GPS unit was only ‘updating’ every
          60 seconds that day.

          • Marti Reed says

            Interestingly, tho, the camera timestamp on the first of those three videos says 6:12:48 PM.

            So now I’m thinking the the Panebaker Nikon (source of these videos) is also one hour ahead, just like the Panebaker t3i. And that would make perfect sense, all things considered. The must both be Panebaker’s cameras, and he must live outside of Arizona,with his cameras synced to Mountain Daylight Savings time.

            Still, however, I’m seeing quite a few of my representative samples of this videos, in which the File Namer, both not realizing those two cameras were “off” by an hour and getting confused as to how to translate the stamps from “4:30 PM” to “1630” goes back and forth between translating them correctly and translating them incorrectly.

          • Marti Reed says

            I think the “Air2Air” Contour +2 videocam is accurate, both in names and timestamps, essentially.

            I’m looking at 20130630_1628_EP.MOV. The timestamp says 3:47:58 PM. Which would relatively accurately indicate the video was started at 3:47 PM (1547) and end at 4:28 PM (1628), and it’s a 40-minute video. So that works.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Reply to Marti Reed post on
              May 19, 2014 at 12:06 pm

              >> Marti said…
              >> I think the “Air2Air” Contour +2
              >> videocam is accurate, both in
              >> names and timestamps,
              >> essentially.

              Totally agree… it is ‘consistent’ with
              its own timestamps and filenames
              *AND* it *ALSO* seems to have
              been set pretty close to the ‘real
              time’ ( well, as close as anything
              was that day, anyway ).

              That video is actually 40 minutes and 14 seconds long… but that didn’t
              throw anything off as far as the file
              naming went.

              1547.58 plus 40 minutes and 14
              seconds is 1628.12.

              Still ‘right on the money’ and still means the ‘1628’ in the filename is
              CORRECT.

              I think *all* of the Air-To-Air channel
              videos are just as ‘tickety-boo’ with
              regards to start times, durations, end
              times ( and resulting filename stamp ).

              The Panebaker videos… well… ( as
              you pointed out already )… that’s
              a whole ‘nother story.

              It’s like ‘follow the bouncing timestamps’ for those puppies.

              More later.

              PS: A number of the Nikon Panebaker videos DO, in fact, have UTC GPS time and date stamps embedded in them… and I’m currently trying to see how that factors into things here.

              Something is ‘strange’ about even these UTC GPS timestamps, however, and there seems to be a ‘pattern’ there but can’t quite explain it yet. They are always about 8 to 10 seconds BEHIND the other timestamps but its not totally consistent from video to video.

          • Marti Reed says

            OK I’m back from driving, with a swollen sprained foot, clear across town and back in heavy traffic. I had some time to think.

            I DON’T think it’s OK to be “putting a lot of ‘trust’ into the filename time/date stamps” on those videos.

            I didn’t have time nor drive space to download all those videos, but of the eight I did, they were ALL incorrectly labeled. The five that are kinda sorta right, like 152406 and 150530 is only right because the renamer just read 5:21:07 PM and just stuck a 1 in front of that, not knowing the camera stamp was an hour ahead. So, purely by mistake those ended up with the “right” filenames.

            The other three of those eight, are misnamed, because the renamer, while getting the translation right, didn’t now the camera stamp was off by an hour. So anybody that doesn’t know that camera is off by an hour, is gonna either misinterpret or misunderstand what they’re looking at.

            If I could download all those files, which I can’t, I could easily and quickly make a list of those videos with correct filenames. I think it would be well worth doing, now that we know what the problem is.

            And I think they should be corrected for Arizona time, which Panebeker didn’t, so they can be synced more “trustworthily” with all the other stuff people are comparing them to.

            Can you do that with your online file metadata reader?

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              The (free) online tool won’t pull any
              metadata from Apple Quicktime
              format MOV files.

              Need something like exiftool v.9.61
              for that.

              …but I hear ya on the filenames.
              At some point… they SHOULD all
              be ‘correct’ and ‘reflect reality’.

              Working on that here as well.
              More later.

                • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                  That’s the same ‘online’ tool I’ve been recommending and that I was commenting about above… but this is the URL I’ve been using…

                  http://regex.info/exif.cgi

                  It actually SAYS it supports MOV Quicktime… but I haven’t been able to get it to successfully analyze any of the Panebaker videos.

                  Problem with the online tool and using it with the YFH Dropbox is that you have to do ‘View Original’ on any photo and use THAT URL for the EXIF viewer.

                  If you just call up an Apple Quicktime movie via the dropbox and try to use that URL… it just says “Invalid URL… this is just a web page”.

                  There is no ‘View original’ option for the movies in the online Drobox, as there is with photos.

                  You can also try to analyze any ‘downloaded’ videos… but problem there is that the online tool then has to UPLOAD the entire frickin’ thing before it can ‘analyze’ it. Not workable with some of these Air Study videos.

                  So a desktop tool like exiftool v9.6 is what I’ve been using to analyze the Apple Quicktime movies.

                • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                  Marti… hold the phone…

                  Scratch my comment
                  above. I just figured out HOW to use that ‘online tool’ to analyze the Apple Quicktime MOV files that are actually sitting in the online YHF Dropbox.

                  You have to sort of ‘fool’ it and pretend to ‘download’ the video… without actually downloading it.

                  See a new parent comment up above about how to actually do this.

      • Marti Reed says

        Ha Ha remember when we spent several days syncing Tom’s D1????

        I said I thought it was 22 minutes ahead and you estimated somewhere around 30 minutes ahead?

        I had reasons to not want you to be right because of how that would skew my syncing of Tom’s photo of the VLAT after Blue Ridge McCord’s “almost fiasco with the helicopter” video!!

    • Marti Reed says

      WTKTT: I hate to ask too much of you, and I know we’re all breathlessly waiting/hoping/praying for a Chapter VII, but…

      I think it would be enormously useful if you could write up a summary of this whole Panebaker exploration. I can’t do it because I don’t know what all is in your head. I’ve pretty much written/thunk out loud what’s been in mine.

      I think it’s really important for folks coming here to understand this, and I don’t think they will by trying to read/comprehend these four days of complicated/convoluted threads.

      Thanks!!

      • mike says

        John has started a Chapter 7. Put the summary in there. Loading this comment thread is a challenge for some computers.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Marti… I did a ‘dump’ up above of the EXIF data ( including
        GPS time stamps ) from the Panebaker videos… but that
        was before I read your comment above.

        That ‘dump’ is NOT my idea of a ‘summary’ as to where
        we reallly stand with these Panebaker videos.

        I will do that additional ‘summary’ and post it as well.

        It’s actually looking pretty clear.
        I no longer think ( at the moment ) that 162300 video
        was ‘replacing’ anything at all. It was just a ‘screw up’.

        What amazes me is that these guys were getting PAID
        to do this ‘Aerial Firefighting Study’ ( With taxpayer dollars
        from USDA? )… but they didn’t even bother to make sure
        their equipment was all ‘good to go’ with correct timestamps
        and whatnot that day.

  6. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** UPDATE: MORE ABOUT THE 162300 AIR STUDY VIDEO
    **
    ** MYSTERY SOLVED?

    >> Marti wrote…
    >> Was the Nikon’s timestamper generally off? I don’t know.
    >> Periodically, a photo was taken on that camera. The photos
    >> are in the Schultz folder.
    >> 20130630_1616_AZ-A1S-000688_T911___7_G_RS.JPG
    >> (Please dear Universe, don’t ever compel me to type that out
    >> on my iPad ever again…) is of the T11 coming out of one of the
    >> split drops and has a time stamp of 4:16:36 PM. Boom!
    >> As in that’s pretty accurate, relatively speaking, given that we
    >> don’t have any absolute time stamps on any of these files, because
    >> it just doesn’t work that way in the real world, unless somebody
    >> decides to make it do that.

    Marti…

    Couple of things.

    You are right. There is no doubt that even though they DO capture the same
    SINGLE SEAT drop… the 152406 video and the 162300 video were shot with
    TWO different video cameras.

    The 152406 video was shot with a video camera on a TRIPOD… while the
    162300 video was shot with a ‘handheld’ video camera.

    So which one has the *REAL* timestamp?

    I believe it’s the 152406 video.

    The following photo in the Swartz folder DOES, in fact, appear to be a still photo
    of the EXACT SAME DROP that we see happening in BOTH the 152406 video
    *and* the 162300 video.

    /AerialFirefightingstudy/Swartz/Pictures/Nikon/North of Fire/Seat Drop 3/
    20130630_1524_AZ-A1S-000688_T874___1_G_RS.JPG

    Camera: Nikon COOLPIX P520
    Lens: 107 mm (Max aperture f/3)
    Exposure: Auto exposure, Program AE, 1/250 sec, f/4.9, ISO 160
    Flash: Off, Did not fire
    Focus: AF-S, Mid-left
    Focus 2: AF Area Mode: Dynamic Area
    Date: June 30, 2013 – 3:24:31 PM
    Location: Latitude/longitude: 34° 16′ 19.7″ North, 112° 43′ 51.9″ West
    Location decimal: ( 34.272152, -112.731085 )
    Altitude: 1,375.3 m
    File: 3,672 × 4,896 JPEG (18.0 megapixels)

    If we are going to trust the timestamps on the Swartz photos… then this simply
    CONFIRMS that the drop actually did take place in the 1524 timeframe… and
    *NOT*( in the 1623 timeframe as the 162300 video seems to suggest.

    Things are *still* just a ‘little wonky’ timewise, however, but ( I believe ) fully
    explainable now.

    The timestamp on Swartz’s photo showing the actual moment of ‘retardant
    dropping’ from this single SEAT is 1524.31.

    That does NOT match the actual ‘drop time’ for this single SEAT drop as
    shown in the 152406 video… but it may be ‘close enough’.

    Here is the actual ‘moment of the drop’ as recorded starting at the +2:05
    second mark in the 152406 video…
    __________________________________________________________________
    +2:05 ( 1523.15 / 3:23.15 PM )
    (Foreground person 1 – Panebaker?): Here he comes.

    +2:13 ( 1523.23 / 3:23.23 PM )
    (AA – Rory Collins): Operations, Air Attack, Air-To-Ground

    +2:18 ( 1523.28 / 3:23.28 PM )
    (OPS1 Todd Abel): Go ahead.

    +2:19 ( 1523.29 / 3:23.29 PM )
    ( RETARDANT DROP STARTS FROM THE SINGLE SEAT )

    +2:19 ( 1523.29 / 3:23.29 PM )
    (AA – Rory Collins): Okay… Ahhhh… we’ll probly be around there
    in about five. Umm… What’s your plan on the ground?

    +2:20 ( 1523.30 / 3:23.30 PM )
    ( RETARDANT IS NOW FULLY DROPPING FROM THE SINGLE SEAT )

    +2:27 ( 1523.37 / 3:23.37 PM )
    (OPS1 Todd Abel): What I’d like to do… ah… is… ah… tie into ( that court here? ) where ya
    see the whole ??. If we can tag onto the road up here and then just run it… ah… you know…
    ( transmission breaks up and cuts off ).

    FOREGROUND OVERLAP…

    +2:27 ( 1523.37 / 3:23.37 PM )
    (Tanker 810): Eight one zero OFF… hard right.
    (B33 – French): Lookin’ like you already got me in sight…
    looks like your drop went in there good. Thank you.
    (Tanker 810): ( Back to ?? )
    __________________________________________________________________

    So… according to the 152406 video… the ‘moment of the drop’ appears to have
    been from a START time of +2:19 ( 1523.29 / 3:23.29 PM ) to ‘fully dropping
    retardant’ ( as seen in the Swartz photo ) at +2:20 ( 1523.30 / 3:23.30 PM ).

    However… the timestamp on Swartz’s photo for that same ‘fully dropping
    retardant’ moment is 1524.31 ( 3:24.31 PM ).

    That’s pretty much a full 61 seconds different ( ahead of the video )… but it IS
    definitely *within* 61 seconds… which we might have to simply accept as
    ‘accurate enough to be the same moment’.

    I believe this Swartz photo IS of the same exact ‘single SEAT drop’ moment
    as seen in the 152406 video… but Swartz’s camera was simply *about* 61
    seconds AHEAD of that camera on the tripod that day.

    The other reason I believe that Swartz’s photo MUST be of the same drop being
    shown in the 152406 video is that even if that SEAT was making MULTIPLE drops
    at that location… the simple 61 second time difference is NOT enough time for
    his photo to have been of a full ‘go around’ and/or ANOTHER drop by the same
    SEAT at the same location.

    Not only is there no indication of that happening in the audio or the Air-To-Air
    channel traffic… 61 seconds is NOT enough time for them to have made a
    complete ‘circle around’ for another pass… either BEFORE or AFTER this
    drop captured in the 152606 video.

    Also note…

    At +2:14 in the 152406 video a white SUV passes the camera heading
    west on Hays Ranch Road. The same white SUV is also seen in the
    162300 video just a few hundred feet further west on Hays Ranch Road.
    No big additional revelation there… just more proof that the 152406 video
    and the 162300 video are ‘of the same event happening at the same time’.

    So what does all this now mean?

    I believe it means the following…

    1) There is no doubt that the Swartz photo, the +2:18 second mark in the
    152406 video, and the contents of the 162300 video are all THE SAME
    SINGLE SEAT DROP being photographed/videoed with 1 digital camera
    ( Swartz’s ) and TWO different video cameras ( one on tripod, one handheld ).

    2) The Swartz photo verifies that the drop really did take place right around
    1523.30 that day… and NOT in the 1623 timeframe as the mysterious 162300
    video seems to suggest. Swartz’s digitial camera was simply +61 seconds
    ahead of the time set on the video camera that was on the tripod that day.

    3) The 162300 video *could* just simply be a ‘renaming error’ on Panebaker’s
    ( or someone else’s? ) part and he really did just mean it to have a filename
    of 152300 instead ( even though even that timestamp would not be totally
    accurate ). It was NOT an ‘extraction’ from the actual 152406 video that was
    then ‘saved to disk’ with a wrong filename… it was the 11.7 seconds from the
    OTHER handheld video camera that was (somehow) saved/named with
    *WRONG* timestamp about 1 hour into the future.

    So… mystery solved?

    There WAS no *original* 162300 video at all? ( or at least not one that got
    ‘replaced’ with 11.7 seconds from another video? ).

    This was just some kind of RENAMING error on TWO (different) videos from
    TWO different cameras that DO show the same SEAT drop event happening
    circa 1523.30 that day?

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Followup…

      In a previous post ( down below ) I wrote…

      >> Marti…
      >> At exactly +4 seconds in the 11.7 second 162300 video… a
      >> shutter click is heard. It comes right after OPS1 Todd Abel
      >> says “Go ahead” and then Air Attack Rory Collins starts his
      >> “Okay… uh… we’ll probly be around there in about five”
      >> response.
      >>
      >> The ‘shutter click’ also comes at the exact moment that the
      >> retardant flow was turned on during this SEAT drop captured
      >> in the 162300 video.
      >>
      >> The SAME EXACT ‘shutter click’ is also heard at the SAME
      >> EXACT moment at the +2:20 mark in the 152406 video ( an
      >> hour earlier? ) and is part of the same 11 seconds from
      >> 152406 ‘duplicated’ as the content of 162300.
      >>
      >> I can’t seem to find a match for this still photo in ANY of the
      >> folders up in the ‘Aerial Firefighting Study’ folder.
      >> Not even in Panebaker’s specific ‘SEAT drops’ folder. ( Which
      >> is what the 162300 video is showing… a SEAT drop ). Pity.
      >> Maybe THAT still camera would have had a correct setting in
      >> order to verify 162300 itself.

      There DOES appear to be such a ‘photo’ in the folder(s).

      Apparently I just ‘missed it’ on a first pass.

      I believe the Swartz photo being referenced above IS the one
      that corresponds to this ‘shutter click’ heard at the same
      exact moment in BOTH the 152406 and 162300 video(s),
      and it DOES help verify the TIME when this single SEAT
      drop *actually* took place.

      • Marti Reed says

        Hate to say it but.

        That photo filename (thank you swartz for doing this consistently in your photos!!) has the name of the plane in it, It’s T874. The plane being directed in the two videos by Bravo 33 is three-one-zero. You can hear that in 162406.

        • Marti Reed says

          Unfortunately Swartz doesn’t have any photos of 310 making this drop. That’s because, in my opinion, he’s NOT using a different camera, he’s using the same one and only Nikon Coolpix that they are using to shoot the videos.

        • Marti Reed says

          And I ask myself, what is the importance of this?

          It’s because people are using the Panebaker videos to establish when things are being said. IMHO, after today, I don’t believe the “times” being used in the filenames are accurate, for a variety of reasons.

          One, because I’m finding that the timestamps on these videos don’t appear accurate and two….

          Because whoever was translating them into the filenames seems to have also been confused as to how to translate them.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Reply to Marti Reed post on
            May 18, 2014 at 11:36 pm

            >> Marti said…
            >> And I ask myself, what is the importance
            >> of this?
            >> It’s because people are using the
            >> Panebaker videos to establish when
            >> things are being said.

            Yes… that’s one BIG reason… but with
            regards to this one single ‘mystery’
            of the 162300 video… it’s also all about
            just establishing if things that are now
            permanently in the public evidence record
            really ARE what they SAY they are.

            *OR*

            …whether there is any ‘evidence’ that things
            are MISSING which OUGHT to be there.

            The 162300 video ‘mystery’ really did look,
            at first, as if something that OUGHT to be
            there ( an Air Study video capturing events
            and/or radio traffic circa 1623 ) *might*
            have been ‘replaced’ with something ELSE.

            That is looking much less likely now… but
            it is still worth verifying as much as possible.

            >> Marti also said…
            >> IMHO, after today, I don’t believe the
            >> “times” being used in the filenames are
            >> accurate, for a variety of reasons.

            Your ‘points one and two’ up above are
            valid… but in *general* I still think MOST
            of the Panebaker video timestamps
            *CAN* be trusted.

            There are a LOT of ‘overlapping’ radio
            transmits between these Panebaker
            videos and the other ( long running )
            Air-To-Air channell videos that DO
            sort of prove that at least the timestamps
            between those TWO video cameras were
            perhaps only SECONDS apart…

            …but I agree there appear to be exceptions.

            SOME of the Panebaker Air Study video
            timestamps ( even other than the
            mysterious 162300 one ) appear to still
            be a little ‘wonky’.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Reply Marti Reed post on May 18, 2014 at 10:57 pm

          >> Marti said…
          >>
          >> Hate to say it but.
          >> That photo filename (thank you swartz for doing
          >> this consistently in your photos!!) has the name
          >> of the plane in it, It’s T874. The plane being
          >> directed in the two videos by Bravo 33 is three-
          >> one-zero. You can hear that in 162406.

          Actually… it is 810 ( Eight one zero ), not 310, but
          you are still RIGHT. It is Tanker 810 making the
          drop in BOTH videos and he says so himself as
          he finishes that drop and is heard ( in BOTH of
          the videos ) completing the drop by announcing…
          “Eight one zero OUT… hard RIGHT”.

          As far as whether or not the ‘title’ on that Swartz
          photo actually matches reality… it’s hard to say.

          We now have a situation where either the TIME
          on Swartz’s camera was WILDLY wrong… and
          could not possibly have been a mere 61 seconds
          off… OR… the time on Swartz’s camera really
          was ‘reasonably accurate’ ( within, say 60 seconds ),
          and he is just totally mistaken about what the
          number of the SEAT was that he was photographing
          at 1524.

          A super-enhancement of that Swartz photo SEEMS
          to indicate that the actual number on the TAIL of
          that plane making that drop is, in fact, 810.

          It’s pretty hard to make out because of the smoke
          but I would put money on 810 and not 874. The
          last digit of the 3-digit tail number seems to most
          definitely be a ZERO and not a FOUR.

          Also… even though T874 looks VERY similar to
          810 ( same type of plane )… Air Tanker 874 also
          has the word FIRE ( in big black letters ) on the tail
          under the 874 tail number… which I can almost say
          for certain is NOT present under the 3 digit tail
          number of that SEAT in Swartz’s 1524 photograph.

          Tanker 874 apparently has a registration number of
          N174ML.

          The registration number for Air Tanker 810 is
          apparently N187LA… and here is a ‘close-up’
          photo of it ( matches Swartz photo exactly )…

          http://highsierraspotters.com/forum/gallery/showimage.php?s=2421e773c8f3bbd7b5d3eeadf75181ba&i=4633&c=6

          BTW: The GPS information on that Swartz photo
          is actually accurate. That IS exactly where he
          was standing when he took this photo of that
          SEAT drop.

          More on this later.

          The KEY will be that regardless of what it says
          in Swartz’s photo title… exactly WHERE was
          T874 at exactly 1524?

          If it was off on a ‘load and return’ at that time, then
          Swartz simply was mistaken about which plane
          he was taking a picture of at 1524.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Followup…

            Here’s a link to a corresponding ‘photo’ of
            Tanker 874. Notice the word FIRE in big
            black letters on the tail under the ‘874’
            tail number.

            I can say pretty much for certain that there
            is NO such word FIRE under the tail number
            of that SEAT in the 1524 Swartz photo.
            Just the 3 digit number that DOES, in fact,
            appear to at least end with ZERO.
            Nothing else UNDER the tail number.

            Firefighting Tankers and Support Aircraft…
            Tanker 874 – Registration number N174MLK

            http://azaerophoto.com/forum/index.php?topic=234.60

    • Marti Reed says

      OK, WTKTT, I think you’re right.

      The sequence which begins with Bravo 33 saying “eight-one-zero how we lookin?” at 00:31 in 152406_SEAT is right there at 5:18 in the 1544 Air2Air video.

      Of course, we don’t know how accurate the timestamping is on the Contour +2 videocam, but I’m guessing it at least isn’t as wonky as the Nikon!

      Kudos!

    • Marti Reed says

      I think you’re right about the cameras, also, now. There’s no way that still and that video could have been shot on the same camera. They were both Nikon Coolpix P520’s. What threw me off was the wording in the “Panebeker Photo and Video Information” docx.

      It says:

      “Photos were taken primarily with a Canon EOS Rebel T3I, a couple were taken with a Nikon P520. Video in the video folder was also taken with the Nikon Coolpix P520.”

      Sounds like they’re describing on camera, right?

      Lightroom doesn’t show camera metadata, except the timestamp, for videos. So there is no camera name, much less Camera Serial Numbers. So I wasn’t “seeing” anything to tell me those were two different “versions” of the same camera.

      So now I can quit wondering how the camera was stamping the stills “accurately” but not the videos.

      • Marti Reed says

        The Moore folder includes some photos of that drop, too, and they sequence right in that framework, also. Starting with 20130630_Loc1_seat (20).jpg at 3:23.23 PM. Also Swartz shot the scene before the drop on his iPad at 3:20:42 PM.

  7. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** MORE ABOUT THE MYSTERIOUS 162300 AIR STUDY VIDEO
    **
    ** WHAT WAS *REALLY* HAPPENING CIRCA 1623 ( 4:23 PM )?

    Since we don’t know if there ever even WAS an ‘original 162300’ Air Study
    Video ( of any length ) that was then ‘replaced’ with the 11.7 clip from another
    video taken almost an HOUR earlier… it’s impossible to say how much ‘radio
    traffic’ that original 162300 video *might* have captured ( if it existed ).

    For the sake of argument… let’s assume that it DID exist and that it WAS much
    more than 11.7 seconds… and that it actually ‘covered’ the time period that
    stretched all the way back to the Air Study video that immediately preceded it.

    All that means is that it couldn’t have been more than FOUR minutes
    long, since the Air Study Video that immediately precedes the
    20130630_162300_SEAT_drop_EP Air Study video was the 20130630_161858_VLAT_split_2_EP one.

    ( 162300 minus 161858 equals 4 minutes and 2 seconds )

    It is doubtful that even if the original 162300 video was MUCH longer than 11.7
    seconds that it would have been this full FOUR minutes long ( since no other
    Panebaker video was that long and never really exceeded 3 minutes in length )…

    …but again… just for the sake of completeness… here are the full FOUR minutes
    of captured Air-To-Air channel traffic that would cover the entire time in-between
    the 161858 video and the 162300 one… just to see what was *really*
    happening ( on Air-To-Air, anyway ) during that timeframe.

    The timeframe that actually covers the 11.7 seconds of the existing 162300
    video is marked in the transcript below.

    As the transcript below shows… NO ACTUAL DROPS took place during this
    1618.58 and 1623.00 time period ( as the 162300 video seems to suggest )…
    and B33 Thomas French was simply just still in the planning stages for the
    upcoming ‘two seat’ drop with Tankers 874 and 830 ( captured in a completely
    separate video from the 162300 one ).

    ** VIDEO 20130630_1628_EP STARTS AT 1547.46 ( 3:47.46 PM )

    Length of video: 40 minutes and 14 seconds.

    NOTE: The first 30 minutes and 42 seconds omitted from this posting to save
    space. Only the FOUR minutes that covers the gap between the 161858 and
    162300 videos is included.

    +30:43 ( 1618.29 / 4:18.29 PM )
    (Tanker 830): I gotcha… am I comin’ in too, Rusty?

    +30:48 ( 1618.34 / 4:18.34 PM )
    (Tanker 830): Is eight three zero comin’ in with eight seven four?

    +30:51 ( 1618.37 / 4:18.37 PM )
    (B33 – French): Afirmative. Eight seven four and eight three zero you’re
    both cleared in. Two nine eight zero… come in at fifty-five.

    +30:57 ( 1618.43 / 4:18.42 PM )
    (Tanker 830): Roger.

    +31:00 ( 1618.46 / 4:18.46 PM )
    (B33 – French): Nine one one… ya still up?

    +31:02 ( 1618.48 / 4:18.48 PM )
    (VLAT 911): Yes sir.

    +31:03 ( 1618.49 / 4:18.49 PM )
    (B33 – French): That was absolutely right on… both drops… thank you.

    +31:06 ( 1618.52 / 4:18.52 PM )
    (VLAT 911): Thank you. ‘preciate it.

    +31:10 ( 1618.56 / 4:18.56 PM )
    (5KA): Five Kilo Alpha’s out of the dip.

    +31:12 ( 1618.58 / 4:18.58 PM )
    (B33 – French): Kilo Alpha you’re clear to the drop.

    +31:14 ( 1619.00 / 4:19.00 PM )
    (5KA): Kilo Alpha

    +31:23 ( 1619.09 / 4:19.09 PM )
    (B33 – French): Eight seven four… set me up a coverage level 4… whole load… okay?

    +31:26 ( 1619.12 / 4:19.12 PM )
    (874): Okay.

    ( 40 SECOND PAUSE – NO RADIO TRAFFIC )

    +32:06 ( 1619.52 / 4:19.52 PM )
    (5KA): Five Kilo Alpha’s off the drop

    +32:07 ( 1619.53 / 4:19.53 PM )
    (B33 – French): Kilo Alpha Bravo 33 copy… Hey… I gotcha in sight
    so I’ll be low level on this flight but I DO have you in sight… give me a call off the dip.

    +32:14 ( 1620.00 / 4:20.00 PM )
    (5KA): Will do.

    ( 42 SECOND PAUSE – NO RADIO TRAFFIC )

    +32:56 ( 1620.42 / 4:20.42 PM )
    (Unknown): And Bravo 33 eight ?? comin’ around on the east side…
    lookin’ for ya… oh… I gotcha.

    +33:00 ( 1620.46 / 4:20.46 PM )
    (B33 – French): Follow me around… we’re gonna take ya right to
    work… allright?

    +33:03 ( 1620.49 / 4:20.49 PM )
    (Unknown): Allright.

    +33:04 ( 1620.50 / 4:20.50 PM )
    (B33 – French): You’re clear down to five… and… uh… I’m gonna start my
    turn to the left… I’m outta one sixty for one twenty.

    +33:11 ( 1620.57 / 4:20.57 PM )
    (Unknown): Okay.

    +33:13 ( 1620.59 / 4:20.59 PM )
    (B33 – French): Puttin’ on the brakes.

    +33:17 ( 1621.03 / 4:21.03 PM )
    (5KA): Kilo Alpha’s outta the dip.

    +33:20 ( 1621.06 / 4:21.06 PM )
    (B33 – French): Kilo Alpha gimme a call off the drop.

    +33:22 ( 1621.08 / 4:21.08 PM )
    (5KA): Will do.

    +33:38 ( 1621.24 / 4:21.24 PM )
    (B33 – French): Eight seven four… that’s you in the front of the line, right?

    +33:41 ( 1621.27 / 4:21.27 PM )
    (Tanker 874): Affirm

    +33:42 ( 1621.28 / 4:21.28 PM )
    (B33 – French): Okay… what we’re gonna do is… we’re gonna build line
    backwards. I need to extend my… uh… pattern just a little bit we’re gonna
    get a helicopter in and out… kind of at the… uh… north end of that flank.
    Gimmee a good left turn on the exit, okay?

    +33:52 ( 1621.38 / 4:21.38 PM )
    (Tanker 874): Okay

    +34:08 ( 1621.54 / 4:21.54 PM )
    (B33 – French): Okay… we ah.. we just put in a whole bunch of retardant in with the DC10 we’re gonna build line backwards… you’re gonna be starting in a light fuel patch taking it TO existing retardant… how copy?

    +34:20 ( 1622.06 / 4:22.06 PM )
    (Tanker 874): Sounds good.

    +34:21 ( 1622.07 / 4:22.07 PM )
    (B33 – French): What I’d look to do is… ah… yea… level 4… star… and I’m… I’ll pop smoke at the start… it’s even gonna be before that light… ah… fuel patch.

    +34:30 ( 1622.16 / 4:22.16 PM )
    (Tanker 874): Allright.

    +34:31 ( 1622.17 / 4:22.17 PM )
    (B33 – French): Have I got a DC10 holdin’ out there?

    +34:37 ( 1622.23 / 4:22.23 PM )
    (VLAT 911): That’s nine one… ah… one to the… ah… south.

    +34:40 ( 1622.26 / 4:22.26 PM )
    (B33 – French): Okay… copy that… ah… looks like you were just motionless… er… okay… thanks a lot… we’ll see ya in bit.

    +34:44 ( 1622.30 / 4:22.30 PM )
    (VLAT 911): Yea… just stayin’ close but out of the area.

    +34:46 ( 1622.32 / 4:22.32 PM )
    (B33 – French): Yea… you got it.

    +34:48 ( 1622.34 / 4:22.34 PM )
    (Helicopter 5KA): Kilo Alpha’s off the drop.

    +34:51 ( 1622.37 / 4:22.37 )
    (B33 – French): Kilo Alpha’s off the drop… break eight seven four… you ready to go?

    +34.54 ( 1622.40 / 4:22.40 PM )
    (Tanker 874): I’m ready to go.

    +34.56 ( 1622.42 / 4:22.42 PM )
    (B33 – French): Allright… I’m gonna start my descent… you’re gonna see the
    existing retardant put in by… ah… by nine one one so we’ll be taking retardant
    TO that.

    *****************************************************************************
    ** NOTE: 1622.49 is supposedly the START of the 11 second long
    ** Air Study Video 20130630_162300_SEAT_drop_EP.MOV
    *****************************************************************************

    +35:05 ( 1622.51 / 4:22.51 PM )
    (Tanker 874): Copy

    +35:06 ( 16:22.52 / 4:22.52 PM )
    (B33 – French): Little bit hard to see here… so basically their retardant
    started in the flats. We’re gonna be kind of up in the foothill portion.
    I’ll pop smoke at the start. Gimme about a wingspan left for ah… drift
    Drop heading’s gonna be about zero eight five.

    ****************************************************************************
    ** NOTE: 1623.00 is supposedly the END of the 11 second long
    ** Air Study Video 20130630_162300_SEAT_drop_EP.MOV
    ****************************************************************************

    VIDEO 20130630_1628_EP ENDS AT 1628.00 ( 4:28.00 PM )
    Length of video: 40 minutes and 14 seconds.

    • calvin says

      The Panebaker VLAT pictures labeled 1715’ish are incorrect. These pictures are actually the split drop from the VLAT from 1617. I am not sure if this is relevant, or if it has already been identified.

      • Marti Reed says

        Hey, Calvin, which particular photos of the split drop are you referring to? I’m seeing a variety of them in the various folders.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to calvin post on May 18, 2014 at 4:48 am said:

        >> calvin said…
        >> The Panebaker VLAT pictures labeled 1715′ish are
        >> incorrect. These pictures are actually the split drop from
        >> the VLAT from 1617. I am not sure if this is relevant,
        >> or if it has already been identified.

        calvin… yes… it’s very relevant for a number of reasons.

        You just pointed out that we have been *assuming* that
        the both the filename and EXIF timestamps on the Panakebaker STILL photos are ‘correct’.

        You are right… that doesn’t really appear to be the case.

        The Panebaker 20130630_171528-1_EP photo in the
        ‘VLAT drops’ still photos folder is also the one that is a
        ‘perfect match’ for Tom Story’s 7093 photo of the same
        drop… which Story’s Canon 1D said took place at 1639.

        So however ‘wrong’ these Panebaker STILL images are is also directly related to how ‘wrong’ Tom Story’s Canon 1D was set that day.

        We were assuming a +36 minute error there, but if the Panebaker still photos ALSO have ‘bogus’ timestamps
        then that is no longer correct.

        So now we need to figure out just how *wrong* BOTH
        Panebaker’s Canon EOS REBEL T3i *AND* Story’s Canon EOS 1D were that day.

        Geez. what a mess.

        Reminder to anyone getting paid to take pictures of a fire in the future… please make sure the time/date settings on the cameras you are using are CORRECT. Thanks in advance.

    • Marti Reed says

      So……. I downloaded (and am still downloading) a representative smattering of the Panebaker et al photos and videos.

      The File-naming of the videos is all over the boards, compared to the time-stamping. A bunch of the mis-file-naming appears to be typos. For example, 143844 has a time stamp of 4:38:41 PM. Ahem. And 150530 is time stamped 5:05:30 PM. Buyer Beware!

      Which leads to our favorite mysterious pair. 162300 is stamped 4:23:01 PM. Accurate? Quite possibly, relatively speaking. 152406 is stamped 5:21:07 PM. Think about THEM apples! There is no way, given what’s going on, that what is happening in that video is happening at 5:21:07 PM!!! So I would be more likely to trust 162300 than 152406.

      And speaking of these two videos, the short one is not an edit out of the long one. They’re two completely different videos, captured by two different cameras.

      152406_SEAT, with a most likely wrong filename and timestamp, and 162300, with its possibly more accurate timestamp and filemame, were both recorded on the Nikon Coolpix P520. It was on a tripod. It can record up to 24 minutes of video at a time.

      Which leads me to my theory. Panebaker et al shot the main videos (except for the ones w/air2air capture, which were recorded on a Contour +2 videocam) on the Nikon in much longer chunks than we see here. Then, probably soon after, they had to sit down and split those videos into smaller chunks. Because…that’s what you have to do. As they were splitting them, they were exporting them out, and had to give them names. Some of them they may have been naming correctly. Some of them they clearly weren’t.

      And I don’t know, when you split videos like these up, in something like QuickTime, what happens to the time stamps in the course of doing that. I’ve so far never had to pay attention to that, but then, I’m just learning how to shoot video.

      Was the Nikon’s timestamper generally off? I don’t know. Periodically, a photo was taken on that camera. The photos are in the Schultz folder. 20130630_1616_AZ-A1S-000688_T911___7_G_RS.JPG (Please dear Universe, don’t ever compel me to type that out on my iPad ever again…) is of the T11 coming out of one of the split drops and has a time stamp of 4:16:36 PM. Boom! As in that’s pretty accurate, relatively speaking, given that we don’t have any absolute time stamps on any of these files, because it just doesn’t work that way in the real world, unless somebody decides to make it do that.

      So that’s what I’ve discovered so far. When I first started looking at those files and their metadata in Lightroom, I wrote in my notes, “Marti starts slowly backing out of THIS particular project…….”

      • Marti Reed says

        So this is a reminder to people analyzing video. Sometimes it helps to watch them while you’re listening to them.

      • Marti Reed says

        Also. One of my first thoughts as WTKTT (thankfully) starting posting his concerns about these videos was that I have no problem imagining a four-minute lapse in recording. Sometimes, yah know, you have to change out things like batteries and memory cards. And, now that I’ve per used this thing a little bit, maybe we DON’T have a lapse at all. Maybe 162300 WAS shot at that time and so was 152406!!

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Marti…

          At exactly +4 seconds in the 11.7 second 162300 video… a shutter click is heard. It comes right after OPS1 Todd Abel says “Go ahead” and then Air Attack Rory Collins starts his “Okay… uh… we’ll probly be around there in about five” response.

          The ‘shutter click’ also comes at the exact moment that the retardant flow was turned on during this SEAT drop captured in the 162300 video.

          The SAME EXACT ‘shutter click’ is also heard at the SAME EXACT moment at the +2:20 mark in the 152406 video ( an hour earlier? ) and is part of the same 11 seconds from 152406 ‘duplicated’ as the content of 162300.

          I can’t seem to find a match for this still photo in ANY of the folders up in the ‘Aerial Firefighting Study’ folder. Not even in Panebaker’s specific ‘SEAT drops’ folder. ( Which is what the 162300 video is showing… a SEAT drop ). Pity. Maybe THAT still camera would have had a correct setting in order to verify 162300 itself.

          So… just to be clear…

          Despite what you said above… I still don’t think there is *ANY* question that the entire 162300 video is not an exact duplicate of the 11.7 seconds seen at the +2:18 mark in the 152406 video. The ‘mystery’ is why this is so…

          …but I hear you up above with your ‘potential’ explanation.

          Are you saying that it could just possibly be that this same SEAT drop was captured with TWO different video cameras at the same time… but the one that was running longer and captured the full 2+ minutes ( that includes this SEAT DROP ) was simply mis-named into the 152406 timerange and should have ACTUALLY been named 162406 instead?

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Okay… bad typo above.
            The word ‘not’ slipped in there which
            changed the intent of what I was trying
            to say, I think.

            Should have read like this…

            Despite what you said above… I still don’t think there is *ANY* question that the entire 162300 video is, in fact, an exact duplicate of the 11.7 seconds seen at the +2:18 mark in the 152406 video. The ‘mystery’ is why this is so”.

            So just to be cystal clear…

            I still think that 162300 video IS an EXACT DUPLICATE of the 11 seconds at the +2:18 mark in the 152606 video.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Hmmm… I think I need to scratch this
            comment of my own from above…

            “Are you saying that it could just possibly be that this same SEAT drop was captured with TWO different video cameras at the same time… but the one that was running longer and captured the full 2+ minutes ( that includes this SEAT DROP ) was simply mis-named into the 152406 timerange and should have ACTUALLY been named 162406 instead?”

            Even this isn’t really a possible explanation.
            The 1624 timeframe *IS* covered by the
            Panebaker video
            20130630_162508_2SEATS_EP, which is 1
            minute and 49 seconds long, and ( according to THAT filename timestamp ) starts capturing events at 1623.19 ( 4:23.19 PM ) and ENDS at 1625.08 ( 4:25.08 PM ).

            So even if someone ‘misnamed’ the
            152406 video and really meant it to
            say 162406… everything is still ‘wonky’.

            The TWO SEAT drop ( 830 following 874 )
            is what is really happening at 162406, and
            NOT the SINGLE seat drop shown in both
            the 152406 and 162300 videos.

          • Marti Reed says

            Yes, It’s exactly what I’m saying. Those are completely different videos. WATCH THEM!!!!!

            • Marti Reed says

              And I’m also saying, these videos, recorded on the Nikon Coolpix are a bloody mess that I’m still trying to sort out.So it’s no surprise they tripped,you up.

              Fortunately, I’m pretty sure the photos from it (in the Swartz folder — and they are actually quite astonishing) are accurately time stamped. And I have NO IDEA how that could happen.

              So I’m currently downloading some more videos to see if the camera (or whatever) started out accurate, and went gonzo, or if it was that way all day (or thru what ever editor they put the videos through).

              SOMETHING went wrong.

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                Reply to Marti Reed post
                on May 18, 2014 at 7:53 pm

                >> Marti said…
                >> Fortunately, I’m pretty sure
                >> the photos from it (in the
                >> Swartz folder — and they
                >> are actually quite
                >> astonishing) are accurately
                >> time stamped.

                Well.. I hope so.

                See new post above entiteld…
                ** MYSTERY SOLVED

                I was wrong just above about
                saying there didn’t seem to
                be a still photo that matches
                the ‘shutter click’ heard in
                BOTH the 152406 and 162300
                videos at the moment that
                single SEAT was ‘dropping’.

                There IS such a photograph.
                I just missed it at first.

                It’s in the Swartz folder(s).

                I have NO IDEA which of these
                Air Study devices actually had
                the RIGHT time that day… but
                if we assume ( as we have
                been doing for a while now )
                that the tripod-mounted video
                cameras DID have the ‘correct
                time’ that day… then Swartz’s
                camera still falls into the
                ‘accurate enough’ category but
                still appears to have been
                about 61 seconds ahead of
                the time on the tripod
                mounted camera(s).

                I would still call +/- 60 seconds
                ‘close enough for accuracy’
                on a day like this.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Reply to Marti Reed post on
              May 18, 2014 at 7:44 pm

              >> Marti said…
              >> Yes, It’s exactly what I’m saying.
              >> Those are completely different
              >> videos.

              Yes. You are right.
              They are simply TWO *different*
              video cameras ( one on a tripod and
              one handheld ) recording the same
              exact ‘event’ ( the same SEAT drop ).

              See new posting above entiteld
              ** MYSTERY SOLVED?

              The Swartz photo I found that appears
              to also be the EXACT same SEAT
              drop seems to prove that ALL of
              this did, in fact, happen in the 1524
              timeframe and nowhere near 162300.

              Somehow… that 162300 Air Study video is just the 11.7 seconds from the ‘handheld’ being used at that time was meant to be named 152300 ( even though that isn’t even totally accurate, timewise ).

      • Marti Reed says

        So looking more at what’s coming out of that Nikon. Trying to sync to the VLAT split. The photo of it, which I referenced above, and won’t type again, has an accurate timestamp, and the timestamp is shown on the image. The video, however, is time stamped two hours “late — 6:12:48 PM, and somebody renamed the file 161620. I don’t know where and when and how the Nikon video timestamps are going wacky. And it looks like whoever is splitting out or renaming or what those videos is having a big struggle trying to do it. Maybe in a hurry?

        And now I’m not sure my earlier theory — that they videos were shot in big chunks and then split — is correct. Swartz’s folder of the photos taken with the Nikon has a lot of photos in it. I’m not sure exactly what he was doing.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Marti… FWIW… that last photo in the Swartz folder…

          20130630_1716_AZ
          -A1S-000688___FB_1_G_RS.JPG

          has an EXIF timestamp of… 5:16:58 PM and shows
          them basically ‘packing up and leaving’ that location
          by the helibase where they had the tripods set up
          most of the afternoon.

          This does appear to be accurate.

          The final video taken from the tripod actually ENDS
          just before we now see him with that tripod in
          his hand and about to put it into the truck.

          • Marti Reed says

            Good catch!!

            Have you looked at the Town of Yarnell Folder? YIKES!!

            They drove into town. He has photos in the Ranch House Cafe parking lot from 6:38 PM til 6:44 PM. I think the last two include Brian and Trew and their UTV. he wins my gold prize today! He was also shooting on an iPad.

            I’m going after 150822_VLAT_EP. It’s the first VLAT drop they shot, both photos and video, of a VLAT drop that day. I didn’t download it right, so I’m waiting. I’ll see if the Nikon was timestamping the video correctly then.

            I just don’t know where the screw-up came. I really think 162300 (snot om a different camrea) is both stamped and file named correctly, and 152406, shot on the Nikon, clearly isn’t

            The next thing to do would be to go into the Air2Air videos, and see if there’s a match somewhere. But I’m not gonna have time anytime soon to do it…..

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Reply to Marti Reed post
              on May 18, 2014 at 8:13 pm

              >> Marti said…
              >> Have you looked at the Town of
              >> Yarnell Folder? YIKES!!

              Yes. It really was a disaster.
              It’s an absolute MIRACLE that more
              people were not killed that day.

              One of the things I can’t figure out
              about that sequence of Swartz
              photos is that if you look carefully…
              he is approaching the Ranch House
              Restaurant ( and taking pictures out
              the window of his vehicle ) from the
              SOUTH ( not the NORTH, where
              he was taking pictures earlier ).

              So, somehow Swartz worked his
              way further SOUTH than the Ranch
              House Restaurant following the
              deployment and now we simply
              see him coming back NORTH
              to it… and pulling into the parking lot.

              It would also be nice if someone could
              identify all those fire guys in THESE
              photos standing in the parking lot,
              including the one who is GLARING
              at Swartz as he takes photos, even
              though the other guy to the right with
              the red helmet is obviously freely
              shooting photos or video with an
              iPhone at that same time.

              The guy who is GLARING at Swartz
              has a BLUE Helmet… but the Blue
              Ridge Hotshots had already
              evacuated the Ranch House parking
              lot by this time.

              Could that be BR Hotshot Ball who
              have been ‘left behind’ at the parking
              lot that day?

              When Frisby and Brown drove out
              from the deployment area in the
              UTV Ranger… the GPS tracker
              shows them going straight up NORTH
              towards the ICP command center,
              so I don’t think it’s either Frisby
              or Brown in that photo.

              >> Marti also wrote…
              >> They drove into town. He has
              >> photos in the Ranch House Cafe
              >> parking lot from 6:38 PM til 6:44
              >> PM. I think the last two include
              >> Brian and Trew and their UTV.
              >> he wins my gold prize today!
              >> He was also shooting on an iPad.

              See above. I believe the BR GPS
              tracker shows Frisby and Brown
              driving straight up to the ICP after
              they came out of the deployment
              area… and the rest of BR evacuated
              the parking lot shortly after that
              in the vehicles. So the guy in the
              Blue Helmet seems to have been
              a BR Hotshot that was ‘left behind’.
              Ball?

              >> Marti also said…
              >> I just don’t know where the
              >> screw-up came. I really think
              >> 162300 (shot on a different
              >> camera) is both stamped and file
              >> named correctly, and 152406,
              >> shot on the Nikon, clearly isn’t.

              See new post above.

              I believe the Swartz photo of the
              same SEAT drop puts things the
              other way around. That SEAT drop
              was in the 1524 timeframe and
              NOT the 1623 timeframe.

              >> Marti also said…
              >> The next thing to do would be to
              >> go into the Air2Air videos, and see
              >> if there’s a match somewhere. But
              >> I’m not gonna have time anytime
              >> soon to do it…..

              Probably no need.

              See new post above with title
              ** MYSTERY SOLVED?

              There IS a Swartz photo that IS most
              likely that same exact SEAT drop
              seen in BOTH the 152406 and 162300
              videos ( shot with different video
              cameras ).

              Swartz’s digital camera was only
              61 seconds ahead of whatever video
              camera was sitting on the TRIPOD
              that day and capturing drops.

              So I believe the ‘proof’ is there that
              Swartz’s photo, the 152406 video
              ( shot on tripod ) and the 162300
              video ( handheld video camera )
              are all capturing the SAME SEAT
              drop… and it was in the 1524
              timeframe ( not 1623 ).

              Whether that means the handheld
              used to shoot the 11.7 seconds was
              just a full HOUR off ( timezone error? )
              or it was a ‘file renaming’ error is the
              only thing that still needs to be
              figured out, IMHO.

          • Marti Reed says

            What I’m kinda sorta generally seeing is that Swartz, who seems to have been in charge of the Nikon (while Panebaker was actually photographing with a Canon t3i ( which is the camera I use)) was taking photos every 10-20-30 minutes.

            So I think he was shooting, say, a bit of video, then stopping and shooting some photos, and then switching back to video.

            So I no longer think these videos were split out from longer ones. I think the videos were started, recorded, then stopped in camera.

            So no-one was splitting them later in QuickTime or such. That means whatever mis-time-stamping was happening must have been happening in camera. Problem is, I’ve never heard of that happening, with a camera correctly stamping its photos and incorrectly stamping its videos. That’s where I’m stumped.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              It’s now pretty obvious that in those 11.7 seconds that ended up being ‘named’ the 162300 video… whoever shot that was HURRYING to grab the camera and record that SEAT drop.

              The first few seconds show the operator fumbling to point the camera… and then fumbling to ZOOM and catch the SEAT drop in the nick of time… with retardant dropping.

              So YES… these 11.7 seconds now just look like a ‘quick opportunity’ to get ADDITIONAL video of the same SEAT drop ( circa 1523.30 ) that was already being captured by the OTHER video camera on the tripod.

              How it ended up with a filename of 162300?… that’s still a mystery.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Followup to the original parent comment above that has
      the ‘transcript’ in it.

      What I should have made clear(er) in the original parent comment
      was that the ‘2 SEAT drop’ with 830 following 874 DOES, in fact,
      take place very soon after that transcript above ends…

      …and that ‘2 SEAT drop’ is fully captured in the Panebaker
      video 20130630_162508_2SEATS_EP, which is 1 minute and
      49 seconds long, and ( according to the filename timestamp )
      starts capturing events at 1623.19 ( 4:23.19 PM ) and ENDS
      at 1625.08 ( 4:25.08 PM ).

      French, in B33, starts ‘poppin’ smoke right at +21 seconds
      ( 1623.40 ) in that video ( just as he says he does in the audio )… and then 874 is seen ‘dropping’ at exactly +35 seconds
      ( 1623.54 ) and 830 then follows him right away dropping
      retardant at exactly +57 seconds ( 1624.16 ).

      The point here is that this is a TWO SEAT drop and it happens AFTER the 162300 video ENDS… whereas the 11 seconds of the 162300 video (supposedly) shows a completely different SINGLE seat drop with a completely different SEAT happening just a few seconds for the TWO seat drop…

      …and BOTH drops (supposedly) being ‘guided’ by the same lead plane. Not possible.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Typo in last sentence above.
        I left out the word BEFORE.
        Should have read like this…

        The point here is that this is a TWO SEAT drop and it happens AFTER the 162300 video ENDS… whereas the 11 seconds of the 162300 video (supposedly) shows a completely different SINGLE seat drop with a completely different SEAT happening just a few seconds BEFORE
        the TWO seat drop…

        …and BOTH drops (supposedly) being ‘guided’ by the same lead plane. Not possible.

        • Marti Reed says

          I disagree. Right when whoever (of course we now agree that’s probably Cordes) says “We’ll probably be there about five,” the tanker drops in both videos.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Reply to Marti Reed post on
            May 18, 2014 at 9:20 pm

            >> Marti said…
            >> I disagree. Right when whoever (of
            >> course we now agree that’s probably
            >> Cordes) says “We’ll probably be there
            >> about five,”

            The only way it could be SPGS1 Gary Cordes ‘responding’ to Air Attack Rory Collins there is if Cordes was ‘authorized’ to be responding to direct callouts for ‘Operations’.

            Just before the ‘Go ahead’ transmit… we hear Air Attack Rory Collins specifically ASK for ‘Operations’ to talk to him over ‘Air to Ground’.

            The ‘responder’ to a request for ‘Operations’
            ( at that point in the day ) *would* have logically been OPS1 Todd Abel… and it even SOUNDS just like Todd Abel, and not Musser or Cordes.

            This is all captured in the 152406 video…
            ____________________________________
            +2:13 ( 1523.23 / 3:23.23 PM )
            (AA – Rory Collins): Operations, Air Attack, Air-To-Ground

            +2:18 ( 1523.28 / 3:23.28 PM )
            (OPS1 Todd Abel): Go ahead.

            +2:19 ( 1523.29 / 3:23.29 PM )
            (AA – Rory Collins): Okay… Ahhhh… we’ll probly be around there in about five. Umm… What’s your plan on the ground?

            +2:27 ( 1523.37 / 3:23.37 PM )
            (OPS1 Todd Abel): What I’d like to do… ah… is… ah… tie into ( that court here? ) where ya see the whole ??. If we can tag onto the road up here and then just run it… ah… you know… ( transmission breaks up / cuts off ).
            ____________________________________

            >> Marti also said…
            >> …the tanker drops in both videos.

            Yes… but I believe the proof is now there that this ‘drop’ ( and the audio capture with Air Attack Rory Collins talking to ‘Operations’ ) is definitely in the 1524 timeframe and not the 1623 timeframe.

            If that really is a capture of a SINGLE SEAT
            drop at 1623… some 1/4 mile off to the
            east there of where they were using the
            VLAT and the SEATS in most of the other videos…

            …then French would have then only had about 25 seconds to completely set up the upcoming TWO SEAT drop with Tanker 874 leading and Tanker 830 following… which is captured in the next Air Study video.

            Not possible.

            Not enough time for French to have come off that single SEAT drop and then go through all the preparation we hear in the Air-To-Air captures for that upcoming TWO SEAT drop.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Correction for above.

              It is NOT anyone from ‘Operations’
              at all that says “We’ll probably be
              around there in about five.”

              That is actually Air Attack Rory Collins himself talking TO ‘Operations’ after someone in Operations ( sounds just like OPS1 Todd Abel ) responded to HIS “Operations, Air Attack, Air To Ground” callout with “Go ahead”.

              At this point in time ( 1524 ish )… it is Air Attack Rory Collins himself who wants to know what ‘Operations’ plans to do ‘on the ground’… and he gets a full answer from what appears to be OPS1 Todd Abel regarding what ‘roads’ they want retardant to try and ‘tie into’.

              OPS1 Todd Abel is still on the NORTH end of the fire at this point and actually ‘on the ground’ back there with SPGS2 Darrell Willis in the Model Creek Road area and the ‘tying into roads’ response to Air Attack Rory Collins is still all about the NORTH side of the fire.

  8. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** MORE ABOUT THE 162300 AIR STUDY VIDEO

    Here are the ‘transcripts’ from the two Air Study Videos which prove that
    the 162300 Panebaker Air Study video is simply 11.7 seconds of video that
    was simply ‘extracted’ from the much longer 152406 video ( taken almost an
    HOUR earlier ) and was either created as a *new* 162300 video OR was
    used to REPLACE the contents of the *original* 162300 video.

    Whether or not this 11.7 seconds of video simply replaced a much LONGER
    video capture of what was *really* transpiring circa 1623 is still not known.
    Only a comparison with the actual original 162300 video ( if it ever even existed )
    could prove any difference in time lengths.

    Here is the transcript of the 11.7 seconds that is the content of Air Study Video
    20130630_162300_SEAT_drop_EP as included in the SAIT FOIA/FOIL release…

    ** PANEBAKER AIR STUDY VIDEO
    ** 20130630_162300_SEAT_drop_EP.MOV

    Transcript of both the foreground and background radio conversation captured
    by Panebaker Air Study Video 20130630_162300_SEAT_drop_EP.MOV.

    A public copy of this Air Study video is in Mr. Dougherty’s online Dropbox at…
    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/y3jy5opssrcvzb3/S3cCXl9pjr/AerialFirefightingstudy/Panebaker/Video/Video#lh:null-20130630_162300_SEAT_drop_EP.MOV

    ECITW ( Every Caveat In The World )
    This is what I ( me, personally ) believe is being said in the background of this
    video. Your mileage may, of course, vary.

    This video is 11 seconds long, so given the small note in the README.TXT file
    that accompanies these Air Study videos which states that they all use the
    VIDEO END time as the timestamp in the TITLE… then that means this
    particular video STARTED at 1622.49 ( 4:22.49 PM )

    VIDEO 162300 STARTS AT 1622.49 ( 4:22.49 PM )

    BACKGROUND

    +0:02 ( 1622.51 / 4:22.51 PM )
    (OPS1 Todd Abel): Go ahead.

    +0:03 ( 1622.52 / 4:22.52 PM )
    (AA – Rory Collins): Okay… Ahhhh… we’ll probly be around there
    in about five. Umm… What’s your plan on the ground?

    FOREGROUND

    (Tanker 810): Eight one zero OFF… hard RIGHT.

    BACKGROUND

    +0:10 ( 1622.59 / 4:22.59 PM )
    (OPS1 Todd Abel): What I’d like… ( VIDEO ENDS )

    NOTE: Video ends and cuts off right after the word ‘like’.

    VIDEO 162300 ENDS AT 1623.00 ( 4:23.00 PM )

    *** NOW… Here is the transcript from the 11 seconds of video at the +2:18 mark
    *** in the Air Study Video 201300630_152406_SEAT_EP taken an HOUR earlier…
    ***
    *** The KEY part is the duplication of the following exact query from
    *** Air Attack Rory Collins to OPS1 Todd Abel… ( which is now in BOTH
    *** of these Air Study Videos… but at different TIMES and almost a
    *** full HOUR apart from each other…
    ***
    *** (AA – Rory Collins): Okay… Ahhhh… we’ll probly be around there
    *** in about five. Umm… What’s your plan on the ground?

    This transcript includes both the FOREGROUND radio traffic ( mostly Air-To-Air
    channel captures ) and the BACKGROUND ( TAC channels ) captures.

    You can see clearly that the audio at the +2:18 second mark in THIS video
    is identical to the audio supposedly captured almost an HOUR later
    in the 162300 video.

    Also… the 11 second clip from this video being used as the content for
    the 162300 video only starts with the ‘Go ahead’ response from OPS1 Todd
    Abel… but this ‘Go ahead’ from Abel is a direct response from Air Attack
    Rory Collins having just called out to HIM with a “Operations, Air Attack on
    Air To Ground” radio call at the +2:13 mark in THIS video.

    Also… the ‘What I’d like to do’ phrase that also ENDS the 11 second clip used
    as the content for the 162300 video is NOT ‘cut off’ in THIS video and we can
    hear OPS1 Todd Abel’s full response to Air Attack Rory Collins.

    VIDEO 152406 STARTS AT 1521.10 ( 3:21.10 PM )

    +1:30 ( 1522.40 / 3:22.40 PM )
    (B33 – French): Okay… what we’re gonna do is… uh… it’s kinda…
    like I said the farthest north house… and… pretty close to the house, okay?
    This one with the red engine. There’s actually two with red engines it’s
    the one furthest north. Now I’m online.

    +1:44 ( 1522.54 / 3:22.54 PM )
    (Tanker 810): Okay. Gotcha… and… and we’re pretty much goin’ for the heavy smoke?

    +1:47 ( 1522.57 / 3:22.57 PM )
    (B33 – French): Yea… it’s… it’s a bead on the heavy smoke and I’m on line now
    poppin’ smoke just so ya can see me. I want your line to start and bring it right
    through HERE… right turn on the exit… ya got that?

    +1:58 ( 1523.08 / 3:23.08 PM )
    (Tanker 810): Got it.

    +2:05 ( 1523.15 / 3:23.15 PM )
    (Foreground person 1 – Panebaker?): Here he comes.

    +2:13 ( 1523.23 / 3:23.23 PM )
    (AA – Rory Collins): Operations, Air Attack, Air-To-Ground

    ** NOTE: Here is the START of the 11.7 seconds from THIS video
    ** that is duplicated as the content for Air Study Video 162300
    _________________________________________________________________
    +2:18 ( 1523.28 / 3:23.28 PM )
    (OPS1 Todd Abel): Go ahead.

    +2:19 ( 1523.29 / 3:23.29 PM )
    (AA – Rory Collins): Okay… Ahhhh… we’ll probly be around there
    in about five. Umm… What’s your plan on the ground?

    +2:27 ( 1523.37 / 3:23.37 PM )
    (OPS1 Todd Abel): What I’d like to do… ah… is… ah… tie into ( that court here? ) where ya
    see the whole ??. If we can tag onto the road up here and then just run it… ah… you know…
    ( transmission breaks up and cuts off ).

    FOREGROUND OVERLAP…

    +2:27 ( 1523.37 / 3:23.37 PM )
    (Tanker 810): Eight one zero OFF… hard right.
    (B33 – French): Lookin’ like you already got me in sight…
    looks like your drop went in there good. Thank you.
    (Tanker 810): ( Back to ?? )
    _________________________________________________________________
    ** NOTE: Here is the END of the 11.7 seconds from THIS video
    ** that is duplicated as the content for Air Study Video 162300
    ** but 162300 cuts off early up above right after the phrase
    ** “What I’d like…” in the BACKGROUND capture and the
    ** phrase “Eight one zero OFF…” in the FOREGROUND capture
    **
    ** The 152406 video simply continues for another half-minute or so
    ** with a response from Air Attack Rory Collins…

    +2:39
    (B33 – French): Load and return.
    (Tanker 810): Load and return… eight one zero.

    +2:43 ( 1523.53 / 3:23.53 PM )
    (B33 – French): Five Kilo Alpha… you’re cleared direct to the
    helibase if you’re not already headed there.

    +2:43 ( 1523.53 / 3:23.53 PM )
    (AA – Rory Collins?): Ah.. Okay… I’ll come around once they’re… ah…
    ( road? )… ahm… on… ahhh… those fire spots (under ?).

    +2:53 ( 1524.03 / 3:24.03 PM )
    (OPS1 Todd Abel): (Responding to last transmit from AA but words not clear).

    VIDEO 152406 ENDS AT 1524.06 ( 3:24.06 PM )

  9. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to Bob Powers post on May 12, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    >> Mr. Powers wrote…
    >>…If the Helicopters were dropping water in the same area trying to hold the fire
    >> down, then they definitely would have commented on the tanker drop helping
    >> them out at a critical location.

    Mr. Powers…

    In an effort here to try and figure out what is really going on with that now
    known-to-be-bogus 162300 Air Study Video ( and to see if any of these ‘other’
    Air Study videos are equally bogus )… I now have full transcripts of ALL of the
    other USDA Air Study videos that were on fixed tripods and capturing ALL of
    the Air-To-Air channel traffic which ‘overlaps’ with these Panebaker and Moore
    Air Study videos.

    I will post ALL of these transcripts at some point… but since this Chapter 6
    is already bigger than it should be ( and failing to load already on mobile
    devices )… I am going to wait a bit and see if a new Chapter 7 starts before
    attempting to do that. They are not *small* transcripts.

    In the meantime… I just thought I would point out that the helicopters
    ‘commenting’ on the ‘goodness’ of retardant drops ( if they were in a
    position to see it ) appears to be *common practice* in that ‘other world’
    of WFF Air Support and this is now perfectly evident in the full transcripts
    of the Air-To-Air channel traffic that day.

    In just ONE of the USDA Air Study videos capturing the complete Air-To-Air
    traffic… EVERY TIME the pilot of Helicopter 5KA ( Five Kilo Alpha ) saw
    a retardant drop… he IMMEDIATELY would add his own unsolicited comments
    to the conversation like “That was spot on!” and “Right on! Perfect!” and
    sometimes even lengthier ‘Attaboy!’ style comments.

    And MOST of the time… these ‘confirming goodness’ transmits right after a
    retardant drop would take place WITHOUT any ‘call signs’. They would just
    come out of ‘nowhere’.

    So YES… if ANY of the helicopters operating on the south side of the fire
    circa 1633 ( we know there were at least TWO in the air there at that
    time ) saw that 1633 SEAT drop that went right between the fireline and
    a house… it is VERY likely one ( or both? ) of those helicopter pilots might have
    been the ones offering the unsolicited. “That’s exactly what we want” and/or
    “That’s exactly right” comment(s) over the radio following that drop and
    Burfiend was simply mistaken to think those comments were coming
    from DIVSA Eric Marsh.

  10. Elizabeth says

    Two things:
    FIRST: In a post below, WTKTT suggests that EP (one of the guys conducting the “air study” on the day of the Yarnell Hill Fire) might somehow be withholding or concealing video. I suppose that it is possible that EP is deliberately participating in a scheme to withhold information, or that the AZ Forestry folks withheld some of EP’s video, or that the SAIT is withholding some of the video, but it is equally (if not more) likely that EP just made a misstep in labeling and keeping straight all of his videos, pictures, etc.

    Specifically: On June 30th, three folks (EP, SM, and Sw) were on the fire to take pictures and videos regarding the use of RETARDANT (and general air support with water drops) on fire – this is the “air study” folks keep referencing. These folks set up a main, stationary camera on a tripod that was recording from a stationary position almost non-stop, with audio coming exclusively from the air-to-air frequency (such that you can hear pilots such as Tom French, Rory Collins, “Jack,” “Kevin,” etc. talking to each other on these LONGGGGG main videos). In addition to that main camera, however, there were three people on the ground – EP, SM, and Sw – taking individual video clips and photos with various small hand-held devices. My impression is that at least one of them or maybe two had MULTIPLE hand-held devices that they were using.

    Here’s the KEY: My impression is that these three folks were SPECIFICALLY interested in capturing videos/photos of the air drops (water, retardant) in action, such that, before you conclude that they are HIDING a video, consider whether there was an actual DROP from a SEAT or a VLAT during the time window in question. If not, it is entirely possible that there WAS no video from a hand-held device at exactly that moment, and NOTHING is being hidden or withheld.

    To wit: At roughly 4:15 and 4:17, VLAT 911 dropped its massive load of retardant (split into two drops), and then there were two SEAT drops (one right after the other – they were in a line) at about 4:24 p.m., and then tanker 413 dropped at roughly 4:33, and then VLAT 910 was lining up for a drop when the shit hit the fan with GM. Which brings me to my second point….

    SECOND: For reasons not worth getting into (given that I do not have the time or ability to provide links at this point), allow me to say again that I am pretty sure that Marsh did indeed comment to B33 about where he was hoping for some air support (e.g. a VLAT line), but Marsh made the comment WELL before 16:37. Meaning, I am fairly comfortable believing based on the way that I have been tying together all of the same materials that all of you have access to at this point that the 16:37 comment alleged to have been made by Marsh was indeed made by Marsh, but (a) it was likely uttered well before 16:37 AND (b) the words might have been slightly different than what B33 recalls (although the gist was likely the same).

    This, by the way, ties into my previously-articulated view that the SAIT, ADOSH, and Wildland Fire Associate timelines are all wrong. I have no “links” to anything to support this, because my support for this is the timeline that I am slowly piecing together on my laptop and in my notebooks. There is nothing – other than my brain and notes – for me to “link” to…. 🙂

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Elizabeth post on May 15, 2014 at 11:16 am

      Elizabeth…

      First off… let me say that whatever that noise was down below
      about some kind of ‘boycott’ on responding to any more of your
      posts… I did not comment on it because that’s not something
      I personally believe in on a PUBLIC forum.

      Yes… this is a PUBLIC forum.

      If a post simply meets the acceptable criteria for ‘allowable’
      commentary on the part of the person hosting this PUBLIC
      discussion… then whatever someone has to say is OK with me.

      But… ( likewise )… since this is a PUBLIC forum… people are then
      also allowed to ‘freely comment’ ( and SHOULD ) on what anyone
      else has to say… even if that comment was not ‘addressed’ to them.

      That’s how this works.

      If people don’t like your posts… they don’t have to respond to them.

      It’s that simple.

      I think folks laid out pretty well down below what they find ‘annoying’ about most of your PUBLIC posts and your ‘style’ of commenting.
      You are free to either take whatever ‘advice’ was posted… or
      ignore it altogether. Freedom of choice, as they say.

      Ok… back to business…

      >> Elizabeth said…
      >> FIRST: In a post below, WTKTT suggests that EP (one of
      >> the guys conducting the “air study” on the day of the Yarnell
      >> Hill Fire) might somehow be withholding or concealing video.
      >> I suppose that it is possible that EP is deliberately participating
      >> in a scheme to withhold information, or that the AZ Forestry
      >> folks withheld some of EP’s video, or that the SAIT is
      >> withholding some of the video…

      Correction: I did NOT say that Eric Panebaker (himself) has
      ‘withheld’ ( or tampered with ) information/evidence. All I said
      was (quote)…

      “If the 20130630_162300_SEAT_drop_EP video ( as released by the SAIT in response to FOIA/FOIL requests ) does NOT contain the same content as the original… then HE would certainly know.”

      That is simply a TRUE statement.

      He would be in the *best* position to know whether or not that video that ended up as part of the FOIA/FOIL package coming from the SAIT actually contains the same things he *gave* them.

      He probably still has the *originals*.

      I ( me, personally ) do NOT KNOW what the ‘story’ is here.

      All I know is that one of these Air Study videos is NOT what it is supposed to be… and that there MUST be SOME kind of *story*
      that would explain it.

      >> …but it is equally (if not more) likely that EP just made a
      >> misstep in labeling and keeping straight all of his videos,
      >> pictures, etc.

      See my original post. I ( me, personally ) do *NOT* think it
      is ‘more likely’ this is the case.

      I would be the first to tell you that I have ‘mis-named’ files on a
      computer when assembling collections of things… but that is
      *NOT* the simple explanation for what is seen in THIS case.

      If two of these Air Study videos ended up being just ‘duplicates’
      of each other ( completely )… then YES… I would say the likelihood
      was high that a copy / naming operation went sideways.

      In this case, however, we are talking about a much more
      complicated scenario.

      Someone ( Repeat: I do NOT know WHO ) took the time to
      EXTRACT 11.7 seconds of video from the +2:18 second mark
      of a PREVIOUS video… and then SAVE that video back to disk
      with a totally differnent TIME on it… just short of an HOUR later
      than when it was actually taken.

      That’s a little more complicated than just accidentally hitting
      the wrong key at some point, or screwing up a drag-and-drop
      with a mouse.

      >> Elizabeth also said…
      >> Here’s the KEY: My impression is that these three folks were
      >> SPECIFICALLY interested in capturing videos/photos of the air
      >> drops (water, retardant) in action,

      That is a valid impression to have. That is what they were
      getting PAID to do…

      …however… you are WRONG to assume that that is the only
      reason they ever shot any VIDEO.

      SOME of the Panebaker / Moore videos have nothing to do with
      any actual ‘retardant’ drops. The most noticeable of these are
      the ones that simply have ‘fire-behavior’ in the video TITLE(S).

      >> Elizabeth also said
      >> such that, before you conclude that they are HIDING a video,
      >> consider whether there was an actual DROP from a SEAT or
      >> a VLAT during the time window in question.

      See above. There did NOT have to be any kind of ‘drop’ in progress
      for Panebaker or Moore to be shooting video that day.

      The *mystery* surrounding the particular video in question is
      that its title DOES seem to inidicate that it is SUPPOSED to be a
      video of a SEAT drop at 1623… but that is NOT what it *REALLY*
      is at all.

      >> Elizabeth
      >> SECOND: For reasons not worth getting into (given that I do
      >> not have the time or ability to provide links at this point), allow
      >> me to say again that I am pretty sure that Marsh did indeed
      >> comment to B33 about where he was hoping for some air
      >> support (e.g. a VLAT line), but Marsh made the comment
      >> WELL before 16:37.

      Please provide evidence if you are going to make these
      kinds of statements ( or just re-read the comments below about
      what people find most annoying about your posting here ).

      I have certainly made some ‘leaps’ myself in an effort to try and
      help us ALL decipher some mysteries in this ongoing disscusion
      (mostly before there was really no evidence to go on but the stupid
      SAIR report and the only thing to DO was ‘guess’ about things )…
      but I believe if I have ever gotten even close to saying “I’m pretty
      sure this is what happened”… there was ( at least ) extensive
      explanation as to WHY I was making such a claim.

      I could tell YOU right now that MY *extensive notes* seem to indicate that Darrell Willis left the north side of the fire, drove to Yarnell, borrowed an ATV from the Yarnell Fire Station… and then personally drove all the way out to where Steed and Marsh were and told them face-to-face… “You get your asses over there to town and do something that gets your name in the newspapers because I’ve got a City Council Budget meeting next week”…

      …but I would NOT expect ANYONE to believe me unless I showed some ‘evidence’ to back it up.

      Point taken?

      • Bob Powers says

        Not much to add to that. I think the evidence you have gone thru the past 2 days pretty well sums up the discussion.
        On another note I will be gone for a week and have a lot to catch up on here so keep on looking.
        Will be at my Oak Grove Hot Shot reunion reliving the great old days. Have a good week.

  11. Sitta says

    TIME FOR CHAPTER SEVEN?

    Signal boost to WTKTT’s earlier request for a new chapter. My mobile device crashes whenever I try to load this page now. Thanks, Mr. Dougherty, for continuing to host this discussion!

  12. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** WHERE IS THE *REAL* 20130630_162300_SEAT_drop_EP
    ** AIR STUDY VIDEO?

    After checking the Panebaker 163700 Air Study video again for ANY evidence of ANYONE saying anything like “That’s what we want” circa 1637 ( and finding no such evidence )… I started working BACKWARDS from 1637 and re-checking the other Air Study videos.

    There is no Panebaker or Moore Air Study Video that actually covers the 1637 to 1639 timeframe… so if there was any chance of finding evidence of this (supposed) “That’s what we want” transmission reported ONLY by John Burfiend of Bravo 33… then I thought perhaps that even if anyone did say any such thing… he might have simply been mistaken that it came (quote) “within 5 minutes of them going into shelters” ( as he said in his SAIT interview ).

    1642 ( Marsh’s final transmissions ) minus 5 minutes is 1637 and so that must have been the ‘guesstimate’ the SAIT investigators were applyiing to this ‘recollection’ on Burfiend’s part.

    I STILL believe it is MUCH more likey that if ANYONE said anything to Bravo 33 like “That’s exactly what we want”… that it was SOMEONE ( but NOT Marsh ) confirming the ‘goodness’ of the 1633 SEAT drop that was ‘spot on’ ( according to Burfiend and French ) and got laid down RIGHT between a house and the fireline at exactly 1633. If anyone said “That’s exactly what we want”… it MUST have been someone who saw that actual ‘spot-on’ drop right between the house and the fireline… ( like a chopper pilot ) and NOT someone who would have just seen some plane circling around in the air on some kind of ‘line-up’ flight.

    It was MOST LIKELY one of the chopper pilots known to have been in the air and also working that same exact area circa 1637. They would have seen that drop be ‘spot on’ and would have immediately been ‘confirming the goodness’ of it.

    Anyway… my plan was to work BACKWARDS through the Panebaker videos again listening carefully for ANY evidence of ANYONE saying anything like “That’s what we want” or other ‘confirming goodness’ opinions on the 1633 SEAT drop at ANY time that day.

    Well… here comes the new MYSTERY.

    The Panebaker video that immediately precedes the 163700 one is named…

    20130630_162300_SEAT_drop_EP

    That (supposedly) means it ENDED at 1623 and would also mean there was no Panebaker video prior to the 163700 one that covered the time of that 1633 SEAT drop down in Yarnell…

    …but what the heck… I re-checked the 162300 Air Study video, anway.

    That is when I discovered that this entire 162300 Air Study video is BOGUS.

    It is NOT what it says it is ( A video taken by Panebaker that ENDS at 1623 ).

    The entire Panebaker video 20130630_162300_SEAT_drop_EP is simply a reproduction of 11.7 seconds from the 2:18 second mark ( near the end ) of a much EARLIER Panebaker video 201300630_152406_SEAT_EP.

    Someone just LIFTED 11.7 seconds out of a previous video shot around
    1524 ( 3:24 PM ) that day… and is trying to pretend that it is the contents of
    an Air Study Video shot an hour later at 1623 ( 4:23 PM ).

    Everything from those 11.7 seconds at the +2:18 mark in the 152406 Air
    Study Video is a *PERFECT MATCH* for the entire content of the 162300 video.

    So where is the *REAL* Panebaker 20130630_162300_SEAT_drop_EP video?

    How long was the ORIGINAL video?… before someone just (manually) REPLACED it with an 11.7 second clip from a video taken an HOUR earlier?

    There was a LOT of critical stuff going at circa 1623 that day and so the original Panebaker 162300 video may have captured some of that.

    Example: It has NOT been completely verified that the YARNELL-GAMBLE video was actually shot at 1627. That APPEARS to be the time as supported by the sirens heard in the Jerry Thompson videos… but I still wouldn’t call that 100 percent verification.

    If Jerry Thompson himself was just a few minutes off on the times he reported for HIS videos… then the YARNELL-GAMBLE video *MIGHT* have actually been shot a few minutes earlier… like in the 1622-1624 timeframe.

    If that is the case… then that means this ‘missing’ 162300 Panebaker Air Study video had a good chance of ALSO capturing that TAC 1 channel conversation where SOMEONE in fire command *seems* to be urging Marsh to ‘hurry up and get to town’ and Eric Marsh ( totally confirmed ) then immediately reports Granite Mountain’s STATUS as… “They’re comin’ from the heel of the fire” ( as in… on the MOVE and NOT in the ‘safe black’ at all ).

    So the ‘missing’ Panebaker 162300 video might have ALSO captured that
    YARNELL-GAMBLE conversation on TAC 1… complete with the actual
    CALL SIGN of whoever it was that was having that conversation with
    Eric Marsh at that time and *seemed* to be urging him to hurry up.

    Even if the YARNELL-GAMBLE conversation was NOT also captured in this
    Panebaker 162300 video… there might have been *other* radio traffic relevant
    to Granite Mountain that WAS captured circa 1623.

    It really is not possible this was just a screw-up.

    Someone seems to have purposely preserved the 20130630_162300 filename
    and timestamp for this video… but then also PURPOSELY made an effort
    to replace the content with something else from ANOTHER (earlier) video.

    More on this later.

    I’m now going back and re-checking ALL the Air Study videos to see if this
    kind of ‘money business’ was going on with any OTHER Air Study videos.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Typo in last sentence.

      I meant to say ‘monkey business’.

      Last sentence should have read…

      “I’m now going back and re-checking ALL the Air Study videos to
      see if this kind of ‘monkey business’ was going on with any
      OTHER Air Study videos.”

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Correction for the above post.

      The 20130630_162300_SEAT_drop_EP video that is now known
      to be BOGUS is just ONE of the Panebaker Air study videos that
      ‘precedes’ the 163700 one. It does not IMMEDIATELY precede it.

      There are actually TWO others that come in-between 162300
      and 163700… and they both appear to be exactly what they
      say they are.

      These are the actual ( Eric ) Panebaker Air Study videos
      that cover the crucial 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM timeframe that day…

      20130630_161858_VLAT_split_2_EP
      20130630_162300_SEAT_drop_EP **** This is the BOGUS one
      20130630_162508_2SEATS_EP
      20130630_163338_fire_behavior_EP
      20130630_163700_fire_behavior_EP
      20130630_164544_fire_behavior_EP
      20130630_170634_VLAT_EP

      NOTE: The 20130630_161858_VLAT_split_2_EP video that precedes the one that is now know to be BOGUS is the one that captured the 4:16 PM “Granite Mountain… what’s your status right now?” query from from someone in fire command and Eric Marsh’s response about Granite Mountain “makin’ their way out the same escape route from this morning” and Marsh’s “just checkin’ it out to see where we gonna jump out at” transmission.

      ALSO NOTE: The ‘EP’ initials in these Air Study video filenames all stand for ‘Eric Panebaker’.

      If the 20130630_162300_SEAT_drop_EP video ( as released by the SAIT in response to FOIA/FOIL requests ) does NOT contain the same content as the original… then HE would certainly know.

  13. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** PANEBAKER AIR STUDY VIDEO
    ** 20130630_163700_fire_behavior_EP.MOV

    Reply to calvin post on May 9, 2014 at 3:04 am

    >> calvin said…
    >> At the 23 second mark of the 1637 Panebaker video there is a background
    >> transmission that I cannot make out. This video is only 39 seconds long and
    >> would put the 23 second mark near 1637. If you do not mind reviewing,
    >> I would appreciate it.

    calvin…

    I went back and reviewed the 163700 Panebaker video again looking for ANY evidence that ANYONE said anything like “That’s exactly what we want” as reported by the SAIR as Marsh talking to Bravo 33 at that time ( circa 1637 ).

    This video (supposedly) ENDS at exactly 1637 and ( as you pointed out )
    only covers the 39 seconds prior to that… so if anyone did say anything
    of the sort circa 1637… it must have come AFTER 1637 and there is no
    Panebaker or Moore Air Study video that covers the 1637-1638 timeframe.

    Anyway… after listening carefully again… there is NOTHING in the 163700
    video that resembles ANYONE saying anything like “That’s what we want”
    or “That’s exactly what we want”.

    The mysterious background transmit in the +21 to +23 second mark that you mention APPEARS to be someone saying something about a ‘horse’ that needs to be taken care of. This would match other reports around that time of ‘horses’ being seen running down the middle of Highway 89.

    Here is my full transcript of that 163700 Panebaker video…

    Transcript of BOTH the foreground AND background radio conversation captured
    by Panebaker Air Study Video 20130630_163700_fire_behavior_EP.MOV.

    A public copy of this Air Study video is in Mr. Dougherty’s online Dropbox at…
    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/y3jy5opssrcvzb3/S3cCXl9pjr/AerialFirefightingstudy/Panebaker/Video/Video#lh:null-20130630_163700_fire_behavior_EP.MOV

    ECITW ( Every Caveat In The World )
    This is what I ( me, personally ) believe is being said in both the foreground AND the background of this video. Your mileage may, of course, vary.

    This video is 39 seconds long.

    Since the text notes accompanying these videos states that the timestamp in the title represents the END time…that makes the actual START time for this video 1636.21

    NOTE: The air-to-air conversation in this video is ALSO captured even MORE
    clearly in the corresponding USDA AIR STUDY VIDEO – DISC 4 folder.

    VIDEO STARTS AT 1636.21 ( 4:36.21 PM )

    BACKGROUND

    +0:04 ( 1636.25 / 4:36.25 PM )
    (Unknown): (On?) short final…

    FOREGROUND

    +0:05 ( 1636.26 / 4:36.26 PM )
    (Unknown): Five-O-Eleven… you sure of that helibase… in that green circle here?

    +0:09 ( 1636.30 / 4:36.30 PM )
    (Unknown – Sounds like French in B33?): Okay, copy that… are you gonna drop your bucket and have to lift back somewhere else?

    +0:13 ( 1636.34 / 4:36.34 PM )
    (Unknown): Yea… I’ll have to drop ( the bucket? ) then I’ll head for Wickenburg for fuel.

    +0:16 ( 1636.37 / 4:36.37 PM )
    (Unkown – Sounds like French in B33?): Oh… okay… gotcha… okay… gimme a call… uh… ready to lift.

    +0:21 ( 1636.42 / 4:36.42 PM )
    (Unknown): Will do.

    BACKGROUND

    +0:22 ( 1636.43 / 4:36.43 PM )
    (Unknown): I’ve got a (horse?) left (to take care of?)

    +0:25 ( 1636.46 / 4:36.46 PM )
    (Unknown): You’re all clued in. No need to act… just write it down on a piece a paper.

    FOREGROUND

    +0:34 ( 1636.55 / 4:36.55 PM )
    (Unknown – Sounds like French in B33?): And I’ve got a project for you.

    +0:37 ( 1636.58 / 4:36.58 PM )
    (Unknown): When ya have… ???

    BACKGROUND

    +0:37 ( 1636.58 / 4:36.58 PM )
    (Unknown): (Someone’s NAME here is FIRST word? Boleba/Boleeba? Buliba?) What’s goin’ on back there?

    VIDEO ENDS AT 1637.00 ( 4:37.00 PM )

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Update: Wherever it says ‘Unknown – Sounds like French in B33’ up above should have just said ‘Thomas French in B33’. It is confirmed.

      Since this Panebaker video ‘overlaps’ with DVD DISC 4 of the USDA Air Study Videos… the Air-To-Air traffic captured in that USDA video confirms most of the FOREGROUND communications captured in this Panebaker video.

    • Bob Powers says

      WTKTT
      Discussion above—-
      Helicopter Pilot talking to French’
      Has a water Bucket for drops.
      he is going to drop it off at the heliport and go for fuel.
      I’ve got a hose lift to take care of — not horse—would have been moving hose to some location. Generally they bag it Nets and drop it at some location for use.
      5011 might be the call sign of the Helicopter? Just thoughts.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to Bob Powers post on May 14, 2014 at 7:06 am

        >> Mr. Powers wrote…
        >> Helicopter Pilot talking to French’
        >> Has a water Bucket for drops.
        >> he is going to drop it off at the heliport and go for fuel.

        Yes. That is definitely French talking to helicopter
        5KA ( Five Kilo Alpha ) at that point. 5KA is the one that needed to ‘drop his bucket’ and go refuel, at this time.

        The ‘other’ USDA audio captures of Air-To-Ground with
        no ‘walk overs’ on the Air-To-Air channel proves that.

        5KA would always identify himself using the full
        ‘Five Kilo Alpha’ but whenever French was hailing him
        he would simply abbreviate it as ‘Kilo Alpha’.

        >> I’ve got a hose lift to take care of — not horse—
        >> would have been moving hose to some location.
        >> Generally they bag it Nets and drop it at some location
        >> for use.

        Perfectly possible. That’s a very hard section to hear
        in this particular video. Could be ‘horse’ *OR* ‘hose’.

        The KEY thing there was that this transmission is definitely NOT anyone saying anything like “That’s what we want” in response to any line-up flights.

        >> 5011 might be the call sign of the Helicopter?
        >> Just thoughts.

        I listened to it again. This is definitely a capture of Burfiend in Bravo 33 talking on the Air-To-Ground channel… because in the USDA DVD there is more Air-To-Air talk right underneath this transmit from Burfiend… so the capture in THIS Panebaker video MUST have been ‘Air-To-Ground’ instead.

        It still definitely sounds like ‘Five-O-Eleven’ there, but since the chopper call signs all tend to be just THREE digits/numbers ( and there is no chopper with call sign 5011 listed as having been in Yarnell ) it’s unclear who Burfiend is really talking to about the ‘Helibase’.

        I could believe he really meant to say ‘Nine-Eleven’, but since they were not dropping in Yarnell now, and the DC10 VLAT 911 was still returning from a refuel and wasn’t even really back in the area yet… I’m not sure what sense that would make at this moment.

        Again… the KEY takeaway there is that THIS transmission was definitely Burfiend and it was definitely on the Air-To-Ground channel… so that means this Panebaker video WAS capturing ‘Air-To-Ground’ transmissions…

        …but there is still nothing in the capture with anyone ever coming onto the A2G channel and saying anything resembling “That’s exactly what we want”.

        This capture ENDS exactly at 1637… so if anyone said something like that circa 1637 over A2G channel… then it must have happened AFTER 1637.

        Unfortunately… there is no Panebaker or Moore Air Study video that then goes on to capture the A2G traffic in the 1637 to 1639 timeframe.

        The only NEXT ‘capture’ ( in the public record, anyway ) of the A2G channel after this Panebaker video is the Helmet-Cam video itself… which starts just prior to 1639 and begins with Burfiend on A2G talking to ?? someone ?? about how it’s going to be hard for them to hit some target being discussed because of the ‘smoke’. A moment later we hear Steed’s first “We are in front of the flaming front” MAYDAY transmit.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Followup…

          The real ‘mysterious’ transmit in this video is the
          following one…

          +0:25 ( 1636.46 / 4:36.46 PM )
          (Unknown): You’re all clued in. No need to act… just write it down on a piece a paper.

          I wonder what THAT was all about?

          WHO was now ‘clued in’… about WHAT?… and why was it something that ‘required no action’… just ‘write it down’?

          We are only 120 seconds away from Steed’s first MAYDAY when this (strange?) transmit took place.

    • Sitta says

      Here’s a transcript of what I’m hearing in that video:

      Panebaker 1637

      VOICE 1 0:05 five-oh-eleven […sh…?] at helibase, in the green circle here.

      VOICE 2 Okay, copy that. Are you going to drop your bucket and have to lift back somewhere else?

      VOICE 1 Yeah, I’ll have to drop the bucket, then I’ll head [over to …?]

      VOICE 2 0:18 Oh, okay, gotcha. Okay. Give me a call, uh, when you’re ready to lift.

      VOICE 1 0:20 Will do.

      […]

      VOICE ? […] [clued in?] [wanted?] at […]

      VOICE 2? 0:29 Affirm.

      VOICE 2 0:34 And I’ve got a project for you.

      VOICE ? 0:36 [What are you? You’re at?]

      VOICE 3 0:37 [what’s going on?] back there?

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Sitta… Thank you!

        The only reason I might be hearing a little ‘more’ than you
        have is that even though this particular video didn’t need
        any ‘audio forensics’ or ‘noise filtering’… I STILL found that
        I needed to really BOOST THE GAIN on the audio to have
        a chance at hearing some of the background.

        Does whatever you are using to ‘listen’ to the videos
        have that ‘GAIN BOOST’ capability?

        • Elizabeth says

          “Audio forensics” INCLUDES boosting the gain, WTKTT. When you BOOST the gain, you distort the audio. Sorry if I was not clear on that with you earlier.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            ( Heavy sigh )

            Time to remember our Mark Twain again…

            “It’s not what (he/she) doesn’t know that
            bothers me… it’s what (he/she) knows fer
            sure that just ain’t so.”

            *and*

            “We are ALL ignorant… just about
            different things.”

            • Elizabeth says

              Heavy sigh right back atcha, kiddo! 🙂 Audio forensics – it is not just for the Zimmerman trial any more!

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                Elizabeth… fer cryin’ out loud.
                The ‘gain boost’ I am talking about
                does NOT ( in ANY way ) ‘distort
                the audio’.

                You have no idea what you are even talking about.

                • Elizabeth says

                  WTKTT – it absolutely CAN distort the audio! If you doubt me, the actual Audacity disclosures make this clear. If in doubt, READ the relevant info. If you have something that suggests otherwise, “post your sources.” (Tongue in cheek, obviously.)

                  • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                    Reply to
                    Elizabeth post
                    on May 17,
                    2014 at 11:59
                    ____________
                    WTKTT – it absolutely CAN distort the audio!
                    _____________

                    Oh… so NOW you are backing
                    off your carte-blanche “When you BOOST the gain, it distorts the audio” statement and have arrived at simply the ‘possibility’ that can happen.
                    .
                    Good for you.
                    You’re learning.

                    Yes. If you boost the gain some RIDICULOUS amount and your speakers or headphones are now shaking and your eardrums are getting blown out… or if you exceed the SOFTWARE limits as to ‘maximum volume’ allowed for a track… most software ( including Audacity ) has a ‘safety catch’ where it will then start applying ‘clipping’ to the waveform in order to not destroy your equipment.

                    What I said above was ‘the kind of gain boost I am talking about does NOT ( in ANY way ) distort that audio.

                    That is simply a TRUE statement.

                    Incremental boosts of +3db do NOT cause any loss of the waveform and no DISTORTION is taking place… and certainly nothing that would cause anything that anyone might be SAYING to be changed in any way.
                    _____________
                    If in doubt, READ the relevant info.
                    _____________

                    I have.
                    I wish YOU would do the same.
                    _____________
                    If you have something that suggests otherwise, “post your sources.” (Tongue in cheek, obviously.)
                    _____________

                    Okay.

                    From Audacity’s own user manual…

                    ****************
                    The top slider is the gain control – it affects the relative volume of the track. By default it only lets you select multiples of 3 dB, but if you hold down shift you can choose any level. Be careful not to set it too high, or you can exceed the maximum volume of a track, which results in clipping.
                    ****************

                    By the way… the ‘too high’ being referred to would probably be blowing out your ear drums even before the ‘safety catch’ clipping starts to kick in.

                    Don’t do that.

                    Just use low increments and all the GAIN boost does it make it EASIER to hear what is being said.

        • Sitta says

          WTKTT,

          I’ve got Audacity (such a sweet program), and can boost the gain in general and specifically boost the 200-400 Hz range. While it tends to lower interference, I still have the same issues on the brain side of the ear (alas!), and don’t seem to parse the language any better. I’ll give it another try, though.

          I think you were spot on about the “Wickenberg to fuel” part. I don’t hear “no need to act” or “write it down on a piece of paper.”

          It would be interesting to know if EP still has access to the original files, and how they differ from what we have.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Sitta… yes… the (free) Audacity software is amazing. I have sound software here that costs thousands and thousands of dollars… but I still use Audacity for most things.

            It is even BETTER at some things than anything money can (currently) buy.

            Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with ‘Audacity’ or any of its software products. I am just a ‘user’.

            My only other advice to try and ‘hear’ things that are ‘hard to hear’ is to simply set yourself up a ‘loop’ on that specific phrase… and then let it play over and over and over and over.

            It’s boring as hell… but it works.

  14. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** Reply to Bob Powers post on May 11, 2014 at 7:49 am

    >> Mr. Powers wrote…
    >> When Fires Like this in WUI start running at structures the first thing
    >> is to thro Air Tankers at the Fire.
    >> The problem most times they don’t do any good except make
    >> everybody feel like they at least did something.
    >> It looks good to the public at least some one is doing something.

    There is no doubt ( and we can now hear it for ourselves ) that the Air Support in Yarnell that day knew that most of the drops they were making weren’t doing much good and that it was just like (quote) “spittin’ at it”.

    Just like ‘Hotshots’ ( and any FFs building line ) know about the ‘hauling chart’ which says that if flame-lengths are more than about three and one-hal feet they are basically ‘out of it’ and ‘wasting their time’… the AIR people know full well what their own ‘limitations’ are and when THEY are also, basically ‘out of it’.

    But… that being said…

    If you look at the AFTERMATH photos ( mostly the aerial ones ) following Sunday, June 30, 2013… there is also no doubt that in SOME places… that line of red stuff on the ground IS what ‘stopped’ or ‘diverted’ the fireline near some pretty critical areas of the town.

    So I guess it’s really like that old adage that is often attributed to someone in the advertising industry…

    “Half of what we do doesn’t do a damn bit of good.
    The problem is knowing WHICH half.”

    >> Mr. Powers also said…
    >> Helicopters – When Fixed wing plains are on a fire Helicopter pilots
    >> Monitor there Freq. And stay out of the way. They fly lower and are
    >> assigned to specific areas. They maintain contact Air to Air.
    >> That is why I said the 1 Helicopter flying that is mentioned may have
    >> had an overhead in it that could have made the comment, and could
    >> have over keyed Marsh DIV A call.

    Since I don’t believe we have even near fully wrapped up the ‘discussion’ about whether the 1637 “That’s what we want!” transmission ever happened at all… or that if it did… whether it really was DIVSA Eric Marsh saying it…

    …then this is a very important point.

    It’s pretty much a given that there WAS no YHF fire overhead ‘in the air’ at the time this (supposed) 1637 transmission took place… but it really doesn’t matter if there was any ‘fire command’ in a chopper, or not.

    Any chopper pilot could have made that transmission… and we KNOW there were at least TWO in the air right there around Yarnell at both 1633, when that ‘spot-on’ SEAT drop happened… and in the 1637 to 1639 timeframe when Steed’s first MADAY appeared. We can even HEAR these 2 choppers flying overhead in the Helmet-Cam video itself.

    The recent ‘sidetrack’ of proving that Tom Story’s Canon EOS 1D was 36 minutes and 7 seconds BEHIND the REAL time that day is actually related to this 1637 transmission discussion… which is why it was good to ‘sidetrack’ and take care of that. Tom Story’s 7093 photos series seemed to show a VLAT drop at exactly 1639… the moment of Steed’s first MAYDAY. It was worth it to go off and verify that for no other reason than to prove that that is NOT the case… and that we CAN trust the Air-To-Air traffic completely for figuring out what Bravo 33 was REALLY doing in the 1637-1639 timeframe.

    In the course of basically re-viewing and re-listening to EVERY Panebaker Air-Study video in order to nail down that Tom Story camera time offset… I happened to HEAR some things I hadn’t really heard before regarding HELICOPTERS and RETARDANT DROPS.

    If you listen to all of the Panebaker Air Study videos… it is *NOT* unusual at all to hear someone in a helicopter ‘commenting’ on a retardant drop right after it happens.

    You actually DO hear a lot of ‘unsolicited’ comments ( over Air-To-Ground channel ) such as “Spot-on!” or “Right on target!” or even one lengthy response from a chopper pilot after one of the VLAT drops on the NORTH end where he jumps in on Air-To-Ground right afterwards and says something like…

    “This is 5Q Alpha in the hotbird’s seat with a front row view… and that was right on the money! Nice work!.”

    So YES… it is actually MORE than likely that when Burfiend thought he heard DIVSA say “That’s exactly what we want”… that really just might have been one of the chopper pilots already in the air down there jumping in on Air-To-Ground and ‘confirming’ the ‘goodness’ of that spot-on 1633 SEAT drop.

    So something like “That’s exactly what we want!” probably WAS actually said on the Air-To-Ground channel ( by SOMEONE who saw the spot-on 1633 SEAT drop )… but Burfiend was simply mis-remembering ( during his SAIT interview ) who said that around that time.

    No definite PROOF ( yet )… but we’re getting closer.

    I’d still love to know what Clint Clauson ( the THIRD guy onboard that Bravo 33 plane that afternoon ) actually thinks he did ( or didn’t ) hear.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Followup… forgot to mention something…

      While it is NOT unusual at ALL to hear these chopper pilots ‘commenting’ on a retardant drop… the KEY seems to always be that these ‘unsolicited’ verifying-goodness comments ONLY come AFTER a REAL DROP.

      In other words… if you listen carefully to all of these sorts of ‘unsolicted’ verifying-goodness comments from the chopper pilots in the Panebaker videos… they NEVER comment on a ‘show me’ or on a ‘line up’ drop…

      …and there’s a GOOD reason for that.

      These guys are flying ‘show me’ and ‘go-around’ and ‘line-up’ flights basically ALL the time… and unless you are totally GLUED to the Air-To-Air channel yourself then you really can’t ever be sure when they are actually going to DROP… or NOT.

      So the ONLY thing that warrants an unsolicited “That was spot-on!” or “That’s exactly what we want!” comment is when you have actually just SEEN them drop… and you are verifying the ‘goodness’ of that location for even MORE drops.

      So that, I think, is even more ‘indirect’ proof that Marsh would NOT have just jumped onto the radio and come out of nowhere with an unsolicited “That’s exactly what we want!” transmission JUST because he *might* have accidentally saw ANYONE doing a ‘show me’ or a ‘practice run’.

      Those kind of ‘unsolicited’ comments over Air-To-Ground usually ONLY happen AFTER a REAL DROP… and are simply meant to encourage ‘more of the same’ at that location.

      So ( perhaps? ) just one more reason why if anyone really did say “That’s exactly what we want!” over the Air-To-Ground channel in the 1634 to 1637 timeframe… it really was just a ‘confirming goodness’ comment regarding the spot-on 1633 SEAT drop right there on the outskirts of Yarnell ( which Marsh himself could NOT have seen due to the smoke cloud between him and Yarnell in that timeframe ).

      • Bob Powers says

        WTKTT I think you are right on with the above.
        Also if the Helicopters were dropping water in the same area trying to hold the fire down, then they definitely would have commented on the tanker drop helping them out at a critical location.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          The reason I keep referring to the 1633 SEAT drop there right on the outskirts of Yarnell is because that, in fact, seems to be exactly what everyone who saw it seemed to think. Burfiend and French seemed to think so and said so in their SAIT interview.

          The drop went ‘right between the ‘fire’ and a ‘home’… which at THAT point is time is what was *really* needed.

          This ‘cut’ from Bravo 33’s SAIT interview seems to be describing that exact drop… and the fact that it was just after this 1633 drop when Burfiend then turned his attention to Kevin in the DC10 VLAT and told him to ‘come on in now’ ( circa 1636 )…

          __________________________________________
          We decided we were going to go here (pointed to Div Z) and go direct. Took the single SEAT. Brand new pilot (830) went right between spot and the home. We brought the DC10 in…
          ___________________________________________

          Sidenote: They obviously had MAPS at these SAIT interviews and there are several references in the interviews where people are said to have been ‘pointing at the map’.

          It SURE would have been nice if copies of that maps ( with notations of where people were pointing ) were included in the SAIT FOIA/FOIL releases…

          …but they weren’t.

          If these ‘Interview notated maps’ even exist… then they are just even more documents that Arizona Forestry either just neglected to include in the FOIA/FOIL requests… or they ( for some reason ) decided to specifically ‘withhold’ them.

          The ADOSH investigation did the RIGHT thing.
          They had fresh copies of ‘maps’ at each and every interview and they were freely letting the interviewees ‘mark them up’ during their interviews to make locations and movements more clear…

          …and ADOSH did INCLUDE those ‘interviewee notated maps’ in their FOIA/FOIL release(s).

          You can listen ( or read ) along with the interviewee AND see the exact notes they were making DURING the interview on real maps.

          I’d still love to know exactly WHERE Burfiend was pointing when his own SAIT interview notes say he was ‘pointing at a spot in Division Z’ and said “We went HERE”.

          Where is HERE?

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Whoops. I left the phrase “as SPOT-ON” out of the first paragraph above, which was really intended to be the whole point of the statement.

            Here is how paragraph 1 above SHOULD have read…

            “The reason I keep referring to the 1633 SEAT drop there right on the outskirts of Yarnell as SPOT-ON is because that, in fact, seems to be exactly what everyone who saw it seemed to think. Burfiend and French seemed to think so and said so in their SAIT interview.”

      • Marti Reed says

        Glad you caught that. TBH I haven’t had much of a chance to even look at the Panebakers. And I’ve definitely been wondering how the helicopters communicated and with whom.

        When I read the Interagency Fire Aviation Manual, it said there was supposed to be a “Helico,” a Helitanker Coordinator, somehow in communication with both Air Attack and Incident Command.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Correction for the above post.

      The 20130630_162300_SEAT_drop_EP video that is now known
      to be BOGUS is just ONE of the Panebaker Air study videos that
      ‘precedes’ the 163700 one. It does not IMMEDIATELY precede it.

      There are actually TWO others that come in-between 162300
      and 163700… and they both appear to be exactly what they
      say they are.

      These are the actual ( Eric ) Panebaker Air Study videos
      that cover the crucial 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM timeframe that day…

      20130630_161858_VLAT_split_2_EP
      20130630_162300_SEAT_drop_EP **** This is the BOGUS one
      20130630_162508_2SEATS_EP
      20130630_163338_fire_behavior_EP
      20130630_163700_fire_behavior_EP
      20130630_164544_fire_behavior_EP
      20130630_170634_VLAT_EP

      NOTE: The 20130630_161858_VLAT_split_2_EP video that precedes the one that is now know to be BOGUS is the one that captured the 4:16 PM “Granite Mountain… what’s your status right now?” query from from someone in fire command and Eric Marsh’s response about Granite Mountain “makin’ their way out the same escape route from this morning” and Marsh’s “just checkin’ it out to see where we gonna jump out at” transmission.

      ALSO NOTE: The ‘EP’ initials in these Air Study video filenames all stand for ‘Eric Panebaker’.

      If the 20130630_162300_SEAT_drop_EP video ( as released by the SAIT in response to FOIA/FOIL requests ) does NOT contain the same content as the original… then HE would certainly know.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Yikes… this ‘correction for the above post’ was NOT meant for this thread and somehow posted TWICE.

        Once up above with the ‘thread’ it belongs to and again down here where it didn’t belong.

        I think maybe this ‘Chapter 6’ is starting to cause WordPress
        to suffer brain damage… as is know to happen when the
        content gets very large.

        I think it’s time for a new ‘Chapter 7’.

  15. mike says

    The Az Republic ran another piece on the Yarnell evacuations yesterday. Turns out only 1 in 8 persons received an automated call, and most of those involved no human-to-human contact, i.e. just left a message. Also the article says there was a 21 minute delay in sending out the notifications (I am assuming from the time the decision was made sometime after 3:30). May account for why people said they were notified around 4:08. Also there was no one hour notice, just “get out now”. In a disaster nothing ever works as it supposed to, but the evacuations that day seemed particularly bad. I still wonder the extent to which the flawed evacuations that day affected firefighting decisions in the time after 3:30.

    • Marti Reed says

      I can imagine it might have had something to do with Abel, Cordes, et al, not paying enough attention to what Granite Mountain was doing until it was too late……

      • mike says

        Maybe their attention was diverted. But I was asking more in how it might have affected tactical decisions.

        One thing struck me recently. GM was aware of the evacuations situation. When the fire started running at Yarnell, I believe it was Scott Norris who texted “the fire is running right at Yarnell”. Yet I also think it was he (I’m pretty sure, maybe it was someone else) who texted “and the evacuations have just started”. Maybe it was a throwaway comment, not something they were making decisions based on. But it shows, that even for an experienced crew member, it was on their minds.

        The evacuation situation should not have impacted safety considerations. But human nature being what it is, I wonder if it colored the way people looked at risk that afternoon.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Actually… it was Wade Parker’s final text message sent to his mother with a network timestamp of 4:04 PM that had those references in it.

          Wade’s complete text message was…

          “This thing is running straight for yarnel. jus starting to evac. you can see fire on the left town on right. DO NOT POST THIS ON FACEBOOK OR ANY OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA DEAL!!!!”

          There was some discussion, early on ( even on this forum ) about what Wade really meant when he said “jus starting to evac”.

          The discussion(s) were addressing the possibility that Wade’s statement could be taken one of two ways…

          1) He was telling his mother that HE ( and the other Granite Mountain fellas ) were ‘just starting’ THEIR ‘evacuation’ of their position. As in… just now leaving the safe black.

          2) He was telling his mother that YARNELL was only now starting to evacuate.

          I believe the consensus back then was that Wade probably meant number 2… mostly because the people with WFF experience were in agreement that Parker probably wouldn’t even use the word ‘evacuation’ to describe their OWN movements or ‘relocation’ efforts.

          So if it really was number 2 above… then YES… that is full proof that even the line crew up there ( and not just management like Marsh/Steed ) were fully aware that ‘get out now’ evacuations had been ordered down there in town… but they were also NOT aware that they had been ‘ordered’ by SPGS1 Gary Cordes some 24 mnutes BEFORE that… at 1540.

          With regard to how this ‘knowledge’ affected their own decision making… I’m SURE it had SOMETHING to do with either of the following…

          1) Management putting pressure on them to get to town as fast as they could ( Sic: Someone in management appears to actually be telling them to HURRY in the YARNELL-GAMBLE video ).

          2) If there was no management pressure at all… then it still probably made them ‘rethink’ their already stated plan to remain in the safe black. They ( Steed and/or Marsh ) just didn’t want to accept the fact that they were ‘out of the game’ and weren’t going to be able to be ‘where the action was’… and this urge on their part made them totally forget that their PRIMARY responsibility was the *SAFETY* of ALL of the employees in their charge.

          SIDENOTE: A lot has been discussed about what GOOD anyone might have even thought 19 guys with hand tools and no actual structural firefighting equipment could have even been able to do that day… or what their ‘assignment’ might have been even if they made it down there.

          It is perfectly possible that even if management requested them to ‘come down’… that no one really had anything specific in mind for them to do at all… at least not at the time the request was made.

          Management might have just ‘wanted them to be there’ and was going to figure out what to do with them AFTER they arrived.

          This would actually match OPS1 Todd Abel’s thinking with regards to Type 1 Hotshots.

          In his ADOSH interview… the ADOSH investigators went over the situation with the Blue Ridge Hotshots with OPS1 Todd Abel and how they just bounced around most of the morning with nothing to do and only being told to ‘stage’ at 3 different places before anyone even gave them any kind of ‘assignment’.

          Todd Abel’s OWN explanation for all of that was that he was ‘busy’ that morning… but knew that he just wanted to have a Type 1 Hotshot crew in (quote) “My back pocket in case I needed them”.

          Actual (full) quote from Abel about this in his ADOSH interview was…
          __________________________________________
          So we went down there, uh, after the briefing ran into, um, Blue Ridge out there, um, and they said hey, what would you like us to do? I said hey, why don’t you guys go stage at the school. I’m not sure exactly where I wanna put you guys yet. But I wanted that hotshot crew in my back pocket.
          __________________________________________

          Granted… that was ‘start of work day’, pretty much, and Abel really *was* ‘very busy’ at that point. It then took Abel almost an HOUR to get all the various engines and crews that were showing up assigned to various places.

          However… I’m sure the ‘evacuation cycle’ was just as busy ( and confusing ) when it hit later on… and there might have been no other reason for asking GM to ‘come down’ ( and to HURRY ) than the same sort of “I just wanted Hotshots in my back pocket” mentality.

          I would really hate to think that that is the reason why 19 good men died… just because someone wanted them ‘in their back pocket’ but would have ended up just letting them stand around in a parking lot like they did with the OTHER Type 1 Hotshot crew that was ALREADY THERE… .and totally available.

        • Elizabeth says

          Mike, I absolutely believe that it does. Absolutely. 100%.
          (I made a comment on IM long ago about this point and about the demographics of Yarnell/Glen Ilah, and, not surprisingly, I took a fair amount of pushback. It is clear from at least one ADOSH interview that leaps readily to mind that Dave Larson (or someone…) was on the same wavelength, for whatever that is worth. I’m not suggesting the GM guys SHOULD have tried to go to the BSR or wherever, but I am saying that they strike me as a bunch of men who were likely to want to try (if safely possible) help a vulnerable population. Human nature is what it is, and a lot of guys become wildfire professionals because they CARE.)

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Elizabeth… I don’t think there is any question in the world that these were men who were ‘likely to try’ to help people. The pay wasn’t good enough to stick with that kind of work for any other reason…

            …but ( as I think we have seen )… it is, in fact, possible to care TOO MUCH… if those urges make you forget the rules of your profession and take unnecessary risks with the very LIVES of the employees you are responsible for.

            This applies to MANY professions… and not just firefighting.

            Yes… they CARED.

            But why did TWO of those men care SO much that they forgot the ‘rules’ of their profession *AND* what their PRIMARY responsibilities were… and it ended up
            killing all 19?

            This is the primary question that still remains to be answered.

            • Elizabeth says

              Mike made a point or posed a query, and I agreed with his point/query.
              That was the only purpose of my post.

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                …and I was agreeing with *both* of you. They CARED. A LOT…

                …but that still doesn’t (fully) explain what happened in Yarnell on June 30, 2013.

          • mike says

            The Republic, which I gather takes a fair amount of grief at times, continues to write on this story. This is at least the second significant piece they have done on the evacuations, both well after the incident. They have never tried to link the evacuations to the deaths of the GMHS, but I do think the delayed evacuation impacted some decision-making.

            The Yavapai sheriff’s office basically said the evacuations were not perfect, but were good enough as no residents died or were seriously injured. I have a lot of problems with that thinking. First of all, there were near misses with residents. Second, I think some firefighters were left too long at the head of the fire west of town and there were apparently near misses there too. I think there was some reluctance to pull them out because they were trying to buy time. And finally, we may never know for sure the degree to which knowledge of the tardy evacuations impacted Granite Mountain’s actions. Maybe it played no role, but they knew of it and then they did something inexplicable. The questions about what could they have done, about what actions they thought they could do, are good ones. Maybe though they just felt the need to be “available”, to help if needed. Yes, they needed to say put, but am trying to fathom their thought process.

            Anyways, those in charge of evacuations should not conclude the process was “adequate”, just because no residents were killed or injured.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Reply to mike post on
              May 12, 2014 at 10:04 pm

              >> mike said…
              >> The Republic, which I gather
              >> takes a fair amount of grief at
              >> times, continues to write on
              >> this story.

              As well they should ( continue to write about this historic, tragic incident ).

              >> mike also said…
              >> They have never tried to link the
              >> evacuations to the deaths of the
              >> GMHS, but I do think the delayed
              >> evacuation impacted some
              >> decision-making.

              Of course it did.

              Suddenly… EVERYTHING was an EMERGENCY.

              That affects EVERYONE involved *and* their decision making.

              It ( the total chaos which created this sense of total EMERGENCY in a very short span of time ) could have been AVOIDED. No question.

              The moment that thing marched right through that heavy retardant line like it wasn’t even THERE ( hundreds of yards north of even Cordes’ FIRST trigger point )… it didn’t take a genius to figure out there wasn’t much that was going to stop it. The Big Dog was going to just EAT. Get everyone OUT OF THE WAY. Like RIGHT NOW.

              >> mike also said…
              >> The questions about what could
              >> they have done, about what
              >> actions they thought they could
              >> do, are good ones. Maybe though
              >> they just felt the need to be
              >> “available”, to help if needed.

              Yes. Maybe having some Type 1 Hotshots in Yarnell in/around the time the ONLY thing to be doing was a total evacuation *might* have helped… and maybe that *was* what they were ‘thinking’…

              …but just ONE quick call on the radio to discover that there were ALREADY 20 Elite Type 1 Hotshots right there ‘in the middle of the action’… with NO ONE giving them *ANY* assignment(s) whatsoever would have answered that question in their minds… toot-sweet.

              That radio call never happened.
              IMHO… It should have.

              Even if they were half-way there… if they had discovered there wasn’t anything they were even going to be ALLOWED to do if they got all the way there ( just like Blue Ridge wasn’t being allowed to do anything at that time but *be safe* )… they could have TURNED BACK. There would still have been TIME to do that.

              >> mike also said…
              >> Anyways, those in charge of
              >> evacuations should not conclude
              >> the process was “adequate”, just
              >> because no residents were killed
              >> or injured.

              No, they most certainly should NOT.

              That’s just more ‘establishment of normalcy’ and ‘prior bad decisions with good outcomes’ crap.

              Own it. Learn from it.

              Find out what OTHER small Arizona towns don’t have a working siren at the fire station because the rats have chewed through the wires….

              …then FIX it. ASAP.

              Find out what OTHER small Arizona towns have never done a ‘reverse 911’ test to see if it is even going to work when the time comes…

              …and do a TEST.

              See if it IS going to work.

              This is NOT rocket science.

              ** Regarding INJURIES…

              There has ALWAYS been confusion and mis-reporting about that.

              The LA Times and USA Today BOTH initially reported that in addition to the 19 fatalities… 22 other ‘firefighters and civilians’ were injured that afternoon.

              Their own articles even stated that some of the ‘injured’ had to be flown to burn units because the nearby Congress hospital couldn’t handle them.

              2 days later… the AP press was then reporting that there were NO serious injuries other than the 19 fatalities.

              To this day, however, the Wikipedia page for the Yarnell Hill Fill is still ‘sticking to the story’ that there were MANY ‘others’ injured that day and they upped the number to 23.

              The current ( active ) Wikipedia Page for the Yarnell Hill Fire is basically an absolute JOKE… but this is what their very OFFICIAL looking ‘information box’ about the Yarnell Hill Fire has said from day one and it has NEVER been ‘corrected’ by anyone…

              Wikipedia
              The Yarnell Hill Fire
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yarnell_Hill_Fire
              ______________________________
              Location: Yarnell, Yavapai County, Arizona, U.S.
              Coord: 34°14′54″N, 112°45′29″W
              Date(s): June 28, 2013 – July 10, 2013
              Burned area: 8,400 acres
              Ignition source: Lightning
              Land use: Mixed (residential/wildlands)
              Buildings destroyed: 129
              Fatalities: 19
              Injuries (non-fatal): 23
              ______________________________

              There are also (apparently) claims of ‘personal injuries’ in MANY of the 100+ claims that have been filed by property owners… but no one has done an actual ‘tally’ on that number.

              Gary Cordes himself ( according to his own ADOSH interview ) was putting people into the backs of ambulances that afternoon… but there was no good followup on any of that, either.

              So whether there *really* were any ‘injuries’ other than the 19 fatalities still remains a bit a mystery… but what else is new when it comes to YHF.

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                Followup 1

                ** ARTICLE CLAIMS 22
                ** INJURED IN YARNELL

                Arizona: 19 Firefighter’s Dead and 22 Injured Battling the Yarnell Hill Fire
                http://guardianlv.com/2013/06/arizona-19-firefighters-dead-and-22-injured-battling-the-yarnell-hill-fire/

                From the article…
                ________________________
                Eight of the 22 firefighters injured were taken to Wickenburg Community Hospital, some were airlifted to a burn unit in Pheonix, and others were transported to Yavapai Regional Medical Center, Glover said. The 19 firefighters who perished were part of the Granite Mountain Hot Shot Crew.
                _________________________

                This article lists ( and has links to ) what they say are their TWO sources for the article…

                The LA Times and
                USA Today.

                • Joy A. Collura says

                  Roxie Glover. Wow, have not seen that name for awhile. Fine woman. Amazing mother. Wow. I am looking at the link now:
                  http://guardianlv.com/2013/06/arizona-19-firefighters-dead-and-22-injured-battling-the-yarnell-hill-fire/
                  That photo is a picture of Bob Kramer’s place off highway 89 that the only thing that survived in his burnt fridge was a case of beer. You can see Bob on my photo area-
                  Who was injured in that fire?
                  Tex and I were just skimming and Joy saw Roxie’s name and that photo of Bob’s place and we are out hiking Zion country- God’s country for a bit and away from civilization but it was nice to see the forum going strong. Tex wondered has anyone looked into the ACTUAL DATE that restricted map was made for state land restriction for that area that is currently restricted (340 acres) beyond the Helm’s spot. Anyone know how to find that out? That lady in the red cross showed us a map that matched the map we got in an email mid July 2013. It is not being looked into much but we are wondering as time went by that Tex (Sonny) awoke at 3am this morning thinking of the 19 and that map and other areas. Has anyone new come out on photos/videos locally to help? I guess I will know when I keep skimming. Short on time. Skim for 10 minutes then off I have to go- Hope all you are well.
                  ~Joy A. Collura

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                Followup 2…

                The original LA Times article…

                19 firefighters die in
                Arizona wildfire
                June 30, 2013 – By Matt Pearce and Cindy Carcamo

                http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jun/30/nation/la-na-nn-arizona-firefighters-dead-20130630

                From the article…
                ________________________
                Roxie Glover, a spokeswoman for Wickenburg Community Hospital, said officials had told her to expect injured firefighters — but then she was told they weren’t coming.
                “It became clear that the firefighters had been deceased,” Glover told The LA Times. “We were told that we were not getting firefighters.”

                Glover said officials told her that the 19 firefighters who had perished were part of the Granite Mountain Hot Shot Crew.

                At least two (other) firefighters were evacuated by helicopter to a burn center in Phoenix, she said.

                Glover said homeowners had flooded into the hospital, suffering from smoke inhalation and shock after losing their homes.
                ________________________

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                Followup 3…

                The original USA Today article

                USA Today
                Article: 19 firefighters killed battling Arizona blaze

                http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/06/30/fire-in-arizona-prompts-evacuation-of-120-homes/2477469/

                From the article…
                ________________________
                Wickenburg Community Hospital is expecting to treat about eight firefighters who were among about 22 injured battling the fast-moving, 2,000-acre Yarnell Hill Fire that has burned through have the town, officials said Sunday evening.

                The spokeswoman for Wickenburg hospital, Roxie Glover, said there are reports of as many as 22 firefighters being injured. About eight from that group were headed to the Wickenberg facility, some were being air lifted to a Phoenix burn unit and others were being transported to Yavapai Regional Medical Center, Glover said.

                Jim Tavary, CEO of Wickenburg hospital, said his facility was put on alert to expect several injured firefighters but did not know their conditions or the extent of their injuries.

                “We are setting up an incident command,” Tavary said.

                Homes have burned and hospitals have reported injuries from the blaze that had reached Yarnell.
                _________________________

                • Bob Powers says

                  And the SAIT and some others still think the Type II team did a good job. When a Cluster F*** starts it just acts like a rolling snow ball it gets bigger and bigger.
                  Poor planning, poor Safety and poor execution total lack of situation awareness.
                  Also why would any one think they could through a crew at the head of a running fire and do any thing? That includes Marsh and GM. Why would they think they could do something that no other Hand Crew has ever been able to do.
                  For all of you who have never fought fire….Direct attack starts by flanking the fire not taking it head on and pinching the head off. The running fire that afternoon was just plain get out of the way. To much fire and no place to make a stand, or no defensible space to protect structures. Evidenced by Fire Fighters Injuries (burns).

  16. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    ** TOM STORY’S CANON EOS 1D CAMERA WAS
    ** 36 MINUTES AND 7 SECONDS BEHIND THE
    ** REAL TIME ON JUNE 30, 2013.

    Tom Story’s ‘Canon EOS 1D Mark II N’ camera had an incorrect time setting on June 30, 2013 that was always 36 minutes and 7 seconds BEHIND the REAL time.

    The proof of this comes from comparing the following two images of the same VLAT drop ( One that Tom Story took and one that Panebaker took ) which took place circa 1715.28 on the NORTH side of the fire, along Hays Ranch Road in Peeples Valley.

    Tom Story’s 201303_Yarnell_Hill_7093
    *and*
    Panebaker’s 20130630_171528-1_EP

    BOTH of these photos show the same exact VLAT drop and were taken no more than 1 second apart, so the *known* correct timestamp on the Panebaker photo can simply be applied to the Tom Story photo, and used to compute the ‘time offset’ for Story’s ‘Canon EOS 1D’ that day.

    Here is a VIDEO CROSSFADE between these two photos which PROVES that they are of the same VLAT drop and taken within 1 second of each other…

    Youtube Video Title: Tom-Story-7093

    Direct link to this VIDEO…
    http://youtu.be/QixH_erZ5cc

    YouTube About Information
    _________________________________________________________________
    This is a video crossfade between the following two photographs…

    Tom Story’s 201303_Yarnell_Hill_7093 *and*
    Panebaker’s 20130630_171528-1_EP

    They are BOTH still photos of the same DC10 VLAT drop that took place circa 1715.27 ( 5:15.27 PM ) up on the NORTH side of the fire along Hays Ranch Road in Peeples Valley.

    Tom Story shot his photo with a ‘Canon EOS 1D Mark II N’ camera with a 300mm f/2.8L Lens attached.

    Panebaker shot his photo with a ‘Canon EOS REBEL T3i’ camera with a 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens attached.

    The TIME on Tom Story’s ‘Canon EOS 1D’ was set incorrectly that day and it put an EXIF metadata timestamp on his 7093 photo of 4:39.21 PM. The actual time it was taken ( based on this comparison with the correctly-timestamped Panebaker photo ) is 5:15.28 PM.

    That means that Story’s ‘Canon EOS 1D’ was always 36 minutes and 7 seconds BEHIND the REAL time on June 30, 2013.

    The absolute proof that these are two photos of the same VLAT drop is really in the SMOKE cloud on the left side of both photos. It remains absolutely identical during the ‘crossfade’ between the two photos.
    __________________________________________________________________

    ** MORE DETAIL…

    Panebaker wasn’t just shooting videos that day.

    Every time there was a VLAT drop… Panebaker also used his ‘Canon EOS REBEL T3i’ digital camera to shoot the drops ( these are all the ‘shutter clicks’ being heard in the Panebaker VIDEOS.

    Those photos are in the online Dropbox in this folder…

    Photos and Video / AerialFirefightingstudy / Panebaker / Photo / VLAT Drops

    ONE of Panebaker’s photos of that 5:15.27 PM VLAT drop on the NORTH side of the fire is an almost perfect match for Tom Story’s 7093 photo.

    Filename: 20130630_171528-1_EP

    EXIF metadata for this Panebaker still image…

    Camera: Canon EOS REBEL T3i
    Lens: Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
    Lens 2: Shot at 85 mm
    Exposure: Auto exposure, Program AE, 1/128 sec, f/5.6, ISO 320
    Flash: Off, Did not fire
    Focus: AI Servo AF, with a depth of field of from 59.7 m to 15.84 m.
    Focus 2: AF Area Mode: Multi-point AF or AI AF
    Date: June 30, 2013 – 5:15:27 PM
    File: 3,456 × 5,184 JPEG (17.9 megapixels)

    The EXIF timestamp of 5:15.27 PM ( 1715.27 ) matches the filename title of 171528 ( filename title is 1 second ahead of EXIF timestamp ).

    Tom Story took 3 photos of this same moment of the same drop with his Canon EOS 1D.

    All THREE have the same exact timestamp so he must have had his ‘auto-shutter’ motor on, leaned on the shutter button, and just took three photos as fast as the camera would take them.

    NOTE: The 4:39.21 timestamps are according to HIS Canon EOS 1D but that is the issue. We know these timestamps are not correct. The KEY was finding out what the real ‘time offset’ was that day.

    NOTE: His Canon EOS 1D was not ‘stuck’ on 4:39.21. His photos of the rest of this VLAT drop are stamped with the correct incremental seconds values like 4:39.22 and 4:39.23, etc. He really did take these 3 photos all in the same ‘second’ at 4:39.21.

    201303_Yarnell_Hill_7093 – 4:39:21
    201303_Yarnell_Hill_7094 – 4:39:21
    201303_Yarnell_Hill_7095 – 4:39.21

    The FIRST one ( 7093 ) is the best ‘exact match’ for the same photo in the Panebaker Air Study Video ‘Photos’ folder.

    In-between the Panebaker and Tom Story photo, the DC10 has, in fact, advanced about 1 plane length.

    That means that while both of these photos were taken at almost the same moment… the Panebaker image was actually shot FIRST.

    Given the rate of movement as seen and timestamped in other photos/videos of this VLAT drop… I would say that only 1 second has elapsed between when Panebaker pressed his shutter button and then Tom Story pressed his.

    So.. since the actual EXIF timestamp for this photo is 1715.27… that puts a REAL timestamp on Story’s 7093 photo of…

    1715.28 ( 5:15.28 PM ).

    The difference, then, between the ACTUAL time Tom Story’s 7093 photo was taken and the incorrect 4:39.21 PM that his Canon 1D ‘stamped’ it would be…

    +36 minutes and 7 seconds. ( 1715.28 minus 1639.21 ).

    BOTTOM LINE: This PROVES that there was NO VLAT DROP on the SOUTH side of the fire at 4:39 PM that day, which is what Tom Story’s photos seemed to suggest. That would have meant there was a DC10 VLAT drop taking place at the exact moment that Captain Jesse Steed was making his first MAYDAY call.

    That is why it was IMPORTANT to figure out WHY Tom Story’s photos might have been suggesting such a drop at that time.

    It didn’t happen.

    He ( Tom Story ) simply had the TIME set WRONG on his Canon EOS 1D.

    • Marti Reed says

      Heh! Thanks for doing this!!

      You sent me to the Google to do a little Canon 1D History!! Shows how much I pay attention to cameras that cost five times more than I can even contemplate affording!

      That is NOT a new camera!! The 1D Mark ii n came out in 2005!! It was about $4000 then. Google shows one on ebay today for $790.

      HOWEVER the 1D’s have always been considered the fastest cameras on the market. They’re the supreme sports photography cameras. It wasn’t STUCK on a second. It could shoot 8.5 frames per second. The current 1D Mark iv can shoot 10 frames per second. Tom’s 5D Mark ii’s can only shoot 4 frames per second. And the 1D is a 1.3 crop frame, a little smaller than full frame, which gives it more “reach.”
      That’s why when you watch the Olympics the 1D is what most of the photographers are using. So when Tom wanted a combination of speed and reach, that’s when he went for the relatively ancient but still awesome 1D.

      Actually Tom shot 21 frames of that whole drop. The first being at x:xx:18. The last being at x:xx:29. There are at least nine frames that he shot that he didn’t put into that folder.

      So now that means possibly having to go back to McCord’s VLAT-helicopter-almost-fiasco video and seeing if that possibly changes its timing (and thus the rest of his coolpix images). It might and it might not. And it may not matter in the general scheme of things.

      So, we have another mystery solved!

      Thanks!

      • Marti Reed says

        And PS. I’ve been using Canon Rebels since 2007. I currently use the t3i. It’s the most popular “non-professional” dslr on the planet. I have a three-day “how to shoot video with your dslr” class beginning today. So I may not be around too much.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Marti… sidenote…

        Have you seen the Tom Story photos that DO actually have some GPS information in them?… but that GPS data is totally screwed up?

        I find that very unusual. Usually these GPS chipsets in these devices either WORK… or they don’t.

        There is always a ‘startup time’ for GPS if you have just turned the device on and sometimes you won’t be getting truly ACCURATE GPS coordinates until you have acquired at least 4 or 5 of the LEO ( Low Earth Orbit ) satellites…

        …but Tom Story’s GPS capable device ( I have no idea what camera that really was ) just seems BROKEN.

        It’s also VERY unusual that, in the EXIF data for these GPS stamped photos of his, there is no CAMERA or DEVICE information whatsoever.

        Very unusual.

        Sometimes the CAMERA or DEVICE Model number or ID is one of the ONLY things a cheap camera will add as EXIF data… but I’ve never seen a device that is adding other sophisticated EXIF data ( like GPS )… but also seems to be REFUSING to add any actual CAMERA or DEVICE information.

        So it wasn’t a Canon…
        and it wasn’t an iPhone or an iPad.

        I have NO IDEA what camera he was using for those (incorrectly) stamped GPS photos.

        • Marti Reed says

          It was some kind of smartphone pic that he was posting to Instagram. I’m such a bozo re smartphones.

          But I’ve looked at LOTS of various smartphone pix from this fire, and the way they get tagged and time stamped is all over the boards. And we had a discussion way back when about how the geotagging etc could be easily way off. It takes awhile for that to set itself up.

          I’ve seen LOTS of smartphone geotagging from this fire that is also all over the boards. I haven’t come to expect any kind of accuracy on any of this stuff at all.

  17. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** MORE ON THE TOM STORY CANON EOS 1D PHOTO TIMESTAMPS
    ** AND THE (SUPPOSED) VLAT DROP AT 1639

    Reply to Marti Reed post on May 11, 2014 at 8:54 am said:

    >> Marti said…
    >> I had downloaded a smattering of photos from both folders, but
    >> just kinda randomly. Just downloaded a bunch more,
    >> more strategically. Looks like he photographed three VLAT drops.

    Yes, it does.

    >> Marti also said…
    >> I’m starting to think he set up that camera quickly, just setting the
    >> date, and not the time. Thus the stamp when first shot a frame on
    >> it would have been 00:00:00. I don’t know if I have the time to figure
    >> out what to synch on. But if I can pin one of those VLATs, it might
    >> be possible to nail it.
    >>
    >> That being said, I’m currently thinking that drop might be the 1707ish
    >> one. I just don’t know where he took it from. I don’t know where that
    >> drop was, exactly. Do you?

    I’ve been hard working on that here ( the actual LOCATION of that VLAT drop in
    the Tom Story Canon EOS 1D photos ) and I can almost say with little doubt
    that regardless of he 4:39 timestamp(s)… that is actually EXACTLY where
    we see the Air Study people filming those earlier VLAT drops off on that
    small ridge at the NORTH end of the fire… up in Peeples Valley.

    So YES… regardless of device timestamp… it looks like that 4:39 series
    of photos coming from Ton Story’s ‘Canon EOS 1D Mark II N’ are of the
    SAME VLAT DROPS captured in the Panebaker videos… much earlier.

    Exactly WHICH Panebaker video is a match?

    I am on that right now… taking stillframes from Panebaker videos and
    comparing them to the Tom Story photo(s).

    >> Marti also wrote…
    >> If it was visible from the RHR parking lot, he could have caught
    >> it w/that 300mm easily.

    Yes… but see above. It looks like those photos were taken all the
    way up NORTH of the same VLAT drop(s) seen in the Panebaker
    Air Study videos.

    It even looks like Tom Story might have been standing almost exactly
    where the Air Study group was and using his 300mm lens from there.

    >> Marti Reed also said ( on May 11, 2014 at 9:19 am )…
    >>
    >> Hah! I just found what looks like a tight sequence of the same event,
    >> using both a Mark D and the 1D! It’s the red and white helicopter
    >> picking up a bucket at the helispot and heading into the smoke…
    >> Looks good…more later….

    Bingo! I agree. That looks like the ‘moment’ when he decided to
    actually switch between the 5D and the 1D.

    >> Marti also said…
    >> OK, if this helicopter sequence shows the 1D is set about 20 minutes
    >> late, that would put the problematic VLAT drop at 4:17– the split drop.

    Yes. This is starting to fall into place now.

    That VLAT drop (supposedly) photographed by Tom Story with his
    Canon 1D at 4:39 PM ( the exact minute of Steed’s first MAYDAY )
    looks more and more like simply one of the same VLAT drops that
    happened much earlier and captured by one of the Panebaker videos.

    Still not *EXACTLY* sure it was the 4:17 ‘split drop’ video… but I am
    all over that and will have some results of my own soon about that.

    • Marti Reed says

      I would bet my kittehs on it.

      Bcuz, I wrote mistakenly below that he shot the second T 911 sequence (the one Blue Ridge was capturing with the almost helicopter snafu) on on the Mark D II. He actually shot it on the D1. And the first image is stamped 2:00:23. If you pull that stamp back 22 minutes (like I think you need to with the long two-camera helicopter and the third sequence) that puts it at 1:38:23. Right when it would be flying out of that drop. I think we’ve got it. At least good enough for well, what we need. If some overpaid lawyer’s crew wants to get more exact, that’s fine with me!!!!

      And thanks for pulling this up out of the weeds!

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Location is *confirmed*.

        That Tom Story VLAT sequence which *appears* to have been taken at 4:39 PM ( according to his Canon 1D ) was definitely shot almost exactly where the Panebaker Air Study videos were being taken up on Hays Ranch Road some time earlier and looking WEST at the SEAT / VLAT drops.

        ** Panebaker Air Study video
        ** 20130630_161858_VLAT_split_2_EP

        The ‘focus’ starts out fine in this video, but at about +7 seconds, when the ZOOM starts to capture the actual VLAT drop, the focus goes blurry, recovers a little, but never really returns to ‘sharp’ focus the whole time it is ZOOMED…

        …EXCEPT for a brief moment at exactly +20 seconds. He recovers ‘sharp’ focus while ZOOMED for just a split second, but then loses it again.

        A freeze-frame of that split-second when it is both ZOOMED and in ‘sharp focus’ proves that the terrain matches the Tom Story photos exactly… right down to the trees on the ridge in the foreground.

        The ‘terrain’ in both the foreground and the background is, in fact, an ‘exact match’ for the Tom Story Canon EOS 1D photo sequence.

        Now… is Tom’s photo sequence simply ‘stillframes’ of this same exact VLAT drop shown in this Panebaker video?

        Not 100 percent on that yet.

        There are similarities… but not seeing an ‘exact match’ yet.

        Stay tuned. Tom was apparently in a slightly different spot on the side of Hays Ranch road than the Air Study fellas so the ‘perspective’ on the drop is slightly different. The ‘retardant’ in the Panebaker video seems to fall much farther ‘into the smoke’ than is shown in Tom’s photo sequence…

        …but the DC10’s ‘hard left on exit’ is a MATCH in both the video and Tom’s photo sequence.

        I’m still comparing stillframes from this Panebaker video to the Tom Story photo(s) to see if we can get this down to an EXACT time offset for Story’s Canon 1D.

        The one thing we know for SURE now… is that Story’s Canon 1D photo is *NOT* a photograph of any VLAT drop that was happening at 1639, at the same exact time Steed’s first MAYDAY went out.

        That is now *CONFIRMED*.

        • Marti Reed says

          I actually accidentally downloaded the USDA 1640 Air Study video yesterday, intending to download the later one. So I sat and watched it three times, just to get familiar with the jargon, the planes, the kind of communication going on. It’s a really helpful one to watch, because there is a LOT of stuff going on right in front of the camera. The one after it with the air 2 air of the 1633 drop and the 1647 whatever is not as good, because they don’t zoom in so you can’t really see anything, like the Panebaker does with that 1633 drop.

          So, yeah, I watched the VLAT split drop quite handily three times over. So when I went to recheck those photos I instantly recognized the spot. That smoke to the left is over the helicopter “horseshoe dip.”

          I think he’s at a different angle from the videos, although I haven’t watched the Panebakers, they’re still……..down…..loading.

          With that 300 mm lens, it’s hard to tell, but when the plane lifts, it’s right over his head. And I don’t know whether this is the first or second drop, and i’m not sure it’s possible to tell. The plane was flying the exact same path, just dropping at the “front” end (which is actually called the “tail” because its the last part dropped) and extending it.

          You can really get a much better grasp on it by watching the USDA video with the air 2 air. Very detailed conversation going on.

          Finding that overlapping helicopter sequence was like a HAPPY Mother’s Day Gift, believe me. Thanks Tom Story!!

          • Marti Reed says

            It also confirmed that my re-time-stamping of McCord’s camera was not terribly off, which I wasn’t sure of. Things could be several minutes off, but it looks like I’ve got all of this basically synced.

            Thanks, Lightroom!

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Update: It appears that the VLAT drop captured
          in the Panebaker Air Study video titled…

          20130630_161858_VLAT_split_2_EP

          …is NOT the VLAT drop in Tom Story’s Volume 2
          photo sequence.

          In Tom’s photo sequence… we see the VLAT in ‘level flight’ at the peak of retardant output.

          In the Panebaker 161858 video… pretty much at NO TIME during the drop is the DC10 actually in ‘level flight’. That video basically shows him dropping in a ‘constant curve’ and already heading to his left before the ‘cutoff’ moment.

          The VLAT drop Tom Story photographed makes the same kind of ‘hard left on exit’ after drop… but definitely came in straighter ( and lower ) than the drop seen in the Panebaker video.

          So on to the USDA videos.
          Probably a more likely ‘match’ there…

          …but we are still NOT WRONG about LOCATION.

          Tom Story definitely photographed a VLAT drop at that same location as these Air Study videos… onto that ridge up there off Hays Ranch Road in Peeples Valley.

          • Marti Reed says

            Thanks. It has to be one of those drops. Because there aren’t that many VLAT drops, and ONLY drop in that location is the split drop. So it’s the other drop. It has to be.

            Yeah, go watch the USDA video. And actually the entire Panebaker 3-part sequence.

            Thanks for doing this. I’m too lazy.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Marti… just an FYI… see posts below about helicopters. In the course of watching these Air Study videos all over again I’ve found at least one more ( so far ) very *NEAR MISS* between a fixed-wing and a helicopter.

              This one looked even CLOSER than the skycrane versus DC10 one earlier in the day.

              It’s in Panebaker Air Study video
              20130630_153414_EP at the
              +11 second mark.

              Lead plane is on a line-up from east to west parallel to Hays Ranch Road… but a chopper with a bucket is coming up on a south to north line on the OTHER side of the smoke cloud.

              Chopper crosses RIGHT in front of the lead plane at exact same altitude with only a few seconds to spare.

                • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                  That is also why you keep hearing French say “…and I need a HARD LEFT on the exit” whenever they were dropping at that spot up along Hays Ranch Road.

                  The helicopters were all ‘crossing’ Hays Ranch Road to get to the Helibase as they were doing all that retardant work on that ridge.

                  I believe French was AWARE of these few close calls and that’s why he then kept emphasizing a ‘hard left turn’ coming out of the drops after that.

                  • Marti Reed says

                    Yes, and also the “horseshoe dip was right across from the helibase. Very tight quarters, indeed.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Reply to Marti Reed post
              on May 11, 2014 at 9:04 pm

              >> Marti said…
              >> It has to be one of those drops.
              >> Because there aren’t that many
              >> VLAT drops, and ONLY drop in
              >> that location is the split drop.
              >> So it’s the other drop. It has to be.

              It is. ( the 5:15 VLAT drop up along Hays Ranch Road on the NORTH side of the fire ).

              Totally confirmed.

              See new post above including a new
              VIDEO CROSSFADE on YouTube
              that proves it.

              Story’s Canon EOS 1D was always 36 minutes and 7 seconds BEHIND the REAL time that day.

  18. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** CLINT CLAUSON ( ATS TRAINEE FLYING IN BRAVO 33 )
    ** RECORDED THE TIME OF STEED’S FIRST MAYDAY?

    As long as we are still sort of ‘focused’ on these *VERY* confusing SAIT interview notes with Bravo 33… I think it’s worth pointing out something else.

    When the SAIR came out… it was astounding how *LITTLE* information they were providing with regards to ‘sources’ for the narrative timeline and other (supposedly) ‘factual’ statements they were making.

    ONE of those things has always been…

    How did they arrive at a time of 1639 for Steed’s first MAYDAY call?

    They just published that time as FACT… and there wasn’t even a ‘footnote’ to indicate how they arrived at that (specific) time.

    Sure… a LOT of people HEARD this call… but no one seemed to be SURE what TIME it really was.

    The SAIT also already knew about Aaron Hulburd’s Helmet-Cam video and this is obviously where they were taking a lot of what was then SAID and ‘paraphrasing’ it in their SAIR report…. but they also knew they were NOT going to release that Helmet-Cam video to the public along with the report…

    …but ( as we know now )… the TIMESTAMPS on Aaron Hulburd’s Helmet-Cam device were also a little ‘wonky’ that day and not entirely accurate.

    So how did the SAIT really ‘nail down’ the 1639 time for Steed’s Mayday?

    The answer might be the SECOND SENTENCE of their later-released interview with Bravo 33 in their SAIT Investigation Notes .
    __________________________________________________________________
    SAIT INTERVIEW WITH BRAVO 33 – July 9, 2013 – 1700
    Interviewees: Bravo 33
    John Burfiend – ATS Specialist ( Air Attack duties / Monitoring Air-To-Ground )
    Clint Clauson – ATS Trainee
    Thomas French – AT Specialist ( Pilot, Lead Plane / Monitoring Air-To-Air )
    SAIT Interviewers: Dudley, Mayhew, Foley, Kurth, Rocha

    We were ordered as lead air attack to relieve Bravo 3.

    Clint did record a few times on air tankers departing and
    when the frantic call was made.
    _________________________________________________________________

    This mysterious ‘Clint Clauson’ person is never “quoted” at all in the interview ( or never even asked any questions? )…. but this SECOND sentence in the interview notes DOES establish that he seemed to be ‘writing some TIMES down’ that day… INCLUDING the moment of Steed’s first (frantic) MAYDAY call.

    I would also say this one sentence in the SAIT notes also pretty much
    establishes all of the following…

    1) Clint Clauson was onboard as an ‘ATS Trainee’. Burfiend is listed as ‘ATS’ and French is only listed as ‘AT’… so that means Clauson was most probably ‘mentoring’ with Burfiend that day and NOT French.

    2) If Clauson was ‘mentoring’ with only Burfiend… then that means Clauson would probably ALSO have been listening to the same radio channel Burfiend was. That means Clauson was listening exclusively to the ‘Air-To-Ground’ channel and was hearing everything that Burfiend was (including Steed’s first MAYDAY in real time).

    3) Clauson apparently WROTE DOWN the TIME they heard Steed’s first MAYDAY call ( described in SAIT notes as ‘the frantic call’ ). As in… on a piece of PAPER.

    4) Even though Clauson apparently was never asked anything by the SAIT investigators and there is no record of him ever SAYING anything in the interview… the notes still imply that Clauson might have given them a ‘document’ or a ‘piece of paper’ that had these TIMES that he recorded written on it. If so… that document was NOT included in the SAIT FOIA/FOIL package and ( if it exists ) is just one more document that would seem to have been *withheld* by Arizona Forestry from legitimate ( legal ) FOIA/FOIL requests. We already KNOW that Arizona Forestry *DID* withhold any number of documents. Maybe this ‘piece of paper’ from Clauson is simply one of those ‘withheld’ documents.

    So… REGARDLESS of whether there was an actual DOCUMENT ( or copy of
    one ) handed by Clauson to the SAIT investigators that had ‘1639’ written down for the time they heard the first ‘frantic call’… SOMEHOW that ‘1639’ time was COMMUNICATED to the SAIT investigators ( but is also never mentioned in the interview notes ).

    So THIS *might* be how the SAIT was so SURE that Steed’s first MAYDAY actually took place at 1639, despite poor recollections and a wonky timestamps on the Aaron Hulburd Helmet-Cam video.

    They might have been totally trusting what this mysterious ATS Trainee Clint Clauson had actually WRITTEN DOWN ( or, perhaps, just TOLD them verbally during the interview, according to his recollection ) as the TIME for Steed’s first ‘frantic call’… and they ‘adjusted’ all the other times/events based on that.

  19. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** PICKUP TRUCK BURNED INSIDE RANCH ‘SAFETY ZONE’

    There has always been a folder in Mr. Dougherty’s online Dropbox that says it contains ‘Pre-Fire images from Boulder Springs Ranch’, but there has also always been a ‘glitch’ in the linking that was sending clicks to another ( different ) folder.

    That ‘glitch’ is GONE… and now we can see the full set of pre-fire images taken at the Boulder Springs Ranch ‘safety zone’.

    There are even some ‘post-fire’ images included for a ‘before/after’ glimpse of some parts of the compound.

    The following link now takes you right to the correct folder…

    Folder: Helms Ranch Photos Pre-Fire

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/02ue6bnjp6nazkm/AABhgJJer7PG8OD2IhAwQYZ4a/Photos%20and%20Video/Helm%20Ranch%20Photos%20Pre-Fire#/

    There are at least TWO photos there which verify what Joy Collura reported about the FENCING on the western side of the compound ( The direction Granite Mountain was approaching from ). It does, in fact, appear to simply be 3 strands
    of barbed wire. Nothing substantial.

    There are also TWO photos of an antique pickup truck that was parked well INSIDE the ‘safety zone’ up in the northwest part of the compound.

    One photo of the antique pickup truck is pre-fire.
    Another is post-fire.

    You can see the ‘before/after’ for this vehicle. It got fried.

    The entire back-half and wooden bed of the pickup burned
    up completely, along with both back tires ( completely melted ).

    This ‘antique pickup truck’ was exactly here ( INSIDE ) the ‘safety zone’…

    34.219495, -112.771250

    It was sitting 98 feet INSIDE the ‘safety zone’ from the fence that established the western edge of the compound and only 46 feet from the northwest corner of the Llama barn next to the house.

    The last photo in the set ( with a name of vegetation-on-hills-.jpg ) actually shows how FAR inside the perimeter of the ‘safety zone’ this burned pickup truck was… and how CLOSE it was to the Llama pens and the barn.

    NOTE: The actual NAME of the post-fire photo of the burned pickup truck is ‘truck Yarnall 15 June 001.JPG’ but the date indicated in this hand-modified title is INCORRECT.

    The post-fire photo of the burned pickup truck was ACTUALLY taken well AFTER the fire on September 14, 2013.

    The ACTUAL EXIF data embedded in the ‘after fire’ photo of the
    pickup truck is as follows…

    Camera: Canon PowerShot A4000 IS
    Date: September 14, 2013 – 11:56:39 AM
    Lens: 5 – 40 mm – Shot at 15.1 mm (shot wide open)
    Exposure: Auto exposure, 1/1,002 sec, f/4, ISO 125
    Flash: Auto, Did not fire
    Focus: Single, Face Detect, with a depth of field of from 18.2 m to infinity.
    Focus 2: AF Area Mode: Multi-point AF or AI AF
    File: 3,456 × 4,608 JPEG (15.9 megapixels)

    • Bob Powers says

      I would say the truck burned because of the straw in the back of it
      possibly by direct flame but more likely by sparks that ignited the straw and burnt the truck. Sill interesting….

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to Bob Powers post on May 11, 2014 at 10:45 am

        >> Mr. Powers said…
        >> I would say the truck burned because of the straw in
        >> the back of it… possibly by direct flame but more likely
        >> by sparks that ignited the straw and burnt the truck.

        Agree. That was a LOT of ‘straw’ piled in the back of the thing and you can even see a burned-up gasoline can there in pile in the aftermath photo.

        It’s also possible that the ’embers’ ignited that small tree that was near it first… then the ‘open flame’ from the tree nailed the straw.

        >> Mr. Powers wrote…
        >> Still interesting….

        Yes. Definite proof that even though the structures didn’t appear to suffer any damage at all… the ‘open area’ of the ‘safety zone’ was no picnic that afternoon.

        It definitely wasn’t one of those ‘sit in the middle in a lawn chair and drink a beer and watch the fire go by’ kind of ‘safety zones’. More like ‘you better be inside one of the bulidings’ kind of ‘safety zone’.

        Probably also a good lesson there for anyone trying to ‘fire proof’ their own compounds. These pictures prove that regardless of how far INSIDE your compound there are ‘small trees’ or other ‘combustibles’ ( like bales of hay )… they probably ARE going to IGNITE under similar circumstances… so BEWARE.

        Even if you have a 600 foot wide ‘clearing’ around your house… make sure you haven’t kept ‘trees’ right next to your house and make sure all ‘combustibles’ are INSIDE or… at least… out on the PERIMETER and not near a structure.

        • Marti Reed says

          Confession time. My urban backyard is full of dead stuff. I don’t live in the WUI, but the wind is blowing, we’re in endless drought here in N Mexico, and I’ve spent inordinate amounts of time reading about fire lately. Tomorrow morning I intend to make an appointment to get rid of the dead stuff in my backyard. Now that it’s finally possible to tell the dead stuff from the live stuff.

          Every fifth post in my New Mexico Twitter Stream is about Wildfire Preparedness. We shall see……..

          I’m dreading this wildfire season in New Mexico……..

          • Marti Reed says

            I spent eight years living in the forest outside of Flagstaff. You couldn’t pay me enough to live in the forest now, or in the East Sandia Mountains, although I’d love to….

            And it’s only gonna get worse….

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        By the way… that ‘pile of crap’ on the left-hand side of the ‘post-fire’ photo with the fried pickup truck is the burned-up remnants of a wooden wagon that was also there INSIDE the ‘safety zone’.

        You can see what that wagon looked like BEFORE it got fried to nothing in the ‘pre-fire’ photo of the pickup truck.

        It did NOT have any ‘hay’ or ‘straw’ in it… but it burned to the ground, anyway.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          One more followup…

          If you look at the last photo on that page ( which shows the pickup truck and the wooden wagon pre-fire ) you will see that there was ALSO actually a STRUCTURE there in-between them pre-fire.

          Some kind of storage shed? Looks to be wooden.

          That STRUCTURE is TOTALLY GONE in the post-fire pictures and only that 50-gallon drum is left standing there.

          Not too surprising. That STRUCTURE appears to have been sitting right BETWEEN the two small trees that were there INSIDE the ‘safety zone’.

          When those two trees ‘lit up’… it must have been quite a BLAZE going there INSIDE the ‘safety zone’ and just 46 feet from the Llama barn.

  20. Sitta says

    Amazing job on the supposed 16:37 Marsh transmission. That is some impressive collective work! It’s not easy to prove the absence of a thing, yet I think you’ve pretty much wrapped that one up.

    I’m still confused about how you are using VHF vs. UHF to refer to radio traffic. Here is how I understand frequencies:

    VHF = Very High Frequency = [30 – 300 Mhz]
    UHF = Ultra High Frequency = [300 Mhz – 3 Ghz]
    Source = http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/Spectrum

    All(?) radio communications on non-military incidents (including fire, Search and Rescue, police, etc.) take place over VHF. This includes air-to-air, air-to-ground, dispatch, and all ground crews.

    Air-to-air tends to span from 121.x Mhz to 123.x Mhz. Fire/police/EMS in my area use frequencies in the range of 154.x – 173.x Mhz. (This may differ in areas near large bodies of water, as this overlaps with Marine VHF). Bendix King handheld and mobile (vehicle) radios used on fire generally transmit and receive in the 136 – 174 Mhz range. Dispatchers and repeater stations transmit and receive larger parts of the spectrum. Airguard and air-to-ground frequencies are in the 160s, so ground crews can monitor and transmit on them. For obvious reasons, transmissions on the airband range are more tightly controlled (non-pilot radio operators get permitted, and base stations are licensed).

    In summary, all of these Yarnell radio communications are VHF, though air-to-air and air-to-tower transmissions are on a lower frequency of VHF than air-to-ground and ground-to-ground. Do I have this right?

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Sitta post on May 10, 2014 at 10:44 pm

      >> Sitta said…
      >> Amazing job on the supposed 16:37 Marsh transmission.
      >> That is some impressive collective work!
      >> It’s not easy to prove the absence of a thing,

      No. It most certainly is NOT ( easy ).

      >> Sitta also said…
      >> yet I think you’ve pretty much wrapped that one up.

      Well… perhaps not yet. Still needs another few passes.
      There is some other evidence in the public record that is
      relevant. Still ‘looking’ at all that. Stay tuned.

      >> Sitta also said…
      >> In summary, all of these Yarnell radio communications are
      >> VHF, though air-to-air and air-to-tower transmissions are on
      >> a lower frequency of VHF than air-to-ground and ground-
      >> to-ground. Do I have this right?

      Well… YES… you probably do.

      Probably should have done this yesterday ( before all the VHF/UHF lingo entered the picture )… but here are the channels that were
      actually ‘in use’ that weekend ( along with exact frequencies )…

      From PDF page 22 of the Arizona Forestry SAIR report itself…
      ______________________________________________________
      Radio Frequencies
      The Yarnell Hill Fire was assigned Group 1 A1S PHX District
      channels on June 28. On June 30 at 1022, the communications
      plan was as follows:

      Channel No., Channel Name, Assignment

      1, AZSF1, Command
      5, VFIRE21, Optional Tactical, Unassigned
      6, AZSFTAC1, Tactical 1, Div A and Div Z
      7, AZSFTAC2, Tactical 3, Structure Protection Group 1
      8, AZSFTAC3, Tactical 2, Structure Protection Group 2
      10, AZSFTAC5, Air-Ground
      16, AIRGUARD, Air Guard Channel

      Early in the day on June 30, there was limited use of AZSFTAC3
      Tactical 3 by Granite Mountain IHC, Blue Ridge IHC, and heavy
      equipment boss. Tactical 3 was assigned to Structure Protection
      Group 1 at 1200 that day.
      ___________________________________________________

      The exact frequencies assigned to Arizona’s
      “Group 1 A1S PHX District Channels” are as follows…

      Channel, Function, Frequency, Tone, Mode, Assignment
      1, TAC 1, RX: 168.0500, TX: 168.0500, 123.0, N, OPS / DIV
      2, TAC 2, RX: 168.2000, TX: 168.2000, 123.0, N, OPS / DIV
      3, TAC 3, RX: 168.6000, TX: 168.6000, 123.0, N, OPS / DIV
      4, TAC 4, RX: 166.7250, TX: 166.7250, 123.0, N, OPS / DIV
      5, TAC 5, RX: 166.7750, TX: 166.7750, 123.0, N, OPS / DIV
      6, TAC 6, RX: 168.2500, TX: 168.2500, 123.0, N, Unassigned
      7, CMD C-2, RX: 168.1000, TX: 170.4500, 123.0, N, Command
      8, CMD C-9, RX: 160.0125, TX: 165.2500, 123.0, N, Command
      9, AZ State Fire, RX: 151.4000, TX: 159.4050, 162.2, N, AZ State Fire RPTR
      10, Prescott NF Fire Net, RX: 164.3525, TX: 172.6125, 103.5, N, Forest Fire Net RPTR
      11, Blank
      12, MUTL AID, RX: 154.2800, TX: 154.2800, 0.0, N, Mutual Aid
      13, AIR/GND, RX: 169.2000, TX: 169.2000, 0.0, N, Primary A/G
      14, AIRGUARD, RX: 168.6250, TX: 168.250, 0.0, N, Air Guard
      15, WEATHER, RX: 162.4000, TX: 0.0, 0.0, N, Weather Broadcast
      16, AIRGUARD, RX: 168.6250, TX: 168.6250, 110.9, N, Air Guard

      ALL of the frequencies assigned to this Arizona
      “Group 1 A1S PHX District Channels” are in the
      range from ( low/high )…

      154.2800 ( Mutual Aid ) up to 170.4500 ( Command 2 )

      That matches what you said is used in YOUR area…

      >> Sitta said…
      >> Fire/police/EMS in my area use frequencies in
      >> the range of 154.x – 173.x Mhz.

      The most IMPORTANT thing to notice is that there is NO
      PUBLISHED ‘Air-To-Air’ channel in this frequency group.

      Only an ‘Air-To-Ground’ channel.

      Even if you CLONED your radio off of someone else that day… you would still have had to specifically ‘punch in’ an Air-To-Air frequency and add it manually to the bank to talk on the ‘Air-To-Air’ channel.

      Good reason for that.

      The Air guys will not ( and SHOULD not ) tolerate just anyone
      transmitting on whatever Air-To-Air channel they are using.
      That would be a nightmare ( for them ).

    • Bob Powers says

      So you are saying that the Bendix-King radios could not be programed for Air to Air at the lower freq. of 121-123 ?
      As I have tough although the newer Radios are different than the ones I used 20 years ago. So there would be a separate radio for
      the air to air and special separate Freq.? would certain fire officials and others have those radios in their vehicles? I know we did back when. Like the helitack truck and dispatch both FS & BLM as well as some county and city as well as State rigs.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        One of the newer ( and more expensive ) Bendix Kings
        on sale (today) at Amazon.

        This is what they choose to call their COMMAND VERSION
        of even the more basic ( and cheaper ) BK GPH5102… and even this COMMAND version doesn’t have the 121-123 frequency range.

        This puppy is $1,325 smackeroos… and it STILL won’t give you an Air-To-Air Channel if it’s down in the 120’s.

        http://www.amazon.com/GPH5102X-CMD-Analog-Handheld-Command-Version/dp/B00AA0DIBI
        ________________________________________________
        GPH5102X-CMD Analog Bendix King Handheld
        (Command Version)

        500 Channels, 25 User Groups, 20 Channels per Group
        136-174 MHz Frequency Range
        5/1.5 watts RF Power
        MIL-STD 810
        Programmable Soft Switches
        1 new from $1,325.00
        _______________________________________________

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            I can’t quote them at the moment… but I’m SURE there ARE tight regulations about who is ever ‘allowed’ to even be transmitting on ‘Air-To-Air’ channels.

            Could you imagine if anyone could just walk out of a Radio Shack and immediately start transmitting on ‘Air-To-Air’ channels.

            “Hey!… Delta Airlines!… I see you up there! How’s it goin’!… where ya headed!”

            YIKES.

            • Marti Reed says

              I wrote somewhere else something about this:

              Interagency Aerial Supervision Guide:
              http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/nifc/aviation/aerial_supervision.Par.58629.File.dat/IASG.pdf

              It has a lot of stuff about radio frequencies. I don’t really understand it because I don’t understand radio frequencies.

              But somebody like you might want to peruse it. It’s more complicated than we think. I think there was more going on than we’re currently aware of. And I think you might find it quite useful for getting a finer understanding of what the possibilities/probabilities might be.

              Including possible helicopter stuff. And a few other things.

              Also I asked somewhere below, “What is Air Guard?” Now I know.

    • Marti Reed says

      I just what to say to you Sitta, thanks for coming back and helping out. I’ve missed your voice.

      I think what we’re doing now is an example of what we can do when we work together at solving problema, even when we disagree/see things differently, respectfully with each other, communicating back and forth, knowing none of us is exactly “right,” we’re all seeing different things at different times, from different perspectives and different knowledge bases. We all have different things/skills/perspectives to offer.

      I love it when this happens.

      It’s all about respect.

  21. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** Reply to calvin post on May 10, 2014 at 2:49 am

    >> calvin said…
    >>
    >> WTKTT… The slash across the throat sign has always bothered me.
    >> How could he ( John Burfiend ) be so certain that they were dead?
    >> Really, how?? How did he know they were dead when he didn’t
    >> even know where they were??
    >> WTF

    calvin…

    The SAIT interview notes with Bravo 33 are an absolute MESS… but if you read them *very* carefully it would appear that John Burfiend ( who was the right-seat guy, not flying the airplane, and the one who was monitoring Air-To-Ground channel ) did his ‘slash across his throat’ gesture just AFTER Marsh’s final transmission when Marsh ‘affirmed’ that they were on the ‘SOUTH side of the fire’.

    Even if they couldn’t see them… I think Burfiend could tell looking downward at that moment that anyone deploying on the SOUTH side of that exploding fireline was a goner. Hence… ‘slash across the throat’ gesture over to Thomas French.

    Here is the exact ‘context’ of that testimony from Thomas French in the SAIT interview notes. It seems to confirm that Burfiend’s ‘slash across his throat’ gesture to French did, in fact, come right after Marsh’s *final* transmission…
    __________________________________________________________________
    We were right here (pointed at map) when Granite Mountain 7 called screaming in the radio. Ops said “are you getting this? I told Granite Mountain 7 “you need to calm down. I can’t understand you”. Immediately Division A called and said “we are starting a burn out, we are getting in our shelters. I said we got pople in trouble. Tanker called and said I got you in sight. I claimed out – the DC10 swung wide. I looked at John and he did this (slash across the throat). I told Kevin to stand by copy, taking it around. We have a crew in trouble. We are going to go look.
    __________________________________________________________________

    Let me also say that while I (personally) have always found this ‘slash across the throat’ gesture from Burfiend to be quite ‘uncalled for’… I do *NOT* believe for one second that this obvious assumption on his part that they were ‘goners’, even at that point in time, had *ANY* effect on him then proceeding to do his job.

    I can also criticize them ( and, indeed, the WFF radio protocols themselves for apparently NOT having a good, established MAYDAY protocol ) for NOT taking the transmissions from Steed and Caldwell seriously for more than TWO MINUTES… but that still doesn’t mean I think they didn’t do all they possibly could to try and save those men that day… when they finally did realize this was a *REAL* emergency.

    As soon as OPS1 Todd Abel contacted French and Burfiend and *TOLD* them to get their heads out of their asses and RESPOND to these men… they did.

    And once they did ( finally stop ignoring them )… they obviously kicked into their own highly-rehearsed and professional procedures for such a situation.

    I also happen to believe that if there had been *ANY* indication in those final radio exchanges of where they REALLY were ( such as… if Marsh had only taken 2 seconds to say… “we are 600 yards due WEST of Boulder Springs Ranch” )…

    …I believe Thomas French in B33 and Kevin in the DC10 VLAT would have actually attempted a retardant drop ( whether they really believed it would do any good or not ) at GREAT risk to their own lives.

    To have flown the jet-engine DC10 right through that thick ASH cloud would have been absolute suicide for Kevin… so I don’t think THAT would have happened… but if there was ANY way to get at their location ( if they knew where it was ) OTHER than flying blindly directly THROUGH the smoke/ash cloud…

    I think they would have tried it.

    For the rest of my life… I will always wonder WHY, when Marsh was directly asked by Burfiend…. “So, you’re on the south side of the fire, then?”…

    …all Eric Marsh said was… “Affirm”.

    Obtuse communications. Right to the end.

    Even if French or Burfiend didn’t know where the heck the ‘Boulder Springs Ranch’ was… there were MANY people listening to the final MAYDAY calls who DID and they would have jumped right into the conversation and TOLD French and Burfiend *EXACTLY* where that was.

    If Marsh had just added ANY amount of OTHER information… they at least *MIGHT* have been able to KNOW or GOOD-GUESS their exact location.

    He didn’t… and I will ALWAYS wonder WHY he didn’t avail himself of that
    one last chance to identify their exact location.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Followup to above…

      We ( in this ongoing discussion ) are not the only ones to wonder from day one WHY there was so much ‘confusion’ and ‘delay’ in realizing that the transmissions from Granite Mountain constituted a *REAL* emergency… or to wonder WHY it was that Burfiend in Bravo 33 basically IGNORED them for almost 2 minutes ( and even told them to get OFF the channel ) until OPS1 Todd Abel called him directly and *TOLD* him to stop ignoring these men.

      Back in December of 2013 even… Wildfire Today published an article about this specific thing and about the new *YoLo* proposal which was a DIRECT reaction ( coming from the ground level ) to what happened in Yarnell.

      Wildfire Today
      Published December 23, 2013 by Bill Gabbert
      Suggested protocol for firefighters when declaring an emergency
      ______________________________________________________
      After reading about the deaths of the 19 firefighters on the Yarnell Hill Fire, Mr. Joseph Berto ( WFF Helicopter pilot ) had some thoughts about the crucial need for clear, descriptive radio communications when there is a firefighter emergency that requires immediate assistance. Below is his proposal, and following that my initial reaction and his response:
      ( See original article for full proposal )
      ______________________________________________________

      There has ALSO been this ONGOING forum discussion about
      this over at ‘Wildland Fire’.

      Wildland Fire
      Home of the Wildland Firefighter
      Thread: More Yarnell Hill discussion: Mayday, Mayday, Mayday!

      http://wlfhotlist.com/threads/38400-More-Yarnell-Hill-discussion-Mayday-Mayday-Mayday!

      The first comment that ‘kicked off’ this (ongoing) discussion
      over there at ‘Wildland Fire’ is as follows…
      ______________________________________________________
      From Wildland Fire member: D Powers
      Join Date: Oct 2013
      Location: New Mexico

      Mayday, Mayday, Mayday!

      I have read the official reports about the Yarnell Hill fire, but the transcription of the radio traffic does not do justice to listening to them.

      One thing that stood out to me was the lack of an emergency declaration. B-33 did not pick up on the tone of voice (possibly because he was trying to do three jobs at once), but everyone else did.

      In the military, civilian aviation, and the structural fire service that is one of the first things to be drilled into new recruits: recognize when you are in trouble, and call for help. Make sure others know you are calling for help.

      I am not saying GM did anything improper (I have never heard of Mayday being used in a wildland setting) but perhaps it is something to be considered for the future?
      ______________________________________________________

      This ‘Wildland Fire’ Forum Thread is heavily commented and goes on with many ‘ideas’ such as just adopting what WFF people use in Australia ( Emergency, Emergency, Emergency ) or other ‘already used’ standards.

      Since it still appears that the WFF management in the United States doesn’t intend to DO or RECOMMEND ANYTHING new in this regard… I certainly hope the ‘folks on the ground’ just go ahead and decide on something amongst themselves… ASAP… since whether their own management gives a crap about their safety, or not, it is THEIR LIVES that might depend on such an established protocol in the future.

  22. Bob Powers says

    Marti and WTKTT
    A couple of thoughts one I listed below.
    1. If the transmission was on air to air Marsh would not have made it.
    The portable radios do not Carrie that Freq. because of the Radio Ban it is on.
    2. If a OPS or the IC was in the helicopter they could have made that statement over Air to Air. If the Helicopter was in the area then it could have been re-conning the fire with 1 of the overhead.
    3. A vehicle with that Radio Ban on a separate radio from the National fire Freq. Ban Radio could have also made the comment. That statement could have come without a call sign.
    At this point with out verifiable radio traffic that was copied we are right now chasing shadows. If it was not copied on air to ground it could not have been Marsh. WTKTT if you have a way to check the freq. you could probably show the Problem of different Bans Low and High They should be listed some where.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Bob Powers post on May 10, 2014 at 10:58 am

      >> Mr. Powers said…
      >>
      >> 1. If the transmission was on air to air Marsh would not
      >> have made it.

      Yes… and also IAOI ( If And Only If ) it went out on ‘Air-to-Air’…
      then WE should be hearing it, too, captured in that video
      which was CLEARLY recording the A2A traffic around that time.

      It’s not there. Didn’t happen.

      >> The portable radios do not Carrie that Freq. because of
      >> the Radio Ban it is on.

      No, they don’t. Not normally, anyway.
      It’s the whole VHF ( Highband ) versus UHF ( LowBand ) thing.
      Handhelds that have BOTH capability are VERY expensive.

      >> 2. If a OPS or the IC was in the helicopter they could have
      >> made that statement over Air to Air. If the Helicopter was in
      >> the area then it could have been re-conning the fire with 1
      >> of the overhead.

      True… but there is certainly NO evidence that any OPS or IC
      was flying in anything in Yarnell that late in the day. Everyone
      was ‘on the ground’.

      >> 3. A vehicle with that Radio Ban on a separate radio from the
      >> National fire Freq. Ban Radio could have also made the
      >> comment. That statement could have come without a call sign.

      Also possible. Heck… we can even hear with our own ears in the video capture(s) that someone way back in Prescott Air Operations was ‘hearing’ all the traffic and was ALSO able to just press TRANSMIT at any moment and ‘insert’ themselves into the Air-To-Air conversations all the way down there in Yarnell.

      This is all kind of ‘moot’, however, because with regards to this (supposed) “That’s exactly what we want” retardant-related transmission (supposedly) from DIVSA Marsh… it is John Burfiend ALONE who is testifying he ‘heard that’ and he is also testifying it was over the ‘Air-To-Ground’ ( UHF / LowBand ) channel.

      That’s *another* reason the ‘Air-To-Ground’ channel is always one of the most popular and most-listened-to channels on ANY fire. It’s ‘where the action is’ and its accessible to the ‘cheaper’ radios because it is a UHF frequency and not a VHF one.

      >> At this point with out verifiable radio traffic that was copied we
      >> are right now chasing shadows.

      I’m still looking at some ‘other’ things in the public evidence record and I’m not sure more still can’t be ‘figured out’ from it about this (supposed) transmission from Marsh… so I’m not ready to call it ‘shadow chasing’ just yet. Stay tuned.

      >> If it was not copied on air to ground it could not have
      >> been Marsh.

      Agree. It really is a shame that the Air-Study folks didn’t ALSO have another video camera running that day with a direct inline feed on the A2G channel like they had one going with a direct inline feed on the A2A channel. That would have been REALLY helpful here.

      >> WTKTT if you have a way to check the freq. you could probably
      >> show the Problem of different Bans Low and High They should
      >> be listed some where.

      I’m sure they are… but I’m not sure it matters.
      Air-To-Air was VHF and Air-To-Ground was UHF.
      Only a VERY expensive handheld can do both and those are
      NOT usually the Bendix Kings carried by WFF ground men.

      We also DO have a full VHF A2A channel capture covering
      the timeframe in question.

      Marsh is nowhere on it.

      If that transmission of his happened at all… it had to be on A2G.

    • Marti Reed says

      Hi Bob! And everybody else!

      I actually started this comment way earlier this morning, while doing other stuff and watching an over-my-head class on how to use InDesign, while continuing to read all the comments, and letting things sink in and re-arrange themselves. And then I wandered off to check on some facts and re-read some interviews, and then try to figure out when that VLAT drop was that Blue Ridge Hotshot McCord videod as it dangerously flew right over a helicopter so that maybe if there was any info on that (which there isn’t, but I think it happened about 1:37 PM, which means under Bravo 3’s watch), and now I’m back to finishing/editing this.

      OK so now you know why it wasn’t on air 2 air. So I can delete the rest of the paragraphs that I wrote for you about that. I basically agree with all WTKTT has written about that. Including the part about maybe Marsh started to try to contact Air Attack but got overstepped by someone else saying “that’s where we want it” from down below, even the parking lot. That also makes sense, from a possibility level, since Eric Div A had been in earlier contact with Air Attack, and AA had indicated v/A2G uneasiness with where he saw that crew (that he didn’t know who they were).

      At this point, who knows? Who even knows if that SAIT interview report was even accurate/truthful about anything either French or Burfiend even said. I agree w/WTK that it’s pretty evident the SAIT pretty heavily massaged that whole process to make it fit their pre-established narrative.

      And note to WTKTT here, bcuz it’s easier to do this than scroll down while I’m downloading a bunch more of both sets of Air Study videos, thanks for clarifying the “show me” directions. I confess, when I wrote that question, it was a short-cut, bcuz I hadn’t had time to go try to “translate” the numbers and I was guessing you probably had. I also confess, I’m still a bit “bowl-challenged,” and thus my confusion about that. When somebody says “bowl” I have no idea what they mean. Thus, when Burfiend apparently (or not) spoke of test-flying “the bowl” “from west to east,” it definitely created a certain picture in my head, that apparently didn’t correspond to the facts. And, hey, maybe it didn’t even correspond to what he said!

      And, hey, as long as we’re being left to lots of gaps and thus room for speculating, could it be that Burfiend and French didn’t take that Forest Service SAIT interview all that seriously, either? Maybe they had already figured the AFS was gonna, all things considered, bend the “facts to their narrative” based on their at-that-time recently published investigative process model. Which is in fact exactly what they did.

      And to TTWARE — and Bob — and WTKTT — etal:

      About the ASM thing. As I was on again off again over the past few months, trying to make sense of the Air command structure and terminology, including reading Fire Aviation, the sister site of Wildfire Today, I saw quite a bit of grumpiness about this new Module thing. And it may be one of the Lessons to be Learned from Yarnell.

      And somewhat related to the above, I’ve been really thinking about my possible “overly glowing” assessment of French. It may be just that. Or it may be that I’m just translating him a little differently. I’ve been around air and balloon pilots and meteorologists and tornado-chasers a lot. They do what they do because they enjoy it, even when it gets dangerous and difficult — and, hey so do fire/wildfire fighters (who we all know are actually pyromaniacs in disguise!!), so I’m not so offended by what some of you all are upset about. And maybe that gesture across the throat was not in jest. It could have been dead serious. I could envision my dad doing that if he heard a report of a balloon hitting a power line. And he wouldn’t have meant it to be funny.

      Bravo 33’s job was (as per the Air Support YouTube video) to get wet stuff on the ground without bending metal along with, when necessary and possible, adding situational awareness, but NOT managing the ground crews (as opposed to what Rory Collins was/wasn’t doing, ahem. I can’t imagine, after watching/listening to French for hours, ever doing what Collins did.). That was somebody else’s job. They were doing just that, and it wasn’t all that easy, and they had lives on their hands, too. Plane crashes on fires are not that uncommon.

      So when that SEAT flew through that fire at 4:33, to make that drop that apparently took a few set-ups to get, French essentially thanked him, and the pilot, possibly with some relief, indicated he was happy too, even tho they both knew, it was quite possibly a fool’s errand, but one they were hired to do.

      And now that I’ve read what you wrote, WTKTT, about what they would have done, and DID do, after they abandoned that VLAT drop, I really appreciate that. Not only that, but they were running out of fuel, and still managed a 5:07 VLAT drop in the middle of it all. And, as they said, they were just barely able to do it because it was in such heavy smoke and ash they could hardly even see.

      That being said, I’m sensing something of a cognitive dissonance. Might it, again, have to do with this thing we have called “Culture”?

      Could it be that “Fire Aviation” has something of a different “culture” than on-the-ground “Fire Fighting”? And is that maybe something else that’s adding to the confusion? And furthermore, I definitely see, and have read about, regional differences, especially in the complaints about Collins. As in, in the northwest forests they fight fires differently than in the southwest, and thus the big conflicts between Marsh and Collins.

      OK a final thing, before I go on a last-minute quest for Mother’s Day Flowers. Regarding that 1:37ish PM VLAT drop. Once I figured out that that’s when it happened, I went back to Bravo 3’s interview. Collins had had to leave (out of fuel) so Bravo 3 was Air Attack. They say nothing about that drop in their SAIT interview. And that’s what leads me to the next thing.

      Helicopters. I have absolutely NO IDEA who was mostly directing helicopters. I was wondering that as I watched the Air-to-Air 1628 video. French WAS paying careful attention to helicopters, but it was all about keeping them out of the way of the fixed wing tankers, because they were dropping really close to the helispot and the “horseshoe dip” location. Since there’s no air-to-air video earlier than 2pm-ish, there’s no record of how Bravo 3 was communicating. I don’t even know if B3 was even aware there was a helicopter right under that VLAT. So I have no clue who was directing the helicopter drops. Maybe just another little unimportant detail in the general scheme of things?

      Which leads to my seriously final point. Having those Air Study videos really HAS been critical, given the jumbling of everything else. And yes, it would have been even more helpful if they had set up the same kind of video camera with the Air to Ground channel included. Without all the wind and stuff that the Panebakers have. We’d still be fifty miles behind where we are if somebody hadn’t thought, “Gee, lets go set up some video cameras up on that fire and document the Fire Aviation!!”

      Hasta! Thank you all for bearing with me!

      • Bob Powers says

        Great Job Marti
        When Fires Like this in WUI start running at structures
        The first thing is to thro Air Tankers at the Fire. The problem most times they don’t do any good except make every body feel like they at least did something. It looks good to the public at least some one is doing something.
        Helicopters–When Fixed wing plains are on a fire Helicopter pilots Monitor there Freq. And stay out of the way. They fly lower and are assigned to specific areas.
        They maintain contact Air to Air.
        That is why I said the 1 Helicopter flying that is mentioned may have had an overhead in it that could have made the comment, and could have over keyed Marsh DIV A call.
        From what I am reading there is no radio verification that DIV A broke into any Air conversation except the statement from AA. At this point we have a personnel recollection with no solid proof it actually happened.
        Again good work on the info.

        • Bob Powers says

          Marti—–Yes there are 2 different cultures good catch Ground and air, not sure where those Smoke Jumpers fit? We always liked the Helicopters when they gave us a ride.
          Also we all love Fire, Fire Fighting and even starting them like Back Fires Project burns Etc.
          If you didn’t you would not stick with it.
          So you found us out as well.

          • Marti Reed says

            Ha Ha, yes I found you out!!

            Actually, to be honest, I “go to school” online regarding photography, media, design, business at an online “place” called CreativeLIVE, which is based in Seattle. When we have classes, we also have chatrooms.

            One of my pals in the chatrooms is a female firefighter relative/supporter in southern California. She’s actually VERY interested in this fire and is probably reading this site, which I have linked her to regularly.

            We chuckle a lot about how people who fight fires and people who pay attention to fires (like me) are actually fascinated by fire. I’ve always been fascinated by fire, loved/miss my 10 years of surviving via wood-stoves in Flagstaff, always have candles burning, and about every 4 years get really intensively interested in a wildfire.

            I started tracking/observing wildfires online in about 1996. I was really interested in how communities used the Internet to deal with how a wildfire was impacting them and to connect to each other to deal with it.

            That lead to my watching the Los Alamos Cerro Grande Fire online in 2000. Given that a bunch of geeks were affected by it, and I had family/friends ties to it, they really used the Internet to connect, respond, get the word out. I followed that carefully.

            I was really interested in the interface between wildfires and the Internet. Why? Because I, too am a lover of fire.

            The other big one for me was 2001, the Hayman Fire near Colorado Springs. My daughter was a competitive figure skater, and we were there when that fire was burning. I actually photographed it, and, of course, I followed all of it online.

            Oh and then the 2002 Rodeo-Chedeski Fire in Arizona, a HUGE fire. We ate and inhaled the smoke from it for weeks here in Albuquerque. I followed it online. And cried. A lot. I FELT it. And was AWED by it. Because I spent ten years living in the forest in Flagstaff. I felt those trees burning.

            Fire. I majored BA in Anthropology/Archaeology from Prescott College. (When we had the crew that gave birth to the Prescott Hotshots that, in turn gave birth to the Granite Mountain Hotshots. And I had a horse, and I rode that horse all over Granite Mountain). The harnessing of fire by humans is considered a benchmark in human evolution. But fire can still overpower us.

            So, yes. We love fire!!! And we fear it! And we have to deal with it. And it kills. And it renews. So yeah, I found you out. Because I, and a number of others, are just like you.

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Mr. Powers… good point you just made.

          There WERE helicopters already down in Yarnell and also doing whatever they could to ‘save things’ in this 4:15 to 4:45 timeframe.

          We actually can HEAR at least TWO of them actually ‘fly over’ Aaron Hulburd as he was filming the ‘Helmet-Cam’ video there in the St. Joseph Shrine parking lot… and AS he was capturing those ‘final transmits’ from Steed, Caldwell and Marsh.

          It actually could have been ANY helicopter pilot working the fire down there at this time that just jumped onto the Air-To-Ground channel and said…

          “That’s exactly what we want”

          …right after the 1633 SEAT drop there on the EAST side of the fire. That SEAT drop probably DID hit the same outlying areas that THEY ( the choppers ) were focusing on as well.

          Burfiend said this call came ‘5 minutes before they went into shelter’… but given their *general* confusion about TIME throughout their recollections to the SAIT investigators… it’s pretty doubtful they could have been *THAT* sure that *EXACTLY* 5 minutes had transpired between ANY two events that afternoon.

          If the “That’s what we want” confirmation ( from someone in/near or ‘flying over’ Yarnell… but not Marsh ) was a direct response to the spot-on 1633 SEAT drop… then it’s possible that Burfiend was simply 4 minutes off on his recollection… and it was really about 9 minutes between when he heard that and when it all started hitting the fan.

          Mistaking a 9 minute elapsed time period for 5 minutes would have been perfectly understandable that afternoon… coming from ANYONE.

          I still think the most important point about all of this is that the SAIT investigators obviously did *NOT* even lift a finger to try and *VERIFY* the TIME and the SOURCE of this “That’s what we want” recollection on Burfiend’s part.

          They just trusted what (only) Burfiend was recalling, didn’t care that no one else seemed to have heard it, called it an ‘absolutely verified communication from Eric Marsh’… and used it was the defacto END of their own self-imposed ‘verifiable communications’ blackout period.

          Even Eric’s voice in the YARNELL-GAMBLE video TEN MINUTES earlier ( at 1627 ) is much more ‘verifiable’ than this ‘recollection’ on Burfiend’s part… yet they (apparently) chose to ignore what they were hearing in the YARNELL-GAMBLE video altogether.

          Perhaps the SAIT understood that if they were going to pretend there was a ‘blackout’ ( with no verifiable communications )… then they couldn’t END that blackout ‘too early’.

          In other words…. it was OK to take a dubious transmission/recollection that happened just 2 minutes before the MAYDAY… because 2 minutes wasn’t enough time for management to be accused of neglecting to do something…

          …but TEN MINUTES was too much… hence… they had to IGNORE Eric’s obvious reporting of GM’s ‘status’ ( to someone in command ) at 1627.

          Once they decided to officially report that there was a ‘verifiable communications’ BLACKOUT… and that that is why management didn’t know where they were… they could not END it too early before the deployment… so the 1637 ‘recollection’ from Burfiend simply looked like a good place to do that.

        • Marti Reed says

          The VLAT/helicopter incident I’m describing is not about the in-question call we’re talking about. It happened about 12:35 PM. There was a VLAT drop just northish of where the Blue Ridge hotshots were waiting with their buggies for an asignment. There was one test flight then the VLAT made it’s drop. The BR guys were photographing and video-ing it.

          When the VLAT was coming down to make the drop, there was a helicopter right underneath it. Bravo 3 was in charge, as Rory Collins was off getting re-fueled. Unfortunately we don’t have the air 2 air so I don’t know what kind of communication was going on.

          Interestingly enough, as I’ve been working on jockeying Tom Story’s photos into submission, it looks like his first VLAT set, which he took on the relatively accurate Mark D II, is of that T 911 coming out of that drop. With, I think, Bravo 3 just ahead of him.

          I confess, I’m still a little mystified re helicopter communications. They were on air-to-air, but during the air-to-air video I watched yesterday, from a bit before 4:00 pm to about 4:20, French was just keeping them out of the way of the tankers. That’s all.

          I would think the helicopters must have been in communication with some kind of overhead. I haven’t had time to “go there” but I’m sure there must have been some kind of crew organizing them?????? It definitely wasn’t Bravo 33. And I don’t know if Bravo 3 was doing it either. It just seems weird.

          Also, that leads me to ask, “What is Air Guard? What is that channel used for?”

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Reply to Marti Reed post on
            May 11, 2014 at 5:10 pm

            >> Marti said…
            >> I confess, I’m still a little mystified re
            >> helicopter communications. They were
            >> on air-to-air, but during the air-to-air
            >> video I watched yesterday, from a bit
            >> before 4:00 pm to about 4:20, French
            >> was just keeping them out of the way
            >> of the tankers. That’s all.

            Correct. There are never any ‘instructions’ to them from Bravo 33 ( acting as both Lead Plane and Air Attack ) about what they should actually be DOING ( drop-wise ).

            The ONLY thing French was concerned about was them staying out of HIS way.
            Only conversations are about who is heading to helibase… or who is leaving the fire… and what direction they should take to do that.

            This also confuses me from the ‘Air Attack’ standpoint. It is French ( performing Lead Plane duties ) we hear ‘directing’ this Air Traffic around him… even though the SAIT notes say it was French who turned to Burfiend and said “You’re Air Attack!”.
            ____________________________________
            From SAIT interview with Bravo 33…
            Paragraph 4…
            I knew there was 2 structural groups.
            I wrote down 2.
            Tom said “hey dude, you are the air attack”.
            ____________________________________

            So it really is very, very confusing.

            I’m not even sure the Air people fully understand it all… much less the ground folks.

            Anyone on the ground in a command position could obviously ASK the choppers to do things without going through Air Attack… which is what makes it all the more confusing.

            In one of the Air Study videos… right after the spot-overs were happening up on Model Creek road… SPGS2 Darrell Willis just tells his subordinate, Gary Moser, to ‘get one of those choopers to take care of that spillover’.

            So even line personnel could just make requests of the choppers any time they wanted to?

            It’s a wonder there weren’t MORE near-fatal
            crashes that day other than the incredible near-miss out over that middle bowl earlier that day.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Another near Fixed-Wing / Chopper
              near miss I hadn’t seen before…

              In Panebaker Air study video
              20130630_153414_EP, at +11 seconds, there is another *NEAR MISS* between a helicopter and the lead plane flying a line-up flight in that same location where the VLATS were dumping up there off Hays Ranch Road.

              The lead plane is flying the line-up flight from west to east, parallel to Hays Ranch Road… but a chopper is coming up on a south to north line over in the same location but on the ‘blind’ side of the smoke cloud… and the lead plane seems to have NO IDEA he is there.

              Hard to tell how close it was because the ZOOM is active on the camera… but it looks WAAAY too close for comfort as the chopper crosses right in front of the lead plane at what looks like the same altitude.

              Looks like a few seconds in time made all the difference here.

            • Marti Reed says

              Somebody has to be directing the helicopters, and it’s not really Air Attack/Bravo. That’s just not their responsibility from what i’ve read. Like it’s not also their responsibility to direct the ground crews, basically.

              Their responsibility, it seems to me, in general and on this fire, is more about directing the fixed wing tankers and clearing the space around them.

              I’m getting pretty brain-dead at this point, but tomorrow I’ll go look.

          • Marti Reed says

            So, from what I’ve just read, Air Guard is reserved for Air Emergencies, like crashes and such things.

        • Marti Reed says

          I do find myself wondering about the cost-effectiveness of the whole Fire Aviation thing. I’m hoping maybe the fact that those video cameras were set down that afternoon to do Air Study means something.

          There is actually, I think, a TON of stuff to be learned from this fire, including the effectiveness of Fire Aviation. Where, and under what conditions, did it really help, and where did it not, and at what cost.

          The problem is, as I have sensed all along, and even more so when I spent some hours today reading the Interagency Aerial Supervision Guide, they said over and over again how Aerial Support has to be integrated with overall Incident Command Strategy and Tactics.

          And, as we know, since there was no actual “as-required” thought-out and written-out Plan for this day, there was nothing, strategically speaking, for Fire Aviation to tie into, other than various ad-hoc ongoing “let’s try this” tactics.

          How do you effectively evaluate Aerial Fire-fighting on a fire in which there was no coherent over-all strategy/tactics in play in the first place?

          So I’m not willing to dump the possible value of intelligent Fire Aviation, all things considered, but I do believe it’s time for a serious analysis of it, all things considered.

  23. The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

    First, kudos to WTKTT and Marti, for digging into and getting the “that’s where we want it” conversation as analyzed as can possibly be done without some additional ‘outside’ input. I’m in agreement with Bob that, with all the chaos in the sky and on the ground that day, it would have been easy to mix-up that ‘recollection’ attributed to Marsh with another parties transmission.

    The troubling part of the whole deal is that MANY people heard A/G radio traffic during the time in question, but we don’t have any of those ‘other’ recollections.

    As has been stated before, A/G is one of the most listened-to channels on the fireground, as the most up-to-date reports on fire activity and other significant events usually comes across that channel in a prompt fashion. While earlier in the day people might have been only paying a cursory listen, later in the afternoon, with the fire getting ready to burn up an entire town, you can bet many, many people were glued to it (as evidenced by the background traffic videos).

    On another note regarding possible takeaways, in my opinion two glaring ones seemingly related to BUDGET concerns are:

    1) The states calling out a Type II Short Team (which was never even able to assemble all of it’s critical team members) for a fire that was already deemed a threat to a community.

    2) The feds determination that they could save money by having less aircraft and personnel on fires by jamming two critical and busy functions inside of one aircraft (ASM). There may be times on slower, less active fires when that could be appropriate, but NEVER on Type I or Type II fires, and NEVER on Type III fires that are deemed to have a strong potential to rapidly escalate and threaten communties. Personally, I think the ASM ‘experiment’ should be ended and the duties returned to the Air Attack and Lead planes, but hey, that’s just me.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to TTWARE on May 10, 2014 at 9:10 am said:

      >> TTWARE said…
      >> First, kudos to WTKTT and Marti, for digging into and getting
      >> the “that’s where we want it” conversation as analyzed as can
      >> possibly be done without some additional ‘outside’ input.

      Two quick things here…

      1) calvin is the one that has been focused like a laser-beam on this 1637 transmission from day one. It has deserved more focus and attention for quite some time… and deserves even MORE. It is ( and will remain ) IMPORTANT to know whether this ‘fact’ being reported by Arizona Forestry ever actually happened at all… and if it did… what the FULL story is on it.

      2) I’m looking at some other things in the public evidence record that might shed a little more light on this… so I wouldn’t say that nothing more can be learned *without* some new interviews.

      It is, in fact, still perfectly possible there is *GOING* to be ANOTHER official Yarnell Hill Investigation sometime soon.

      At this point ( and with everything even WE have proved is totally WRONG with the original SAIT work )… I would think the right thing for Arizona Forestry to do at this point is just admit their mistakes and do it all over again… but THIS time try to get it RIGHT.

      The families deserve nothing less ( and have, indeed, been ASKING for a better investigation since day one ).

      Indeed… a ‘proper investigation’ is even one of the ‘stipulated’ action items in most of the wrongful death claims… which means that even if ALL the parties involved try to ‘settle out of court’…. the settlement(s) themselves might still REQUIRE a new ( proper ) investigation be done.

      >> TTWARE also said…
      >> I’m in agreement with Bob that, with all the chaos in the
      >> sky and on the ground that day, it would have been easy to
      >> mix-up that ‘recollection’ attributed to Marsh with another
      >> parties transmission.

      It actually could have been a COMPLETE walk-over.

      Bravo 33 has already testified that because of the piss-poor handoff from Rory Collins… they basically had NO IDEA who was even ‘working the fire’ down there underneath them… and they also freely admit they had NO IDEA what anyone’s VOICES sounded like as they got all this dumped onto them. They didn’t even know what Field OPS1 Todd Abel’s voice sounded like as they suddenly started doing this Lead Plane / Air Attack double-duty.

      So it is ACTUALLY possible that Marsh might have hit ‘transmit’ on the A2G channel… and only got the words “Bravo 33, Division A” out before SOMEONE ELSE totally walked all over him and then said something like “That’s exactly what we want”.

      Maybe Marsh WAS trying to ‘say something’ to Bravo 33 at that point… but got totally ‘walked on’ and Burfiend just thought all that was coming from the same person ( since they admit they had
      no idea who anyone was down there or what their voices
      sounded like ).

      Don’t forget that we NOW know that by the time Steed made his FIRST MAYDAY call… that call is NOT ‘filled with over-modulation’
      as the SAIR reported. Steed is ACTUALLY YELLING into his microphone at the top of his voice and its because there are ACTUALLY at least two chainsaws running right next to him already. He was YELLING as much to hear himself as to make sure Bravo 33 could hear him over the saw noise right next to him.

      That means that they DID realize the trouble they were in some span of time BEFORE Steed’s first MAYDAY. They had ALREADY decided to deploy BEFORE Steed’s first MAYDAY… and had (apparently) ALREADY found the deployment site, pulled the ropes on the saws, and gotten to work.

      It could very well be that whatever Marsh was trying to say to Bravo 33 when he then got ‘walked on’ was either related to them suddenly realizing the trouble they were in ( as early as 1637? )… OR it was simply Marsh getting walked on at 1637 but not having the time to RETRY because it was suddenly time to help find the deployment site or just simply ‘run forward’ to catch the men.

      All guesswork… but it’s possible.

      My feeling is that there were no CALL SIGNS involved here at
      all regarding what Burfiend was ‘recalling’.

      I believe that Burfiend is just simply MISTAKEN about it being
      DIVSA Marsh saying anything ( at any time ) about “That’s exactly what we want”. It was probably someone else who had a VHF radio with them there in Yarnell and they were ‘confirming’ the ‘goodness’ of the 1633 SEAT drop that had just taken place within sight of the Ranch House Restaurant.

      >> TTWARE also said…
      >> The troubling part of the whole deal is that MANY people heard
      >> A/G radio traffic during the time in question, but we don’t have
      >> any of those ‘other’ recollections.

      Correct. Even the SAIT should have realized this alone was reason to re-interview Burfiend and try to CONFIRM what he reported.

      Not only did the SAIT *NOT* do that…. they took as ‘gospel’ Burfiend’s recollection(s)… and even totally trusted his ‘guess’
      that it was ‘5 minutes later when they deployed’… so they just
      subtracted 5 minutes from 1642 and put a timestamp of 1637
      on Burfiend’s “That’s what we want” recollection…

      …and they went ‘out the door’ with it

      The SAIT just published it as FACT, and even called this
      non-verified reported transmission the ‘official’ end of their own
      self-imposed ‘non-verifiable communications’ blackout.

      Go figure.

      >> TTWARE also said…
      >>
      >> As has been stated before, A/G is one of the most listened-to
      >> channels on the fireground, as the most up-to-date reports on
      >> fire activity and other significant events usually comes across
      >> that channel in a prompt fashion. While earlier in the day people
      >> might have been only paying a cursory listen, later in the
      >> afternoon, with the fire getting ready to burn up an entire town,
      >> you can bet many, many people were glued to it (as evidenced
      >> by the background traffic videos).

      Totally agree. If there was EVER a time for anyone with a cheap
      UHF handheld ( capable of listening to Air-To-Ground UHF ) to be
      monitoring that channel for transmissions… it was circa 4 to 5 PM in Yarnell.

      Everybody WAS… but only ONE guy up in an airplane who admits he had no idea who was even on the ground or what they sounded like is the one reporting a ‘crucial’ transmission?

      It doesn’t ‘add up’.

      >> TTWARE also said…
      >>
      >> On another note regarding possible takeaways, in my opinion
      >> two glaring ones seemingly related to BUDGET concerns are:
      >>
      >> 1) The states calling out a Type II Short Team (which was
      >> never even able to assemble all of it’s critical team members)
      >> for a fire that was already deemed a threat to a community.
      >>
      >> 2) The feds determination that they could save money by
      >> having less aircraft and personnel on fires by jamming two
      >> critical and busy functions inside of one aircraft (ASM). There
      >> may be times on slower, less active fires when that could be
      >> appropriate, but NEVER on Type I or Type II fires, and NEVER
      >> on Type III fires that are deemed to have a strong potential to
      >> rapidly escalate and threaten communties. Personally, I think
      >> the ASM ‘experiment’ should be ended and the duties returned
      >> to the Air Attack and Lead planes, but hey, that’s just me.

      Not sure myself about necessary/needed changes to the whole Air Support thing… but with regards to BUDGET…

      If ICT4 Russ Shumate had only just spent the money on Saturday for day-long chopper support and bucket drops… that thing would have been dead-as-a-doornail before 4:00 PM on Saturday.

      If ‘Arizona Forestry’ just adds up what the cost for that chopper support on Saturday would have been and THEN compares it to
      the *other* costs that resulted by NOT spending that money
      on Saturday…

      …well… you don’t need a whole lot of batteries in your calculator to realize what a ‘budget buster’ that mistake was.

      If the whole Yarnell Incident ( and the loss of 19 good men ) isn’t enough to teach Arizona Forestry ( and SWCC ) that using the ‘IA with overwhelming force’ approach isn’t ( ultimately ) the most cost-effective way to fight wildland fires in that region…

      …then I don’t know what it will take.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Correction for above.

        Accidentally typed ‘VHF’ instead of ‘UHF’.

        The (supposed) “That’s what we want” transmission came over the UHF Air-To-Ground channel and NOT the VHF Air-To-Air channel.

        Nobody needed an expensive VHF piece of kit to have been the one making that call to Burfiend in B33 on A2G.

        It could have been ANYONE on the ground in Yarnell who saw that 1633 SEAT drop and might have been trying to confirm the ‘goodness’ of it.

        So that one paragraph above SHOULD have read…

        “It was probably someone else who had a UHF radio with them there in Yarnell and they were just ‘confirming’ ( over the A2G channel ) the ‘goodness’ of the 1633 SEAT drop that had just taken place within sight of the Ranch House Restaurant.”

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Correction to the correction ( ROFL ).

          See Sitta’s post ( and response ) above.

          The ACTUAL frequencies in use that weekend all seem to have been in the 154 to 175 mgHZ range.

  24. Marti Reed says

    RE Air Attack Handoff to Bravo 33 at 1558 ish:

    So……I’ve been watching and listening to the Air Study 30130630_1628_EP.MOV video three times through. Since I mistakenly downloaded it, instead of the next one that I’m now downloading. I figured I might as well, since it would help me see and hear what was going on. Quite interesting.

    This one includes the impressive 4:16-4:18 two-minute VLAT 911 split-drop. Quite interesting and quite educational to watch/hear. Most of it features Tom French as Bravo 33 Lead Plane , leading, instructing the other pilots of both air tankers and helicopters, checking things out, communicating with media planes, really polite, respectful, supportive, calm and cool. Totally impressive all things considered. This video spans from about 1558 til 1628. Forty minutes. I highly recommend watching it. I don’t have the link for it at the moment, unfortunately. But you can find it. Just go to WTKTT’s link for the Air Study video he posts above, and download/watch the 1628 video instead!

    What really strikes me is the truly calm, professional, supportive, positive, specific, clear communications happening all around. No sign of stress, pressure, conflict, frustration, anything negative at all. You really get a sense that everybody actually enjoys what they’re doing.

    This also includes the communication between Rory Collins, as Air Attack, as he leaves the fire to head to Deer Valley, because his pilot has run out of fly-time, and his, I would say, disappointment that he still hasn’t been able to secure his relif pilot, who is grounded at Stafford because, I would guess, of the same weather that was grounding other planes all around.

    I hate to say this, because I have a beef with Rory Collins, but over the course of about fifteen minutes during this, on again off again, he did have something of a leisurely conversation with Tom French. And, as Tom French says towards the end of it, (re Burfiend who would become Air Attack) “my right-seater’s been copying everything.”

    Collins told him quite a bit of stuff, about the weather, about IC, about go ahead and finish what you’re doing and then get over to the other side of the fire with the DC 10’s, about Div A being the ground contact ( I guess not forecasting that Div A was about to head out to the bleak unknown, which, to be fair, he didn’t know at that time). He asked for questions, concerns, and French back-and-forthed with him, and didn’t sound the least like this was weird or strange or hectic or insufficient in any way. He sounded confident that they were completely ready to assume the responsibility they were being handed.

    And then he kept on doing what he was doing. Being Bravo33 (which is pronounced Bravo Three Three) Lead Plane. Calm and confident and positive in the midst of what we perceive as being chaos.

      • Bob Powers says

        Marti
        I am confident after every thing I have been reading that you guys have found, that the statement.
        That’s where we want it,– is from OPS or a ground person
        with the structure protection group in the area of the drop, and has absolutely nothing to do with March.
        It has never made science that Marsh would have popped out of no where with that statement.
        Based on experience call it a educated guess it was not Marsh. People near the drop site would be much more plausible. They were trying to save structures at that point and that is what they were focused on.

        • Marti Reed says

          Yes, I’m thinking more and more in line with you (see my comment below in response to yours). I’m still wondering how it could have been that this call from someone (who decreasingly looks like it would have been Marsh) (and I’m trusting Burfiend who says he heard it) wouldn’t have been heard on the AirToGround channel that A WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE heard at the time, including the crew doing that “Last MInutes” video. That’s what stumps me.

          Is there possibly some other channel that Air Attack Burfiend could have been interacting with that could have signaled to him, at 4:37-4:39-ish, as they were circle-ing then flying a test flight “west to east over the bowl” that “that’s exactly what we want”?

          I have absolutely no idea.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Marti… not only am I not sure we can really
            trust either Burfiend’s or French’s statements
            in the SAIT investigations notes about the
            “that’s what we want” statement… I think
            their recollection in *general* is kinda wonky.

            For example…

            Here is the exact ‘infamous’ paragraph from
            their SAIT interview that has that one and
            only reference in the *entire* evidence
            record in it about “that’s what we want”…

            …but look at the REST of the paragraph
            that precedes that ‘recollection’.

            It’s all pretty ‘skewed’ unto itself regarding
            what ELSE they ‘think’ they heard from
            Marsh… and WHEN…

            TIME NOW = 1630

            :: We needed to go back to the right flank
            :: ( 1630 AZ time ).
            :: Made 3 practice runs. Painted 2.
            :: We came around.

            TIME NOW = However long it take to make
            ‘3 practices runs’ and then ‘come around’.
            Let’s call that FIVE minutes, at least.

            TIME NOW = 1635

            :: Got a call from Division A stating they
            :: were going down their escape
            :: route to the safety zone.

            WTF? At 1635? Not a chance.

            :: Didn’t know Division A was the
            :: superintendent of the Granite Mountain
            :: hot shots. Asked him “is everything OK?”
            :: He replied “everything is ok, just heading
            :: to the safety zone”.

            Again… WTF?? Not possible ( at 1635 ).
            There ARE video captures that cover this
            timeframe AND were capturing the A2G
            radio channel and there are no such
            transmissions recorded.

            :: We came around,
            :: made a practice run through the bowl,
            :: west to east.

            TIME NOW = ??
            We really have no idea. Their testimony
            above about hearing from Marsh at ‘this
            time’ already proves the SAIT notes are
            out in left field already… so there is no
            telling WHEN this ‘practice run’ they are
            now referring to happened… if it even
            happened at all.

            :: I was talking to Tom
            :: about the rising terrain on exit.
            :: Division A clad and said “that is what
            :: we are looking for, that is exactly right”.
            :: Within 5 minutes of that, they went in
            :: shelter.

            So this LAST STATEMENT about them ‘going into shelter’ within 5 minutes of the “that is what we are looking for” transmission
            ( according to their recollection ) MUST be
            what the SAIT used to actually come up with the 1637 timestamp for Marsh’s (supposed)
            transmission.

            French and Burfiend had no frickin’ idea what
            time it *really* might have been… but
            somehow they also seemed to be SURE
            that ‘within 5 minutes’ is when Eric
            announced they were ‘deploying’.

            So the SAIT just took their ‘recollection’ about
            the previous transmission from Marsh being
            ‘within 5 minutes’… and then they just
            counted BACKWARDS from 1642… when
            the Helmet Cam captured Marsh’s final
            statement(s).

            1642 minus 5 minutes = 1637

            Voila!… The SAIT was now SURE that 1637
            is when Marsh MUST have said “That is what
            we are looking for”… and they frickin’ PUBLISHED that in the SAIR as if it was fact.

            They were taking these ‘unverified’ random recollections of French / Burfiend as ‘gospel truth’… even though ( as shown above ) they were completely mis-remembering Marsh’s OTHER statements ( on A2G channel ) about
            ‘going down their escape route’.

            So the SAIT didn’t question the FIRST half of
            even that one section ( paragraph ) of their
            interview ( which is obviously an inaccurate
            recollection ) but then the SAIT took the
            SECOND half as ‘gospel truth’… and
            PUBLISHED the ‘statements’ as FACT…
            even though NO ONE ELSE was reporting
            that transmission from Marsh on the *VERY*
            popular A2G radio channel.

            Go figure.

            As I have said before… something about
            Marsh ‘asking’ for retardant must have
            seemed *really* attractive to THEIR ‘version
            of events’ and fit nicely with THEIR ‘agenda’
            in order for them to not have either
            questioned this one statement from them
            *OR* made sure it fit the criteria of ‘verified
            transmission’ which they seemed to be so picky about for the previous 30+ ‘blackout’
            minutes.

        • Marti Reed says

          Bob:
          Do you think this is important, all things considered?

          To be honest, I’m less and less thinking it is, all things considered. To be honest, I’m kind of hanging onto it because the SAIT made a big deal of it, using Burfiend, who I really respect, and his narrative of it to further their own narrative, in what I agree with WTKTT to be a really irresponsible manner.

          Do you think it’s really all that important, in the general scheme of things on this totally mismanaged fire, that Burfiend says he heard, while they were flying a “show me,” someone tell him (and possibly mistakenly thinking it was Div A Eric Marsh) that ‘this is exactly where we want that” ?

          Or is it time for all of us to just admit we can’t figure this out, all things considered, and move on?

          I really respect your hard-won experience-based sense of what is truly important in wildland fire-fighting.

          • Bob Powers says

            I would say with out other identified radio traffic its a guess as to who made the statement. Maybe an assumption after the fact by Burfiend that he recollects something
            during a show me run. What is very strange is there was no prior conversation asking for a drop by March. It would be un conceivable for Marsh to think his discussion with OPS about we’ll get a drop down there would have any thing to do with a 30 min. later statement. Where is location and discussion of need?
            The only thing this adds to is some how thinking Marsh asked for a drop to save the crew and no one was listening. Which I think is BS. It could have been any one with an Air to Air Freq. on the ground. Thought they said DIV. A. It dose not make science that Marsh would have jumped in and said that with all the smoke at that time he could not have seen air craft and gave no other direction prior.
            With out verifiable evidence it will just hang hot there as something to talk about– Had the air tanker dropped where DIV A ask they would have been saved,–Wishful thinking. Where they were dropping had no connection to where Marsh was. I am still of the belief it was not Marsh, I am still betting on the Structure Group. Air to Air would have a very limited number of people on it. That same statement could have been used several times during the day by ?????

            • Bob Powers says

              Also if it was air to air Marsh would not have had that on his hand held radio. Only air to ground.
              Any air to air radios would have been in Vehicles like City or county Engines or Supervisors trucks. If I am not mistaken Air is on a totally different Ban than the Fire freq. Bans. High Ban and Low Ban you cannot run them both on the same radio. Air to ground is in the same ban area as crewnet, and the other fire freq. Another little added info on air attack. 2 different radios in air craft to talk to air and ground.
              A air tanker would have Air to air, if they IA a fire some one on the ground would have air to air to talk to them till Air Attack arrived. Clear as mud again ….

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Marti Reed post on May 9, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      >> Marti wrote…
      >> What really strikes me is the truly calm, professional,
      >> supportive, positive, specific, clear communications
      >> happening all around. No sign of stress, pressure, conflict,
      >> frustration, anything negative at all.

      Yes. Right down to Burfiend doing the ‘slash across his throat’
      gesture as soon as he knew 19 good men were deploying.
      Very positive. Very professional.

      >> You really get a sense that everybody actually enjoys
      >> what they’re doing.

      Yes. Flying airplanes is FUN!

      >> This also includes the communication between Rory Collins,
      >> as Air Attack. He asked for questions, concerns, and French
      >> back-and-forthed with him, and didn’t sound the least like this
      >> was weird or strange or hectic or insufficient in any way. He
      >> sounded confident that they were completely ready to assume
      >> the responsibility they were being handed.

      Yes. It all sounds very ‘nicey-nicey’ and polite, doesn’t it?

      You would hardly be able to tell that just a few hours earlier,
      Collins was dumping retardant all over a Division Supervisor’s
      plan of action and not giving a shit whether he liked it or not…

      …or that while he was ‘Air Attack’… a helicopter almost crashed
      straight into a DC10 and the resulting explosion would have lit
      that middle bowl up like a Christmas tree long before wind
      change…

      …or that while he was ‘Air Attack’… numerous people on the
      fire commented how ‘disorganized’ the helicopters were that
      day and seemed ‘totally unsupervised’ and ‘doing whatever the
      hell they wanted’… to the point where Blue Ridge Hotshots would
      later say that the ‘split’ in the fireline was actually caused by
      this ‘unsupervised’ helicopter activity that day.

      …or that he only gave them 10 minutes notice about having
      to leave the fire… and then left Bravo 33 with a laundry list of
      ‘cluelessness’ that they would then recount to SAIT investigators…

      …or that this same guy, following the incident, would refuse to
      return phone calls and make it almost impossible for anyone
      to interview him.

      Sorry, Marti.

      Yes… I agree that these guys know how to talk on the radio and
      ‘get a job done’… but I’m not ready to give any of them the glowing
      ‘points’ you are granting.

      In MANY ways… ( from Friday night through Sunday )… the AIR
      operations at Yarnell left a LOT to be desired.

      I actually, truly hope the overall ‘picture’ that has emerged
      from the Yarnell Hill Fire regarding this ‘Air Support’ stuff ( and the
      interaction with ground forces ) is not NORMAL or ‘business as
      usual’.

      If it really is… all I can say is… YIKES!

      • calvin says

        WTKTT… The slash across the throat sign has always bothered me. How could he be so certain that they were dead? Really, how?? How did he know they were dead when he didn’t even know where they were??

        WTF

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          calvin… the SAIT interview notes with Bravo 33 are an absolute MESS… but if you read them *very* carefully it would appear that John Burfiend ( who was the right-seat guy, not flying the airplane, and the one who was monitoring Air-To-Ground channel ) did his ‘slash across his throat’ gesture just AFTER Marsh’s final transmission when Marsh ‘affirmed’ that they were on the ‘SOUTH side of the fire’.

          Even if they couldn’t see them… I think Burfiend could tell looking downward at that moment that anyone deploying on the SOUTH side of that exploding fireline was a goner. Hence… ‘slash across the throat’ gesture over to Thomas French.

          Here is the exact ‘context’ of that testimony from
          Thomas French in the SAIT interview notes.
          It seems to confirm that Burfiend’s ‘slash across
          his throat’ gesture to French did, in fact, come
          right after Marsh’s *final* transmission…
          _________________________________________
          We were right here (pointed at map) when Granite Mountain 7 called screaming in the radio. Ops said “are you getting this? I told Granite Mountain 7 “you need to calm down. I can’t understand you”. Immediately Division A called and said “we are starting a burn out, we are getting in our shelters. I said we got pople in trouble. Tanker called and said I got you in sight. I claimed out – the DC10 swung wide. I looked at John and he did this (slash across the throat). I told Kevin to stand by copy, taking it around. We have a crew in trouble. We are going to go look.
          __________________________________________

          Let me also say that while I have always found this ‘slash across the throat’ gesture from Burfiend to be quite ‘uncalled for’… I do *NOT* believe for one second that this obvious assumption on his part that they were ‘goners’, even at that point in time, had *ANY* effect on him then proceeding to do his job.

          I can also criticize them ( and, indeed, the WFF radio protocols themselves for apparently NOT having a good, established MAYDAY protocol ) for NOT taking the transmissions from Steed and Caldwell seriously for more than TWO MINUTES… but that still doesn’t mean I think they didn’t do all they possibly could to try and save those men that day… when they finally did realize this was a REAL emergency.

          As soon as OPS1 Todd Abel contacted French and Burfiend and *TOLD* them to get their heads out of their asses and RESPOND to these men… they did.

          And once they did ( finally stop ignoring them )… they obviously kicked into their own highly-rehearsed and professional procedures for such a situation.

          I also happen to believe that if there had been *ANY* indication in the next few moments of where they REALLY were ( such as… if Marsh had only taken
          2 seconds to tell them… “we are 600 yards due WEST of Boulder Springs Ranch” )…

          …I believe Thomas French in B33 and Kevin in the DC10 VLAT would have actually attempted a retardant drop… at GREAT risk to their own lives.

          To have flown the jet-engine DC10 through that thick smoke-ass cloud would have been absolute suicide for Kevin… so I don’t think THAT would have happened… but if there was ANY way to get at their location ( if they knew where it was ) OTHER than flying blindly directly THROUGH the smoke/ash cloud…

          I think they would have tried it.

          For the rest of my life… I will always wonder WHY, when Marsh was directly asked by Burfiend…. “So, you’re on the south side of the fire, then?”…

          …all Eric Marsh said was… “Affirm”.

          Obtuse communications. Right to the end.

          If he had just added ANY amount of OTHER information… they at least *MIGHT* have been able to KNOW or GOOD-GUESS their exact location.

          He didn’t… and I will ALWAYS wonder WHY he
          didn’t take that one last chance to identify their
          exact location.

  25. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    **
    ** DID DIVSA ERIC MARSH REALLY CALL BRAVO 33
    ** AT 1637 ABOUT ‘RETARDANT’?

    Reply to calvin post on May 8, 2014 at 2:34 am

    >> calvin said…
    >> I am not sure exactly where Marsh was when he called Bravo33 and said
    >> that is exactly where we want the retardant.

    calvin… see below. I am personally ( and honestly ) still not convinced this
    1637 radio ‘callout’ from Marsh actually took place… or ( if it did ) that it really
    was Eric Marsh that said anything of the sort.

    >> But if he was walking downslope toward the canyon floor, I do not think he
    >> would have been able to see the flight path.

    Assuming this transmission DID take place just as the SAIR reported…

    It’s really not possible. He might have been able to HEAR some planes flying
    over there on the other side of that smoke column… but it’s really not
    credible that he could have SEEN them, at that point. It was almost
    ‘dark as night’ at that point, as well ( as the Glen Ilah resident video proves ).

    >> Because of the short period of time between that call out and the call
    >> announcing the entrapment, we know he HAD to be close.

    Yes. If it happened at all… and at the TIME it supposedly happened… then
    Marsh had to be VERY close to the rest of the men. No question.

    >> There is a small mound between the entrapment/ deployment site and BSR
    >> that is just north of the dozered road (created to remove GM’s bodies).
    >> I think it is possible he was on that mound where he would have had
    >> more visibility.

    Perhaps… and I know exactly the ‘mound’ you are referring to… but that would create the UNBELIEVABLE scenario that Marsh could see exactly what was happening with the fire out ahead of the men still over in the canyon… and he still let them walk right into a deathtrap, anyway.

    There are a LOT of ‘unbelievable’ moments that happened that weekend… ( too many ) but I really can’t get my head around THIS possibility ( that Marsh really might have been ‘out ahead of them’ and in a good ‘forward lookout’ position up on that mound… but he let them all die anyway rather than ‘abort the mission’ ).

    >> calvin also wrote…
    >> I do not believe the GMH were only counting on their speed to outrun
    >> the fire. I do believe they were expecting retardant to be dropped on the
    >> south side of the fire. But as far as I can tell (from post burn pictures),
    >> that never happened.

    I hear ya… but ‘as far as I can tell’… there is still the distinct possibility that this “That’s where we want retardant” transmission from DIVSA Eric Marsh never really happened at all… or that it wasn’t actually Eric that said it.

    Stick with me for a moment while I try to ‘document my confusion’ about
    this (supposed) callout from Marsh to Bravo 33.

    This Air Study video actually covers the 1637 timerame…

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/02ue6bnjp6nazkm/AAA4aB8cuUhL0vwnEy-ja-Ypa/Photos%20and%20Video/AerialFirefightingstudy/Panebaker/Video/Video_with_134175_audio#lh:null-20130630_1643_EP.MOV

    This video is only recording the Air-To-Air channel but it does provide a CLEAR accounting of *EXACTLY* what Air Attack was doing from 1630 and right up through the deployment ( and beyond ).

    There really is nothing in these captured Air Attack conversations that even remotely backs up what the SAIR says was happening at 1637… much less
    Marsh making any “that’s where we want retardant” call(s).

    Hence my ‘confusion’.

    Air Attack ( Bravo 33 ) had the VLAT DC10 910 ( Pilot Kevin ) in a HOLDING
    pattern a full SEVEN MILES OUT from the fire and didn’t even ASK Kevin
    to start to ‘come into the area’ until 14 seconds before 1637. It took almost
    another 2 minutes for the VLAT to even get close to the fire and only then
    BEGIN talking to Air Attack about a ‘show me’ run on the EAST side of
    the fire… and even this initial conversation about a possible ‘show me’ run
    with Air Attack didn’t start until just 24 seconds prior to Steeds first MAYDAY.

    The FULL 12 minute and 22 second transcript of this video has already
    been posted down below in this ‘Chapter 6’. The following is just a
    SUMMARY of that full transcript describing (generally) what Air Attack
    was actually DOING during this timeframe…

    ** USDA AIR STUDY – DISC 4 VIDEO STARTS AT 1630.48 ( 4:30.48 PM )

    NOTE: When the video STARTS… we hear Air Attack (B33) actively lining up
    a REAL drop ( not a practice run ) with a SEAT from NORTH to SOUTH on
    the EAST side of the fire… down near Yarnell. At this point… Air Attack has
    the DC10 VLAT 910 ( Pilot Kevin ) in a ‘holding pattern’ SEVEN MILES OUT
    and away from the fire… and isn’t even STARTING to deal with him yet.

    ( 1631.36 4:31.36 PM ) – AA tells SEAT to follow him for DROP.
    ( 1633.20 4:33.20 PM ) – SEAT drop takes place.
    ( 1633.24 4:33.24 PM ) – SEAT says “Off the drop now”.
    ( 1633.26 4:33.26 PM ) – AA tells SEAT to ‘load and return’.
    ( 1634.11 4:34.11 PM ) – AA tells 910 to set level 4 drop but to still HOLD.
    ( 1634.12 4:34.12 PM ) – AA tells 910 he’ll get back to him.
    ( 1634.40 4:34.40 PM ) – AA tells SEAT Wickenburg is out of retardant.
    ( 1634.42 4:34.42 PM ) – SEAT tells AA he’ll try ‘private club’ for retardant.
    ( 1635.37 4:35.37 PM ) – Chopper 5Q Alpha reports needing to refuel.
    ( 1636.10 4:36.10 PM ) – DOZER AND TRANSPORT go by camera.
    ( 1636.25 4:36.25 PM ) – Chopper 5QA reports landing at Helibase.
    ( 1636.27 4:36.27 PM ) – AA tells 5QA to let him know when he’s back.
    ( 1636.46 4:36.46 PM ) – AA only now tells VLAT 910 to ‘come on in’ to the area.
    ( 1637.05 4:37.05 PM ) – AA tells VLAT 910 target will be flames on EAST side.
    ( 1638.12 4:38.12 PM ) – Chopper 5QA departs to Wickenburg.
    ( 1638.15 4:38.15 PM ) – AA asks 5QA to depart on WEST side of fire.
    ( 1638.42 4:38.42 PM ) – VLAT 910 only now reports ‘approaching area’.
    ( 1639.03 4:39.03 PM ) – AA only now starts talking to 910 about ‘show me’
    ( 1639.27 4:39.27 PM ) – Captain Jesse Steed’s first MAYDAY.
    ( 1639.47 4:39.47 PM ) – Prescott Air Operations (PAO) heard MAYDAY.
    ( 1639.48 4:39.48 PM ) – PAO tells AA ‘get with OPS… something wrong’.
    ( 1639.53 4:39.53 PM ) – AA ignores OPS. Sticks with 901 ‘show me’ talk.
    ( 1641.18 4:41.18 PM ) – AA only now realizes something is happening.
    ( 1641.20 4:41.20 PM ) – AA tells VLAT 910 ‘folks in trouble… just standby’.
    ( 1641.25 4:41.25 PM ) – VLAT 910 copies… tells AA he’ll stage out northeast.
    ( 1641.31 4:41.31 PM ) – AA tells VLAT 910 looks like ‘deployment in progress’.
    ( 1641.33 4:41.33 PM ) – AA asks VLAT 910 for coverage lvl 6 and to ‘standby’.
    ( 1641.39 4:41.39 PM ) – VLAT 910 copies… says he’ll watch AA and standby.
    ( 1643.33 4:43.33 PM ) – USDA AIR STUDY – DISC 4 VIDEO ENDS

    So ( from what I can tell ?? )… there is NOTHING there that supports what the
    SAIR has reported about Marsh ‘seeing a VLAT drop lineup’ fly OVER him
    at 1637 and making ANY kind of radio call like “That’s where we want retardant”.

    Unless it’s the SEAT drop at 1633 that the SAIR was talking about ( which DID
    actually take place and so the time of 1637 is totally wrong )… but even that was
    a SOUTH to NORTH lineup on the EAST side of the fire and never ‘flew over
    Marsh’ at all.

    The most IMPORTANT thing to remember here is that this one single ‘transmission’ from Marsh is based on just ONE SINGLE person’s recollection,
    was NOT captured in any background recordings, and it has not been ‘verified’
    by ANYONE else ( even though it supposedly happened on the *very* popular
    and well-listened-to Air-To-Ground channel ).

    From page 15 of the SAIT Yarnell Investigation Notes ( YIN )…

    **************************************************************************************
    INTERVIEW WITH BRAVO 33
    Interviewees: Bravo 33
    John Burfiend-ATS Specialist
    Clint Clauson – ATS Trainee
    Thomas French – AT Specialist
    Interviewers: Mike Dudley, Brad Mayhew, Tim Foley, Jay Kurth, Jimmy Rocha

    We needed to go back to the right flank ( 1630 AZ time ).
    Made 3 practice runs. Painted 2. We came around.
    Got a call from Division A stating they were going down their escape
    route to the safety zone. Didn’t know Division A was the superintendent
    of the Granite Mountain hot shots. Asked him “is everything OK?” He
    replied “everything is ok, just heading to the safety zone”. We came around,
    made a practice run through the bowl, west to east. I was talking to Tom
    about the rising terrain on exit. Division A clad and said “that is what we are
    looking for, that is exactly right”. Within 5 minutes of that, they went in shelter.
    ************************************************************************************

    So there it is.

    That is the ONLY reference to this (supposed) transmission by (supposedly)
    DIVSA Eric Marsh in the ENTIRE evidence record… and there isn’t even any
    specific TIME reported for it at all.

    Here are the things to ‘consider’ about this ‘testimony’.

    1) This is the ONLY place this transmission from (supposedly) DIVSA
    Eric Marsh is EVER mentioned… even though it (supposedly) took place
    on the well-listened-to Air-To-Ground channel. TWO completely separate
    investigations interviewing MANY people who were constantly monitoring
    that Air-To-Ground channel all day… and this quick blurb in the SAIT
    investigator’s notes recounting just ONE person’s recollection is still the
    ONLY mention of this (supposed) transmission.

    2) There is NOTHING (recorded in the SAIT notes) about this (supposed)
    transmission taking place at 1637, as published in the SAIR. Zero. Zip. Nada.
    It is still a complete mystery how the SAIT actually ‘assigned’ a time of 1637
    to this (supposed) transmission from Eric Marsh to B33 on the Air-To-Ground
    channel. Bravo 33 was even not really ‘sure’ about any of the actual times…
    so how did the SAIT come up with 1637 for this (supposed) transmission?

    3) The interview notes DO say that Bravo 33 reports this as ‘Division A called’…
    but they also do NOT specifically say whether Bravo 33 ALSO said there were
    actual CALL SIGNS involved with this transmission such as “Bravo 33, Division
    Alpha’. Other notes from the Bravo 33 interview establish that they were not only
    ‘unfamiliar’ with who was even working the fire ( because of the piss-poor handoff
    from ATGS / ASM1 / Rory Collins )… they were also not familiar with anyone’s
    VOICES yet. Bravo 33 specifically says they had no idea what OPS1 Todd Abel
    sounded like yet… so UNLESS there were specific CALL SIGNS involved on this
    transmission from Marsh it is doubtful they would have been able to tell it was
    DIVSA Marsh just from the voice. It is still POSSIBLE that this transmission came
    from ‘someone else’ at that time and Bravo 33 is simply mistaken that it was
    actually ‘Division A’ ( Marsh ).

    4) This one single ‘supposed’ transmission from Marsh played a critical
    role in the published SAIR document since they are using this one single
    transmission as the defacto END of the (supposed) ‘blackout period’ where
    they say they had ‘no direct verifiable transmissions’ from either Marsh
    or Granite Mountain… yet it (actually) remains one of the most ‘unverified’
    transmissions on record that day.

    It is ONLY being ‘recalled’ by one single source ( ONE person ) and even
    though others SHOULD have heard this transmission over the well-listened-to
    Air-To-Ground channel… NO ONE ELSE in ANY interview or testimony spanning
    TWO separate investigations recalls hearing it at all.

    I still think it is ‘suspicious’ that the SAIT gave absolute ‘verified transmission’
    status to this one (supposed) unrecorded radio callout from Marsh with only
    ONE person seeming to ‘recall’ it ( when many others SHOULD have also
    heard it… but apparently did NOT ).

    There are still MANY other ‘transmissions’ that were actually captured in videos
    and in audio tracks that the SAIT chose to call ‘not verifiable’, yet they chose
    THIS (unrecorded) moment as so ‘verifiable’ that it ‘officially’ represents the
    END of the (supposed) ‘blackout’.

    It still almost seems like they were going to great lengths to make sure
    this one (supposed) statement about a ‘retardant drop’ made it into the
    ‘official narrative’ and the ‘official public report’.. regardless of how thin
    its ‘verifiableness’ really was.

    We can OBVIOUSLY hear ( with our own ears in the Air Study video ) that ‘Air
    Attack’ himself NEVER got this transmission at all.

    So the ONLY possibility is that the other guy in the plane who was listening to
    any ‘Air to Ground’ traffic was the ONLY one who actually heard this.

    I am not saying he is WRONG or ‘imagining things’… but our ability to actually
    VERIFY this ( as to caller ID and TIME, and what was actually said ) is seriously
    non-existent.

    I just wish there was an equivalent ADOSH interview transcript with Bravo 33
    ( French and Burfiend ) to ‘compare’ the SAIT (YIN) notes to and be SURE that
    this ONE person’s recollection isn’t flawed, or that he simply was mistaken
    about WHO was ‘calling that in’ to him.

    There isn’t ( an equivalent ADOSH or other ‘independent’ interview with B33
    French/Burfiend ).

    Not yet… anyway.

    • calvin says

      At the 23 second mark of the 1637 Panebaker video there is a background transmission that I cannot make out. This video is only 39 seconds long and would put the 23 second mark near 1637. If you do not mind reviewing, I would appreciate it.

      Otherwise, I hear you. I also want to know how the SAIT came up with this “quote.”

      How does the 4490 red video that was taken around deployment time fit into all of this?

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        I know the +23 transmission in the 163700 Panebaker video that you speak of. I checked my Air Study notes and what I have for that is someone simply saying something about a “horse in the road” that they need to “take care of”.

        I will re-listen to this 39 second video and get back.

        As for the 4490red video… I don’t know.

        Makes about as much sense ( time-wise ) as the Tom Story photo showing a full VLAT DC10 dump at exactly the moment of Steed’s first MAYDAY ( which is also not supported by any other evidence for being at that time ).

        It could be that the 1633 SEAT DROP ( which definitely happened and is captured in that video ) is what Marsh MAY have seen and was reacting to THAT.

        The ‘recollection’ might simply be wrong about what they were doing when they heard the transmission. Maybe Marsh had seen the actualy 1633 drop and THAT is what he meant by “That’s where we want retardant”… and it wasn’t a response to any ‘line up’ flight at all.

        More later…

        • Marti Reed says

          RE Tom’s VLAT photos:

          I decided to walk away from that, because the pain of picking my way thru it was greater than desperation to figure it out….

          However, now that I found your posting of the list of the drops, I’ve been thinking hmmmmm is it possible he’s photographing the 1706 T910 drop? Of course the problem with that is that at about the same time (I think?) he was photographing the Blue Ridge UTV leaving the Ranch House Parking Lot…..

          I don’t have Lightroom open, so I’m not looking at the photos, just doing this off the top of my head…….

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            The Tom Story camera that we have narrowed the time offset down on ( the one he was using in the Ranch House Restaurant parking lot ) is this one…

            Canon EOS-5D Mark II

            The ‘big boy’ with the 300mm lens that seems to show a VLAT drop right at 1639 ( and we haven’t determined the time offset for yet ) is this one…

            Canon EOS-1D Mark II N

            I already checked the obvious ( 1 hour difference because of timezone set incorrectly ) but that doesn’t appear to be the problem.

            BOTH of these cameras were ‘stamping’ using a -07:00 offset from GMT that day.

            More later…

            • Marti Reed says

              Actually, Tom was using two Canon 5D Mark IIs.

              One with id 552301203 with a 70-200 mm f/2.8 L lens (major everybody’s favorite workhorse zoom lens), and another with id 720306928 with a 16-34 mm f/2.8 L lens for wide angle shots.

              They both seem to be accurately time-stamped.

              On the 1D Mark II id 401063, his most state-of-the-art camera, with which he shot the VLAT drop that I may be getting closer to time-stamping (he was so far off that I think maybe he hadn’t bothered to set the time, just the date–perhaps it was brand new??), he was using a 300 mm f/2.8 L lens. That’s a pretty big honkin’ lens. And heavy.

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                Marti… in folder ONE of Tom Story’s online photos ( the folder that does NOT have any Ranch House Restaurant photos )… he shot a LOT of ‘retardant drop’ sequences and they appear to have ALL been shot with this same ‘Canon EOS-1D Mark II N’ camera that was then later used for the (supposed) 1639 VLAT drop.

                I suppose if we can just match ANY of these ‘drops’ that he photographed with THAT camera we will know if the that 1639 VLAT drop photo has an accurate timestamp or not.

                I’m looking at it from this end as well. There is NO EVIDENCE that ANY VLAT drop took place ANYWHERE on that fire at 1639… when Tom Story’s photo seems to say it did.

                I was hoping for just a 1 hour (incorrect) time zone setting… but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

                • Marti Reed says

                  Thx for this, WTK!

                  I had downloaded a smattering of photos from both folders, but just kinda randomly. Just downloaded a bunch more, more strategically. Looks like he photographed three VLAT drops. Will look at them much more closely after Mothers Day Lunch!

                  I’m starting to think he set up that camera quickly, just setting the date, and not the time. Thus the stamp when first shot a frame on it would have been 00:00:00. I don’t know if I have the time to figure out what to synch on. But if I can pin one of those VLATs, it might be possible to nail it.

                  That being said, I’m currently thinking that drop might be the 1707ish one. I just don’t know where he took it from. I don’t know where that drop was, exactly. Do you? If it was visible from the RHR parking lot, he could have caught it w/that 300mm easily.

                  Plus, I’m not sure that folder just has the 1Ds. But I’ll examine them later today for sure!

                • Marti Reed says

                  Hah! I just found what looks like a tight sequence of the same event, using both a Mark D and the 1D! It’s the red and white helicopter picking up a bucket at the helispot and heading into the smoke…

                  Looks good…more later….

                • Marti Reed says

                  OK, if this helicopter sequence shows the 1D is set about 20 minutes late, that would put the problematic VLAT drop at 4:17– the split drop.

                  OK, really got to get going….

    • Marti Reed says

      A little note on terminology:

      The voice in the video is that of French, who is in the role of Lead Plane, not Air Attack. That’s why he is on Air-to-Air. He’s not listening to Air-to-Ground.

      When you hear the voice/callout of Air Attack, on Air-to-Ground, that is Burfiend. He’s not listening to Air-to-Air.

      The only way each one knows what’s going on on the other’s channel is via their communication with each other.

      So the person telling the story of their recollection of the communication with Div A would have been Burfiend.

      Other than that, yep, copy. So now that I’ve downloaded that video, I’ll go watch it.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Marti… thank you.

        Yes… that is ‘how it was’ in that timeframe.

        They were obviously able to just ‘talk’ to each other in
        the plane but each one was ONLY listening to the one
        frequency, apparently.

        Don’t forget that the 163338 Panebaker video actually
        SHOWS the ‘real time’ SEAT drop that actually happens
        in the other video detailed above.

        They come in from the SOUTH ( lined up on that radio tower as the conversation says ) and they drop on the EAST side of the fire.

        There is no ‘West to East’ flyover as described in the SAIR and there was no chance of it flying OVER Marsh… but that doesn’t mean he might not have ‘seen it’… and THIS 1633 SEAT drop is what he might have actually been referring to with his “That’s where we want retardant” message.

        A public copy of this Air Study video is in Mr. Dougherty’s online Dropbox at…

        https://www.dropbox.com/sh/y3jy5opssrcvzb3/S3cCXl9pjr/AerialFirefightingstudy/Panebaker/Video/Video#lh:null-20130630_163338_fire_behavior_EP.MOV

        • Marti Reed says

          I’m thinking you may be onto something here.

          LOL I’m still downloading the 20130630_1628_ER.MOV file that I’ve been downloading for the past hour and a half, having slowed it down exponentially by trying to watch a bunch of other videos at the same time…..

          But as soon as it finally finishes, I’ll take a look at that one. I still haven’t actually been able to play anythng in any manner that lets me actually SEE what’s going on……

          • Bob Powers says

            Also WTKTT and Marti
            Bothe of the drops on the Video were to far out in front of the fire to do any good. The did not fly into the smoke to hit the flames.
            Again it is hard to use air tankers at the front of a running fire. Smoke wind and no visibility reduce accuracy of drops. If GM was under the smoke they would not have seen them to make an accurate drop. Only in the movies. OLD SAYING— Never expect an air drop to save your ass, if they can’t see you they can’t hit you…

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Reply to Bob Powers post
              on May 9, 2014 at 1:39 pm

              >> Mr. Powers said…
              >> Both of the drops on the Video
              >> were too far out in front of the fire
              >> to do any good.

              Right after the 1633 SEAT drop…
              both the Lead Plane Pilot ( B33
              French ) and the SEAT pilot are
              LAUGHING and this is what is said…

              +2:46 ( 1633.34 / 4:33.34 PM )
              (French): Yea… we liked your drop…
              I know there was a lotta fire in there… but… ah… (laughter) nicely done

              +2:50 ( 1633.38 / 4:33.38 )
              (Unknown): Yea (laughter)… it’s…
              it’s like spittin’ at it.

              They both KNEW it wasn’t doing a damn bit of good… but what the heck… they get paid by the ‘hour’ and not by the ‘results’.

        • Marti Reed says

          Looking back over the transcript of Bravo Lead Pilot talking to the VLAT 910 while they’re setting up for the drop.

          I can’t tell if Bravo is actually flying a “show me” or they’re just circling. It kinda reads like Bravo is actually flying the show me, which would mean he would have been flying over the bowl.

          What do you think?

          And also I’m asking this of Bob Powers, who seems to be the one of us with the most experience of this stuff……

          • Bob Powers says

            Yes very likely the fir was not that big to circle and make runs and keep all the plains apart would cover a lot of air space. circling the fire at different altitudes or even locations. as I said earlier the plains could have flown over Marsh and crew at any time
            in a 8 mile square area. Setting up to make a run takes a lot of maneuvering. Dose that help?

            • Marti Reed says

              Thanks. Yes.

              Lead plane says to VLAT 910:

              “If you need more altitude let me know… you should be okay at sixty five,
only other aircraft I’ve seen is a media ship at this time (at) niner-thousand
five hundred.”

              He had that space cleared out completely.

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                Right after the 1633 SEAT drop… it was ‘load and return’ time for that SEAT. French didn’t get back to Kevin ( DC10 ) right away because he had to take a moment to inform the now departing SEAT that Wickenburg was ‘out of retardant’. Departing SEAT says he will try a ‘private club’ in Wickenburg. French gives him permission to do that… and only then begins to turn his attention to Kevin… SEVEN miles out and ‘holding’.

                As Kevin is ‘coming in’… French tells him “we’re pretty much alone on the fire now”.

                So YES… the space was cleared out. The other DC10 was ‘on approach’ to Yarnell but still quite a ways out.

                Except for the choppers, that is. They ( apparently ) just continued to do pretty much whatever they wanted to… just as they had been doing all day.

          • Marti Reed says

            Which would also correspond to Burfiend saying in the interview that they made a practice flight over the bowl west to east….

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Marti… yes. Probably so. See my other post about the ‘plan’ apparently being to just try to get ‘in position’ to be in FRONT of Kevin ( DC10 910 ) as he came into the area from the SOUTH and be ready to just ‘angle in front of him’ for a quick ‘show me’ as soon as he entered the area.

              This ‘jockeying for position’ while waiting for Kevin to arrive on the fire and ‘acquire a visual’ on them might be the ‘practice runs’ mentioned in the B33 YIN notes.

          • Marti Reed says

            I think, now, after going over the transcripts, they did fly the show me, but it was exactly when Jesse made the mayday, bcuz the call from Prescott (who heard Jesse’s mayday) came right while Bravo was flying over the bowl west to east.

            Chilling.

            So, to get out of stun mode and back to analytical mode, if Eric made any call on air to ground about “that’s where we want it,” it had to have been about an earlier flight. So that would mean the actual SEAT drop.

            This timeline is a beast to pull together.

          • Marti Reed says

            On the other hand, continuing to think out loud,

            It’s possible Eric is watching the Bravo Lead Plane and VLAT 910 circling around the bowl, which is what they were doing, before the show me, at 3:47, and that’s when he Air2Grounds “that’s it that’s where we want it.” And that’s what Burfiend would have heard.

            Is that impossible?

            I’m thinking out loud so thanks for your patience, every one…..

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              Marti… the way I read that transcript in the 1630 to 1643 timeframe… my take is that when French ( Lead Plane Duty ) finally turned his attention to Kevin ( VLAT DC10 910 ) circa 1636.46 ( just 14 seconds before 1637 )… and told him to ‘come on in’ from his ‘holding pattern’ SEVEN MILES away… and said “Have I got a project for you!”… what he wanted to have happen at that point was to be ‘in position’ to do a ‘show me’ for Kevin as soon as he ‘entered the area’.

              So YES… there must have been a lot of ‘circling’ going on at that moment as he waited for Kevin to ‘come on in’ and get a VISUAL on him.

              We can even hear the two of them struggling to ‘acquire’ that visual as Kevin brought the DC10 in. It isn’t until Kevin says “Okay… I see your beacon” that he actually DID ‘acquire that visual’.

              But now we are just seconds BEFORE Steed’s first MAYDAY.

              So I guess it is ‘possible’ that as French was ‘circling around’ in anticipation of getting in FRONT of Kevin as he came in from the SOUTH… French could have been
              literally ‘all over the place’ down there.

              Maybe he did circle WAAAY out over that middle bowl doing some kind of ‘practice run’ to get in front of Kevin as he came in from the SOUTH… and Marsh simply just ‘saw’ French ‘jockeying for position’ as Kevin approached…

              …but that still doesn’t warrant Marsh’s (unsolicited) “That’s exactly what we want!” radio call.

              That ‘circling around’ to get into position to lead Kevin on a SOUTH to NORTH ‘show me’ on the far EAST side of the fire as Kevin ‘arrived’ in the area would have had nothing to do with where they actually planned to drop any retardant.

              So we’re supposed to believe Marsh just saw some small plane wildly circling around up in the air down there and somehow thought that was an indication of where retardant was going to be dropped?

              Fer cryin’ out loud.

              If Marsh really was all that concerned about ‘helping’ get retardant dropped somewhere… then why isn’t there MORE radio traffic to that effect where we at least hear Marsh trying to CONFIRM where they planned on dropping ANYTHING?

              Do I still confused about all this?
              You damn betcha.

                • Marti Reed says

                  And yes, I can see you may be right here:
                  “…but that still doesn’t warrant Marsh’s (unsolicited) “That’s exactly what we want!” radio call.”

              • Marti Reed says

                What makes you say:
                “That ‘circling around’ to get into position to lead Kevin on a SOUTH to NORTH ‘show me’ on the far EAST side of the fire”

                When Burfiend says it’s a west to east “over the bowl”?

                • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                  Marti… I am on a ‘learning curve’ here with all this information myself… but that is simply what it SOUNDS like is happening from the transcript(s) of the audio conversations.

                  Yes… something about ‘west to east’ practice is runs is mentioned in SAIT interview notes… but I am focused more at the moment on what the AUDIO captures ACTUALLY tell us about what they were REALLY doing.

                  Even though the ‘show me’ is long past 1637 and just moments before Steed’s first MAYDAY… French has obviously started the ‘show me’ and is explaining what he wants to Kevin in the DC10… and he uses compass headings.

                  French says “…and my heading starting out was three six zero and ended up about three three five’.

                  Flying a ‘heading’ of ‘three six zero’ means you are flying DUE NORTH.

                  There is no ZERO compass heading in aviation. True north is always referred to by pilots as ‘three six zero’.

                  So flying a heading of ‘three six zero’ for the start of the drop and ending up with a heading of ‘three three five’ means flying a due SOUTH TO NORTH flight path and then banking a little to your LEFT and ending up with a heading of 335 degrees ( sorta north/northwest ).

                  There are OTHER clues in that transcript such as French specifically asking the chopper that is leaving the area to fly down the WEST side of the fire to stay ‘out of the way’.

                  Why would he be ASKING the chopper to exit the area to the WEST if that’s where he was planning on flying with Kevin?

    • Marti Reed says

      Another thing about this AIR ATTACK terminology.

      I posted this video a few weeks ago. I don’t know if anybody watched it. It’s REALLY REALLY helpful, about the most helpful thing I’ve come across regarding how Air Attack actually works.

      I think there’s a TON of CONFUSION in our discussion about Air Attack. And that’s NOT helping us figure things out or communicate accurately to whomever may be reading this.

      In this really well made BLM National Incident Fire Center video, called “Firefighting Airspace (2012 Refresher),” Steve Price, Aerial Supervisor, BLM Boise District, clearly describes and illustrates how Air Attack works. Then, at 6:16, he clearly describes how the Aerial Supervision Module, i.e. BRAVO, works, and, then, how the communications system is organized.

      The pilot of the plane (i.e. for Bravo 33 at Yarnell being FRENCH, not Burfiend) functions as a lead plane pilot, and communicates primarily over Air-to-Air with the other pilots. That is his job. That’s why I’m saying to you, WTKTT, that you are incorrect in ascribing that voice/role to Burfiend.

      The not-pilot of the plane (i.e. for Bravo 33 at Yarnell being BURFIEND, not French) functions as Air Attack, and communicates primarily over Air-to-Ground with the crews and overhead and whoever else on the ground. Again, WTKTT, when you say that, in the interview, it’s French speaking, that, also, is not accurate.

      When one needs to let the other know something, they tell each other. French, as overheard in the Air Study videos, was functioning as lead plane, and being heard in the videos, communicating over air-to-air. He didn’t hear the Steed Mayday. He was trying to line up the VLAT T910 drop, a challenging job in itself, all things considered. How that Prescott notification got picked up in that video I have no idea. I don’t think French probably even heard it.

      Burfiend is the one speaking in the interview. He’s the one who would have been busy doing other things when Steed did his Air to Ground “MayDay.” He’s the one who would have been in communication with Div A. I’m guessing he would have heard the Prescott call. Probly about the same time OPS got his attention, also. He’s the one who would have told French, we’ve got a problem on the ground, at which point French notified T910 of the problem and told him to go on standby.

      In order to even begin to accurately understand what we are seeing/hearing in these videos, and what we are reading in these reports, interviews, etc., we really need to clear up our confusion about this stuff.

      Here’s the link:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fjF2KQ75TY&index=147&list=PLTErVrHH6uJja-ljtn7z9Q5Sz9WtCPGw1

      Also, since I’ve spent the morning reading all your Air Study posts, WTKTT, yes that 4:16/4:18 T-911 pair of videos was a split-drop in which, as the list indicates, the first drop was “at” 1615 and the second was “at” 1617. So, as unbelievable as it may sound, those two drops came two minutes apart.

      And thanks for all the heavy lifting you did getting those videos transcribed and analyzed. It wasn’t until I stumbled across that Firefighting Airspace video, that my own confusion started lifting enough for me to even begin to comprehend what we are encountering. Because it really is……..CONFUSING!

      • Marti Reed says

        And now that I just wrote all that, it also means that whether or not that 4:37 Marsh communication with BURFIEND happened, it WOULDN’T have shown up on the Air Study video, because it wasn’t Air-to-Air. And it wasn’t with FRENCH, who wasn’t AIR ATTACK.

        So the only way it will emerge is if it’s via a video that has Air to Ground at that time overheard, or if someone who was listening, as you have said WTKTT, that VERY MUCH listened to Air to Ground frequency overheard it and would like to speak up about that somewhere sometime somehow.

        Burfiend’s a pretty awesome guy. I don’t think he would be making something up. I think both of them were doing a SPECTACULAR job, all things considered. Including the fact that they were left clueless about what was happening in the midst of total chaos and had to figure out a whole lot of things on the fly.

        • Bob Powers says

          Marti as you explained above you rang a bell.
          The that’s exactly were we want it came fro the Air attack boss telling the lead plane he was right on.
          some times no one answers as he was expecting to hear that or hear he was not in the right place.
          Happens all the time between lead and air.
          I am saying it never was Marsh.

          • Bob Powers says

            If it was not Air Attack
            It would have been some one close to the drop zone talking on air to ground. have to figure this out. Maybe one of the OPS.
            I am still betting it was not Marsh.
            If there was to much smoke he may have heard the Plains but never would have seen them. I am in agreement with WTKTT that the smoke was to thick to see the plains at that time. Marsh would have wanted a drop on his head and the crews at that point not dropping on the flames would not even slow that fire down.

            • Marti Reed says

              I think I’m agreeing with you here. I kind of put this idea out, trying to wrestle the timeline together, this being the last straw.

              Watching the Air Study Video of the VLAT split drop some 20 minutes earlier, I could see Bravo33 flying and leading the VLAT 911, but only just barely. And that’s when they were both coming down much lower to actually do the drops.

              I think if Eric was watching when Bravo 33 did the practice run from west to east over the bowl, he might have been able to see it, if the smoke wasn’t too thick, or maybe hear it. But, unfortunately, that didn’t happen until 4:39 while Steed was making his mayday call and, alas, it was too late for any meaningful signal from Eric saying “yes that’s where we want it.”

              So since I don’t think Burfiend made that up, and he’s saying it happened while they were flying “show me” from west to east over the bowl, in the midst of all that smoke and whatever (which they WERE IN FACT DOING over on the other side of the fire before they came to this side), the only thing I can think of is that somebody else must have said that. It’s really a stumper.

              Thanks Bob for helping me think this through!

              • Marti Reed says

                And if Eric, or anybody else, had said it over AirToGround, at 4:39, while Bravo 33 was flying (I think, but I could be wrong) a “show me” from west to east over the bowl, everybody that was listening to Air to Ground then, which included a WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE (including us watching/listening to the “Last Minutes” video, would have heard it, also

                So at this point, I, personally admit I can’t figure this one out, based on the data we currently have, and am willing to admit defeat, given that I’m not all that sure what difference it ultimately makes in the general scheme of things, anyway.

          • Marti Reed says

            At this time, “Air Attack” was Burfiend, sitting in Bravo 33 with French, who was flying as Lead Plane. It was fully functioning as an Air Support Module, with both Lead Plane and Air Attack bundled into one vehicle. So what you are saying here doesn’t work.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to Marti Reed post on May 9, 2014 at 11:50 am

        >> Marti said…
        >> Because it really is……..CONFUSING!

        Yes… it is… and the SAIT interview notes with Bravo 33 are
        really such a MESS that it just compounds things.

        For example…

        >> Marti also said…
        >> Burfiend is the one speaking in the interview.

        No… not exclusively. There are ‘quotes’ in these interview
        notes from BOTH of them… but since it is all written as
        ‘first person perspective’ it is NEVER clear in those SAIT
        interview notes ( at any particular moment ) WHO is really
        being ‘quoted’ ( Burfiend or French ).

        The SAIT interview notes with Bravo 33 contain specific
        references for BOTH Burfiend AND French being the ones
        ‘quoted’… but it keeps CHANGING.

        Examples from the YIN interview notes…

        ( See if you can ‘follow the bouncing ball’ here as to
        who is suddenly ‘speaking’ to the SAIT interviewers )…
        ________________________________________________
        Paragraph 4…
        I knew there was 2 structural groups. I wrote down 2.
        Tom said “hey dude, you are the air attack”.

        Paragraph 13…
        I was talking to Tom about the rising terrain on exit.

        Paragraph 17…
        I told Tom “lets fly something further down”.

        Same Paragraph (17)… but only 8 sentences later…
        I looked at John and he did this (slash across the throat).
        I told Kevin to stand by copy, taking it around.

        Same Paragraph (17)… just 4 sentences later…
        At first KA wanted to get the bucket but John said “no,
        we need to find these guys”.

        Last paragraph…
        Because of the attitude, I was working hard trying to
        stay 3 drops in front of Tom.
        _______________________________________________

        So not only is the TIME all distorted in this ‘interview’ with
        them jumping back and forth all over the place…

        …one moment it is (apparently) Burfiend speaking in the
        ‘first person’… then suddenly it’s French speaking in the
        ‘first person’… then it’s (apparently) back to Burfiend again.

        I could almost understand them ‘splitting’ the interview notes into ‘top-half’ and ‘bottom-half’ with one or the other being
        French or Burfiend then speaking from the first-person…

        …but there’s no indication that’s what they were doing, either. It’s all just a jumbled MESS.

        By the way…

        There were THREE people in that airplane.

        SAIT INTERVIEW WITH BRAVO 33 – July 9, 2013 – 1700
        Interviewees: Bravo 33
        John Burfiend-ATS Specialist
        Clint Clauson – ATS Trainee
        Thomas French – AT Specialist

        What RADIO CHANNEL does anyone think the 3rd guy
        in the plane ( Clauson ) was ‘listening to’ that day?

        Since he is listed as an ATS Trainee… and French is
        only listed as an ‘AT’… does that automatically mean
        this mysterious Clauson guy was only interested in
        what Burfiend ( ATS Specialist ) was doing… and so
        was only listening to ‘Air-To-Ground’ like Burfiend?

        If that is the case… then that means this Clauson guy
        would have heard EVERYTHING Burfiend did… including
        this (supposed) “That’s what we want” transmission from
        DIVSA Eric Marsh.

        But ( apparently ) even though the SAIT had this Clauson
        guy sitting right there in the interview… they never asked
        him anything and he is (apparently?) not quoted anywhere
        in that interview. Very strange.

        Also… now that I have re-read the SAIT Bravo 33 notes
        to grab the ‘follow the bouncing ball’ quotes… I just realized
        that this Bravo 33 interview ALSO proves without a
        shadow of a doubt that OPS1 Todd Abel was ‘fully engaged’
        with Bravo 33 throughout the entire ‘swtich to the south
        side of the fire’ Air Operations shift… and right on up
        through the deployment.

        There are quotes in the B33 YIN interview which indicate
        OPS1 Todd Abel was VERY ‘focused’ on the Air-To-Ground
        channel and conversing directly with Burfiend right up
        to Steed’s first MAYDAY call ( and beyond ).

        So that means if Eric Marsh really did suddenly come
        onto the Air-To-Ground channel at 1637 with his
        ( unsolicited ) “That’s what we want” transmission…

        …that OPS Todd Abel MUST have heard it right along
        with Burfiend ( and the Clauson guy )… along with ALL
        the other people who were no-doubt listening to that
        ‘popular’ Air-To-Ground channel.

        But NOWHERE in ANY of his interviews with two separate
        investigations does Todd Abel say he ever heard any
        such transmission.

        It really is important to figure this out.

        Not only because the SAIT chose to label this one single
        ‘transmission’ as ‘totally verified’ and THEN use it as the
        defacto ‘end’ of the (supposed) ‘verifiable communications’
        blackout period…

        …but also because it’s simply important to KNOW if
        DIVSA Eric Marsh ever really did say any such thing.

        • Marti Reed says

          So….. I’ve spent the day downloading and watching and trying to learn from the videos. And trying to be unbiased about it. And still struggling with that Marsh call that Burfiend (who I really respect) notes. And being seriously impressed by French’s behavior, even tho you diss him for the chuckles. I see him as doing a really good job of a really complicated task and the chuckles are to support the pilots, and I think they’re doing a better and more professional job than a whole bunch of other people on that clusterf*ck fiasco of a fire.

          But reading what you are writing here, and yeah. The SAIT was a joke. Not an investigation. This is totally unprofessional. But I don’t blame Burfiend and French for it.

          I sit here thinking maybe sometime I should head down to Silver City to have a conversation. If I can find the time. Which I maybe can’t. All things considered. Hopefully whoever is in charge of the lawsuits will.

  26. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to calvin post on May 8, 2014 at 3:08 am

    >> calvin said…
    >>
    >> Div A tells Rory Collins the other crew is in the black and they were
    >> headed back to the rigs.
    >>
    >> Questions.
    >> 1. What other crew? Is he referring to a squad of GMH? No?
    >> 2. Who is the “They”, that were headed back to the rigs??
    >> 3. Does this indicate that Marsh was not in the black circa 1530?

    calvin… I knew you were going to ‘catch’ that.

    This statement from Air Attack Rory Collins has always been there ( in his SAIT interview notes ) and has always been sort of just laying there like a turd on the table.

    It’s never really been fully discussed.

    The elusive Mr. Collins was (apparently) NEVER interviewed by ADOSH but it was not for lack of them trying to.

    Once again… here is that ‘cut’ from the SAIT investigators’ NOTES from their ( apparent ) interview with Air Attack Rory Collins…

    _________________________________________________________________
    ** SAIT interview with Rory Collins…

    Air Attack – LDF – Roseburg
    Interview took place at 11:00 a.m. 7/13/2013
    Interviewers: Rocha, Kurth, Mike Dudley, Jim Karels.

    15:30 Experienced wind shift and the flank turned and became the
    head going SOUTH to Yarnell. I let B(?) know prior to the shift to
    move to that side and start drops.
    15:30 – 15:45 The fire was headed for Yarnell moving FAST to the SOUTH.
    They were getting retardant drops. Contacted Division A to tell them of fire
    condition and that they needed to move their rigs to a better location.
    Q: Did he say he was in good black?
    A: NO, he said the other crew was in a good location in the black and
    they were headed back to the rigs.
    __________________________________________________________________

    As for your questions…

    >> 1. What other crew? Is he referring to a squad of GMH? No?

    It’s hard to tell… but the way I have always read that confusing note from the SAIT investigator(s) is that Marsh might have been referring to ‘Blue Ridge’ as the ‘other crew’ ( or specifically Frisby and Brendan in the UTV ) and that ‘they’ were ‘headed back to the rigs’ ( Even though the ‘in the black’ part of that statement would then make no sense at all ).

    >> 2. Who is the “They”, that were headed back to the rigs??

    See above. My mind wants to say it was a reference to Blue Ridge ( or just Frisby and Brendan ) since they really were ‘headed back to the rigs’ at that time… but is it possible that at that moment Marsh talked to Collins Marsh really did think there was time for Granite Mountain to ‘head back to the rigs’?

    Is it possible that was the ‘plan’ that Marsh actually was referring to in other documented conversations around this time?

    >> 3. Does this indicate that Marsh was not in the black circa 1530?

    If Marsh was actually on the VERY top of the ‘Weaver Mountains’… then yes… I don’t think it can be said that he was technically ‘in the black’ at that point. Even now… with Google Maps defaulting to post-fire imagery, there are places up there where Marsh could have been that never really burned at all.

    These aren’t the *only* notes from the SAIT’s (supposed) interview with Rory Collins that are totally mystifying and unexplained.

    That entire SAIT Investigation Notes page for Collins’ interview is basically a joke.

    ADOSH tried and tried to interview the elusive Mr. Collins… but (apparently) never succeeded since there is NOTHING in the ADOSH FOIA/FOIL documentation package that represents either an in-person or a telephone interview with ATGS / ASM1 / Rory Collins.

    Strangely enough, however… the ADOSH contracted WFAR report makes DIRECT references to ‘our interview with ATGS / ASM1 / Rory Collins’…

    Example 1… page 37 of WFAR.

    NOTE: This is where the WFAR is using the known incident of Rory Collins dropping retardant on Marsh’s (planned) burnouts as an example of the MANY ‘mis-communications’ that were happening on that fire pretty much all day long. The WFAR specifically says that it interviewed ATGS / ASM1 / Rory Collins about this and it is QUOTING him…
    _________________________________________________________________
    A good example of the lack of communication from the briefing that occurred on June 30 was the test fire that GMIHC was igniting. During the morning at the top of the ridge, GMIHC was planning to burnout a small section of line to create the fire perimeter down to a two-track road. While they were igniting the test fire, two SEAT retardant drops extinguished their test fire between 1130 and 1145. The Air Tactical Group Supervisor (ATGS) did not know the purpose of the burning and dropped retardant on it, forcing GMIHC to go to direct attack on the fires perimeter. Planning OSC failed to inform ATGS of the tactics for the fire. During our interview with the ATGS on ASM1, he stated that they did not have a firm understanding of where the division breaks were. He stated that they could see the dozer, but did not understand its mission. The dozer was constructing a contingency line from west to east, which when complete, would allow a firing operation to be conducted when conditions were favorable. If ATGS had known this, they could have reinforced the dozer line with retardant instead of picking a location just to the north.
    __________________________________________________________________

    Again… there is NO DOCUMENTATION in the ADOSH FOIA/FOIL package that supports these statements in the WFAR report, or establishes ( for sure and certain ) that ADOSH ( or anyone associated with WFA ) was able to ever interview Rory Collins.

    There are specific memos in the ADOSH ’emails and correspondence’ part of the FOIA/FOIL release that show ADOSH reminding the Wildland Firefighting Associates contractors that NO INTERVIEWS could take place WITHOUT an ADOSH representative present, so it is unlikely that WFA ever interviewed Collins on their own and that might be why the transcript of such and interview never made it into the ADOSH FOIA/FOIL release.

    It’s still a BIG MYSTERY.

    ATGS / ASM1 / Rory Collins was/is a KEY PLAYER in what was happening on the Yarnell Hill Fire on BOTH Saturday AND Sunday…

    …but he still really doesn’t seem to have been properly interviewed
    by any competent investigator(s).

    More on this later…

      • Marti Reed says

        You’re correct. The SAIR is not.

        This whole air support organization/terminology thing has been some of the most mind-boggling and confusing stuff I’ve been struggling to understand this whole time. Apparently the SAIT didn’t understand it either!

        • Bob Powers says

          The only two small plains should have been.
          Air Attack Boss– Ground to air coordination.
          Lead Plane—-Takes orders from Air Attack and leads the Air tankers thru the drops. also may make first run to set up drop and show where to drop.
          Some times Air Attack can also serve as Lead plane as needed.
          Normally the lead plane is a 1 person contract or employee Pilot, who is dispatched with the Air Tankers. Clear as mud right.
          Also the call numbers B33 would have been the numbers on the Plane unless they were assigned call numbers. ASM1 is there working ID. but not use normally as a call sign.

          • Marti Reed says

            Exactly. (See my post above with the video that explains this stuff).

            I think a big part of the confusion is the shifting relationships with Rory Collins being Air Attack when he’s there and Bravo 3 or 33 being Lead Plane, and Bravo 3 or 33 being both Air Attack and Lead Plane when he isn’t.

            We-who-are-not-familiar-with-this-stuff are getting really confused by the way we’re encountering it. And it doesn’t help that both SAIT and ADOSH inaccurately communicate it, also. It just gets bewildering.

            But I think I’m getting a WHOLE lot clearer about it.

            • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

              And to make matters worse ( but still
              something that is totally relevant to
              figuring out what happened THAT
              DAY in Yarnell )…

              What is the damn ‘procedure’ for ‘notifying OPS and/or ground forces’ when these guys are playing “musical AA, ATGS, LP” all day up above them?

              Is there no ‘procedure’ at ALL for this?

              One minute you are pressing your microphone button on Channel 10 and/or 16 and you are talking to one guy… and seconds later you can press the microphone button again and you are now talking to a completely different guy who MAY or MAY NOT now even know who the hell YOU are? ( Depending on whether the changeover was piss-poor Collins style or not? )

              When ( and HOW? ) were even OPS people like Abel or Musser even being ‘officially notified’ that these guys were changing jobs like tag-team wrestlers up above them that day?

              I am not hearing ANYTHING that resembles ‘notifications’ about any of this in ANY of the captured radio traffic from that day.

              Is that NORMAL?

  27. The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

    WOW.

    Elizabeth has been chastised a few times in the past for multiple accusations against several different people who have posted here, that they were all actually one person, using different names. Myself, WTKTT, RTS, RS, Fire20+, and probably some others are included in that group. Despite the chastizing, she has continued to accuse others of this, without a shread of evidence

    There is a recent on-going discussion down below, where she once again accused SEVERAL posters of being one person. She was called-out by several people, who said she owed RTS an apology.

    She out-snarked everyone with her ridiculous response, stating she would apologize, ‘if only it weren’t true’.

    I then called her out again, myself, and since the only person I actually know here IS myself, and I’M NOT WTKTT as she has alleged, I told her that at the very least she owed WTKTT and myself an apology, and if she didn’t, I was done with her, period.

    FINALLY, she has revealed what stellar investigative skills she used to expose us all to the light of day.

    Elizabeth on May 8, 2014 at 1:48 pm said:

    TTWARE, as you might recall, it was “Observer” and I who both noticed the same thing a while ago. Specifically, when a question was asked of YOU, it was WTKTT who replies. Presumably that means that you and he are the same person or are speaking for each other? Or am I missing something?

    Sorry Elizabeth, but it was ‘Observer’ who ran with the BULLSHIT that you had previously put out there, quite some time prior. The same WORTHLESS SHIT you have also been repeating about others. AND NOW, in your comment above, we are able to see your stellar investigative skills in action, ALONG WITH YOUR SOUND EVIDENCE.

    What’s even more amazing is your obsession with this SHIT, and the fact that you continually put it out there like it’s VERY IMPORTANT, apparently to somehow denegrate the targets.

    What you haven’t been able to grasp due to your obsession, is that it doesn’t matter one whit in the grand scheme of things, if someone WERE posting with a hundred different names. IT’S JUST INFORMATION, TO ALWAYS TAKE WITH A GRAIN OF SALT!

    In case you haven’t noticed during your obsession, WTKTT POSTS TO EVERYTHING, no matter who the post was directed to. THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT, AND I AM NOT HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    As I said in my comment down below, which I posted above your comment copied above, since you choose not to apologize to WTKTT and myself, I am done with you, PERMANENTLY. I hope others on here follow-suit, as well!

    • Marti Reed says

      Agree. I’m ready for a boycott.

      I’ve been trying to take Elizabeth seriously about the weather. But I’m feeling used. And I just don’t have the time or energy. She hasn’t returned the favor. She hasn’t added anything. That doesn’t bother me personally, because I was genuinely interested in the weather at this point, anyway.

      There are a number of people here who, I believe, have genuinely given of their time and energy to pick apart the evidence we can find in our own various ways, and share what we find, and question each other, in a relatively respectful way, in order to drill down into this whole mess, in order to discern the truth. I include you in that. And WTK, whose intense work has been so helpful so often, even when I’ve sometimes thought, OK you may be pushing too far….. And Calvin, who just keeps asking hard and challenging questions that I hadn’t even thought of…….. And Bob Powers, with so much hard-learned experience……. And Mike in his honesty…. And SR who sometimes aggravates people but I also think knows way more than he sometimes lets onto…

      I hate to say this, Elizabeth, but I don’t trust you. I wish I could. Sometimes it seems like you are really trying to figure things out, and sometimes it seems like you are baiting and switching and using us all. And I don’t know why. We are not here……for your purposes.

      And this whole current deal about who is who that you are pushing relentlessly, is pretty much the last straw with me. I refuse to play those kind of games. And I refuse to play with people who do.

      • Bob Powers says

        Than You Marti what else can I say. Bring us back on subject. I have no problem with those that wish to stay anonymous. I have no reason to and I guess that just me I have always owned every thing I have said win lose or draw.

        • Marti Reed says

          I’m like you. I’m pretty much “out there” on the Internet. My Facebook says who I am. My Twitter says who I am. My Flickr says who I am. If I ever finally get my website back up, it will, again, say who I am.

          On the other hand, there are things I don’t say on the Internet. Because I’m “out there.”

          I was once under investigation by the FBI. Not because of what I did, but because of what I knew. It was the most terrifying experience of my life. I had to rethink everybody in my life, as to exactly who they were, and exactly how much I trusted their judgement. I had to re-think TRUST.

          And that is why I don’t expect anybody to ipso facto say who they are on the Internet. I am totally fine with Internet anonymity. it’s everybody’s right. I’m totally fine with it.

          And I have had absolutely no problem distinguishing people in this forum. I have been perfectly capable of distinguishing the various voices here. I can’t even fathom anybody conflating TTWARE with WTKTT. Or RTS with SR.

          This whole thing has been a huge waste of time and energy, IMHO.

      • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

        Not long ago someone perused that Elizabeth is writing a book about this and using this forum to gather data. At the time I thought that was very far-fetched. Since then, considering how her posts have been worded, it certainly sounds like she might be gathering data for a book and using all of us to do the investigative leg-work.

        • Bob Powers says

          Well if she writes a book from what she says and what we say its going to go around in circles.

        • Marti Reed says

          OK I’m going to bare my soul here, after what I just wrote in response to Bob Powers.

          Because I think this is a great time to just get real. As I just told my 94-year-old mom over the telephone, we’re ten months into this fiasco and we can still not figure out why they did what they did.

          At one time, I thought I admired Elizabeth. I thought she was really concerned about and trying to gather information needed by the families in their quest to know the truth.

          This was about the time I decided I was trying “to work” for Amanda Marsh, whether she ever knew it or not, because, at that time I was so seriously seeing how the Prescott Fire Department (as I wrote, “Here’s looking at you Daryll Willis”) was with-holding evidence, about a) the options conversation and what possible pressure was possibly being applied onto the crew, and b) the cellphones and gps units that have never surfaced. To be honest, I’m still asking those questions. That’s my “tin-foil hat conspiracy theory” and today I’ll proudly continue to stand by it. I still don’t know if “overhead” managed to screw over Eric Marsh (with all his foibles and strengths) and his crew or not.

          However, as things progressed, even as I announced my retirement, but still kept reading this every day, and thinking every day, I found myself thinking, “Ya know, if I was looking to hire an investigative lawyer to drill down to the bottom of this whole affair, the last one I would hire would be Elizabeth, because of her lack of open-mindedness and, thus, her obtuseness.” Kind of the opposite of Sherlock Holmes.

          And now I have to say, in response to your post, the last person I would hire to write a book about this is Elizabeth, because of her lack of respect for her sources. The best writers respect their sources. Which, in this case, Elizabeth hasn’t done. Not to mention her complete inability to communicate herself out of a paper bag. As we have, exasperatingly, all experienced.

          Honestly, I have no idea why she is continuing to be here.

          Elizabeth, exactly and honestly, why is it that you continue to invest yourself in being here, again?? I truly and honestly would like to know.

          • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

            One doesn’t have to be hired to write a book. Anyone can do that, and then just peddle the manuscript.

          • calvin says

            Marti. I totally disagree with you regarding Elizabeth.
            Elizabeth has been in this conversation starting September 2013.She has put herself out there. She has secured a lot of the information we have to review. I realize fireman20 (or whom ever) says anyone can request records through the FOIA/FOIL (and that may be true) BUT, no one else has done this (and then shared the records publicly) except ELIZABETH, DOUGHERTY, and GABBERT.

            Marti. I am not asking you to agree with everything Elizabeth does or says. But I am asking you to weigh the positive effects Elizabeth has brought to IM and the Yarnell incident before making personal attacks against her.

            We all have different backgrounds which makes this discussion interesting and (IMHO) helps explore different angles that may have been overlooked.

            • Marti Reed says

              I really value and appreciate what you are saying here. And that’s because I really respect and trust your voice here.

              In general I mostly avoid making negative comments about other people. I really do. And I’ve mostly done that here. Because I agree with you that various voices, even when I disagree with something they say, are REALLY REALLY valuable.

              My beef has to do with two things.

              1. I feel that in a number of instances, from recently to back aways, she has been perfectly comfortable interrogating us without expressing any genuine respect for us, or responding to our questions of her. I’ve personally experienced that, and I’ve seen her do that to others.

              2. Trashing/distorting other peoples’ identities. This whole thing has been really disturbing to me, and genuinely hurtful to others. I can’t fathom any need to do that and it damages her credibility and I have no idea why she has continued to do it.

              I appreciate the many things she has positively offered, but I am no longer willing to just sit back and be OK with the damage she has done.

              I just don’t trust her any more.

  28. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to SR post on May 8, 2014 at 6:31 am

    >> SR said…
    >> I hadn’t known about the McDonough statements as regards what Marsh,
    >> Steed and he knew and discussed about the weather. I think it’s glaringly
    >> clear that they did know that a full 180 windshift, complete with 50 mph
    >> gusts, was coming.

    Of course it is.

    It was ALREADY HAPPENING even by the time Byron Kimball got around
    to forwarding the official NWS and SWCC spot forecast over the radio
    at 1530. Just moments later… it was so OBVIOUSLY happening that that
    is what threatened Brendan McDonough’s safety and was forcing him to
    abandon his lookout position circa 1536 or 1537 ( and to have all of those
    radio conversations with Steed/Marsh about why he had to leave ).

    In the course of just 5 minutes… Marsh thought it was ‘safe’ to ask Brian Frisby to schlep all the way out to the ridge just to have some kind of ‘secret’ conversation that Marsh (somehow) didn’t feel comfortable having over open radio… then moments later ( while Frisby is only halfway out there ) the fireline up right near them has REVERSED DIRECTION and is now threatening Brendan’s life.

    So even if Marsh didn’t realize the predicted 180 FULL WIND REVERSAL was just about to happen when he called Frisby out to meet with him… he certainly realized it just minutes later when his own 20th man’s life is now in danger and Frisby himself realized it was ‘too dangerous’ to even still try to fulfill the request for the face-to-face with Marsh… and CALLED OFF THE MEETING for that very reason.

    There is actually plenty of ‘other’ evidence that Marsh and Steed were FULLY aware of ( and EXPECTING ) the FULL 180 degreee wind shift such as other statements Brendan ( and others ) have made in public interviews and press
    conferences following the incident.

    Here’s just another ‘sampling’ of those statements…

    __________________________________________________________________
    ** From the Kyle Dickman ( former Hotshot ) article entitled…
    ** “19: The True Story of the Yarnell Hill Fire” published September 17, 2013,
    ** and completely based on face-to-face interviews with Brendan McDonough…

    NOTE: This matches Brendan’s ADOSH testimony where Brendan says it was
    Steed himself who now reporting the predicted 180 degree wind shift and 50-60
    mile per hour wind gusts to HIM, over the radio…

    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

    __________________________________________________________________
    ** From Brendan McDonough’s exclusive ABC news interview with
    ** Brian Ross, August 7, 2013

    “Everything seemed normal, not threatening. Just — a typical day, going direct
    on a fire,” he ( Brendan McDonough ) told ABC News.

    Around 4:00 in the afternoon, however, everything changed. The winds that had
    been driving the fire away from the Hotshots began to turn 180 degrees, propelled
    by what some fire officials call a “perfect storm” of gusts up to 50 miles per hour.

    Instead of moving NORTH, it started moving SOUTH as the flame front leapt
    from 25 to 50 feet high.

    McDonough says the team could now see what was happening — contradicting
    some accounts that they were unaware the fire was heading toward them.

    “From where they were, they could see it picking up. So they kind of relayed to
    me, ‘Hey, Donut, we got eyes on it,'” McDonough remembers his captain telling
    him. “They said, ‘If you need to get out of there, go ahead and get out of there…
    we want you to be safe too,’ you know?”

    __________________________________________________________________
    ** From Darrell Willis’ press conference at the deployment site, July 23, 2013…

    ( Question From A Reporter ) : Is there a confirmation that they did receive…
    uh… information concerning the outflows from the thunderstorms?

    ( Darell Willis ): Yes. There is confirmation of that.

    There’s no question about it.

    They saw that the… uh… fire activity was picking up. There was a line of fire
    from the ridge top… beyond where they where down lower into the valley
    probly a mile or two… mile and a half line of.. uh.. fire… and it’s chaparral
    that started to move to the SOUTH.
    __________________________________________________________________

    >> SR also wrote…
    >>
    >> It is convenient for those claiming that everything at YHF was perfectly
    >> reasonable that, hey, the wind shifted, and no one could see further shifts
    >> coming. Crazy outflow boundary, something you couldn’t see and that no
    >> one had heard of. Almost as if GM got hit by an asteroid — tragic, but
    >> nothing anyone could have done anything to prevent. Of course, that is
    >> all completely nonfactual.

    Some people never let the FACTS get in the way. It’s just annoying to them.

    Something that needs to be remembered here is what any lawyer knows, and
    that is what the real ‘legal’ *definition* of NEGLIGENCE is… and how lawyers
    go about either proving it… or DEFENDING AGAINST IT, in open court.

    Here is the ACTUAL (legal) definition of NEGLIGENCE…
    _________________________________________________________________
    1) Failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would
    exercise in like circumstances.
    2) Lack of normal care or attention
    _________________________________________________________________

    Two IMPORTANT things to notice about the ‘definition(s)’…

    “reasonably prudent person” AND “normal care or attention”.

    What lawyers will ALWAYS do to DEFEND against accusations of NEGLIGENCE
    is to FIRST simply try to establish that ‘anybody else’ ( Sic: reasonably prudent
    person ) would have probably ‘done the same thing’ AND/OR that nothing
    regarding the circumstances surrounding the decision making was really
    ‘out of the normal’ at all.

    Sounds close to some recent posts here, doesn’t it?

    Don’t forget that Elizabeth is also the one who has now stated at least FOUR
    or FIVE times on this public discussion thread that there was ‘nothing out of
    the ordinary’ with regards to the piss-poor handoff that Air Attack Rory Collins
    had with Bravo 33 before he abruptly left the fire at 1558… EVEN THOUGH
    there is signed testimony from Bravo 33 themselves about what a ‘strange
    handoff’ Collins performed that day and their own testimony about how
    absolutely CLUELESS they were following that piss-poor handoff.

    She continues to maintain that it was ‘nothing out of the ordinary’ and that
    the next handoff later on was ‘just as quick’. ( I.E. – establish ‘normalcy’ ).

    What a lawyer often hopes to establish when trying to defend against
    NEGLIGENCE is this exact ‘establishment of normalcy’ and/or ‘establishment
    of a pattern of decision making or behavior’ that doesn’t lead to ‘bad outcomes’
    which can then be construed as ‘reasonably prudent behavior’… hence…
    NO NEGLIGENCE.

    Sometimes… it even WORKS.

  29. Marti Reed says

    So…… I’ve just spent 45 minutes trying to get to the weather documents via both Dougherty’s live links and the ones you have to copy and paste and EVERYTHING is landing on a page with a message that says: “Disabled link
    Access to this link has been disabled. Please ask the owner of the shared link to send a new link to access the file or the folder.”

    Could somebody else please try this and tell me if they’re getting it, too, or am I doing something wrong>

    Thanks!

    • SR says

      I’m not technical in that way, but the AZ site with the sport forecasts is still up, http://azsf.gov/system/files/documents/files/Spot%20Weather%20Forecast%20063013.0945.pdf .

      You could still pull the historic Stanton RAWS data from somewhere, for sure.

      But as great that it is that you are looking to do this, since all the data, radar, forecasts, etc. seem to align with contemporaneous accounts, I don’t think there’s any legit question as regards the weather.

          • SR says

            Yes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwIB9RQY3zE There are all sorts of other sources, such as this blending of Flagstaff Doppler images. I can’t access from where I am, but for a weather-lite view, people can even go to something like Weather Underground and check the Alamanac for Flagstaff for 6/30/13 just to see that it more or less corresponds to other accounts.

            The real story here is that a couple posters are simply floating the proposition that Marsh relied on some unique and personal definition of weather and of the weather forecast he had just heard, and reasonably so, and/or that weather associated with thunderstorms is unheard of in AZ and couldn’t have been expected…even if the forecasts of that weather had been received and were correct.

            • mike says

              Amidst all this sound and fury it seems the GM overhead misread something – weather, fire etc. Even if there was an order (which at the present time appears to be the triumph of hope over facts), Marsh must have misread something in order to comply with it. Otherwise, if he complied knowing how dangerous it was, well I certainly hope that was not the case. He not only had a right, but a responsibility, to turn down an unsafe order. He was responsible for his crew. And if he knew it was unsafe, but relied on the promise of a retardant drop, many WFF have already indicated that would have been firefighting malpractice.

              It seems too much effort is going into making sense of Marsh’s decision, when in the end I believe it will not make sense.

            • Marti Reed says

              Hah! That video is a true brain-challenger!!! I like the sound of the wind and the birds chirping!

              But yes.

              It definitely shows what a thunderstorm bearing down on a fire that’s burning in high-risk fuels can do. Is it unique? No. Is it radical? Depends on one’s definition. Is it why Chuck Maxwell, the SWCC Meteorologist, was agonizing in Albuquerque about whether to get more pro-active about strategy? You betcha!

    • Marti Reed says

      Well, I was finally able to access the files, by turning on my Dropbox account and downloading them to there. Spent the day reading and re-reading the weather stuff, and then had turned to the Google for more, then a storm hit and blew out my power. But yay Safari remembers….

      So now I know what was reported by whom and when. And now I know what the radar images and the satellite images look like. And I can see how easy it would be for someone like Elizabeth, who doesn’t know how to interpret this stuff, to get bogged down.

      And there was an article in USA Today on October 13 (am looking at it on my computer but can’t provide the link cuz I’m typing on my iPad cuz of the storm), that speculated that Granite Mtn may have misinterpreted what they were seeing, thinking that the wind-shift the forecast predicted had peaked when Brendan had to be evacuated, and that they could hence proceed. Thus missing the fact that it hadn’t and the worst was yet to come.

      It goes on to say, “But the stronger winds — the outflow boundary from the thunderstorm — moved across the area about 40 minutes later. By then, the crew was in a position it could not escape.”

      I actually don’t believe it. What I see in what I’ve seen is more along the lines of what Bob Powers described a few miles down below. The meta-weather cell was slowly turning in a clockwise direction and the lower winds were, also, just in a more erratic terrain-related manner. Maybe GM was fooled by that… and maybe they weren’t. I happen to think they shouldn’t have been.

      The other thing Elizabeth keeps saying that I don’t get is that that line of thunderstorms was just sitting there for hours some 60 miles from the fire going nowhere and doing nothing. I haven’t seen ANYTHING that indicates that. If she is looking at the same “above the clouds” images I am (I.e.the gifs which are in fact the satellite images), they show that thunderstorm line bearing right down over the fire and engulfing it, until the pyro-cumulus column forces it’s way up above it. At least, that’s what I see.

      And I’d highly recommend reading Chuck Maxwell’s report in the FireBehaviorAndWeather PDF. He was in Albuquerque, watching that whole thing unfold on radar/satellite monitors, very much in touch w/IncidentCommand, and agonizing about whether he should/should not take a more pro-active stance in terms of getting everybody off that fire NOW. Kinda like my dad (who he probably knew) praying when Overhead didn’t listen to him.

      OK I’m open to questions.

      • Marti Reed says

        OK here’s the link to the USA Today article. It’s actually pretty good in many ways, but just not quite there. Relying too much on Wade Ward?

        Yarnell fire report explores role of weather:
        http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/04/yarnell-fire-report-explores-role-of-weather/2920549/

        And sitting here after reading all this, and your comments, and thinking. The reason I don’t believe this theory is because they were still up above it all, seeing it all happening until 4:20-ish. And it hadn’t quit happening. And it was increasingly heading right where they were increasingly going.

        I increasingly agree with WTK, when he wrote a couple of miles below, that the REALLY critical decision was the one to enter the bowl, not the one to leave the black. I think they didn’t know where the two-track actually went, or trust it, and saw the ranch right below them, and maybe were cardinally-directionally-disoriented or something? (That can actually happen even to the best of us) They must have thought they were flanking the fire and not heading right into where it was going. They absolutely should have kept a lookout above them.

  30. Elizabeth says

    WEATHER:
    My view (with all due respect) is that the SAIT and Wildland Fire Associates reports do not always most accurately describe or emphasize the relevant facts as they existed between roughly 3:40-ish and 4:22-ish p.m. on June 30th in terms of what GM was likely seeing or perceiving (or mis-perceiving) or relying upon that would make GM believe that it made sense to move when they did down to the Boulder Springs Ranch. With respect to the WEATHER, this is certainly my view.

    TTWARE referenced either the radar or satellite images (I cannot remember which parlance he used), and I am pretty sure that I have 30 or more of those images, which, in my view, seem to confirm my understanding of the weather as GM was seeing it or perceiving it or understanding it that day. The SAIT either did not review these images or they did not publish/release them to the media/Dougherty.

    Marti seems to suggest below that she views the radar/satellite images as irrelevant to this discussion, which suggests to me that perhaps she is instead focusing on the weather materials in the 147 pages released by the SAIT. (Hopefully everyone who is opining on the weather who does not have the WFF background that folks like Bob Powers or xxfullsailxx seem to have has at least given the 147 pages a read, to get up to speed on some of the raw materials rather than what the SAIR and other reports are saying about the raw materials. The overachievers among you have probably already pulled the *raw* NWS or other data for the past few years to confirm that not a whole lot of WFF work would get done in AZ between mid-June and the end of July if everyone stopped working and stood down in a safety zone the moment a static thunder cell appeared in the sky, even if it was 80 miles away and totally static for hours.) Either way, my tentative conclusions previously suggested remain.

    I would be curious to know what those of you who disagree are pinpointing in the 147 pages or with the radar/satellite images (referenced by TTWARE) as the basis for disagreement. It is entirely possible that I am wrong about the weather and what GM was perceiving (or mis-perceiving), and, if so, it would be useful for me to understand what – other than the SAIT’s conclusions – form the basis for disagreement, so that I can do more research and hopefully come to a more accurate conclusion, assuming mine is inaccurate.

    • SR says

      Uhh…as WTKTT very helpful laid out, Steed and Marsh heard the forecast and discussed it among themselves, including the fact that S/SW winds would shift 180 to N/NE. They could see the storm front. The forecast weather appeared. Marsh noted squirelly winds.

      What possibly remains unclear to you.

      • Elizabeth says

        SR, if you honestly fail to see the confusion, then perhaps you underestimate the complexity of weather as it pertains to (a) fire behavior and (b) fire behavior in topography of the sort that existed near Yarnell/Glen Ilah. To respond to some of your points:

        1. My understanding is that there was conversation AFTER the 3:26/3:30 p.m. forecast about whether any predicted weather changes had actually already occurred or were in the process of occurring. WTKTT seems to be ignoring this fact. If the NWS or FBAN or whatever weather-specific person indicates that the weather change predicted is either already here or has already impacted the fire, why would Marsh and Steed IGNORE this input?

        2. When you say “they could see the storm front,” what storm front are you talking about? As I understand it, there had been one particular cell (or more) that had been around for multiple hours and was going NOWHERE. Marti gives a very good explanation below about how the weather in AZ this time of year can often be predicted in one way and play out in entirely another. Bob Powers himself notes that men who are experienced with wildfires and who pay attention can often see things in front of them or feel things or see things manifest in fire behavior that people who are arm-chair quarterbacking or sitting in an NWS office or on another side of the fire do not perceive.

        3. “The forecast weather” (whatever that means) seems to have appeared either AFTER the men were dead or fatally compromised. The forecast weather did not CAUSE the shift in the fire that killed the men, as I understand it. So you are saying that the men got trapped and killed by “the forecast weather” (whatever you mean by that) that occurred AFTER they were trapped and likely already dead? Really? REALLY??

        4. “Squirrelly winds” – Did *you* hear Marsh say such a thing? Me neither. It was either you or RTS or whomever who pointed out (correctly) that there are multiple things alleged in the SAIR/SAIT materials to have been said that people who are still living seem to indicate were NEVER said. So, it is *not* an established fact that Marsh commented on “squirrelly winds” no more than it is an established fact (as you or RTS or whomever like to allege) that Marsh had a pattern of reckless or needlessly risky/dishonest/covert/whatever behavior. That said, even if Marsh said “squirelly winds,” so what? Squirrelly winds does not equate with “a huge wind gust is about to occur and impact the fire behavior in a way that will trap and then kill you,” at least according to Bob Powers. Bob tells us – correctly, as I understand it – that FLAT air (e.g. no wind) can often be the warning sign of an impending major wind event. Then again, FLAT air (e.g. no wind) can sometimes indicate… no wind and no prospect of wind and there will be no wind for a while such that it is safe to move.

        You are quick to criticize me, SR, for my alleged deficiencies in understanding weather as it pertains to fire, but, with all due respect, it appears that perhaps you also have some gaps in your knowledge. I suggest you and I work together to constructively figure out the relevant weather (as opposed to what folks have been alleging about the relevant weather).

        • Marti Reed says

          I really don’t understand what you are saying here.

          On the one hand, you say:
          “1. My understanding is that there was conversation AFTER the 3:26/3:30 p.m. forecast about whether any predicted weather changes had actually already occurred or were in the process of occurring. WTKTT seems to be ignoring this fact. If the NWS or FBAN or whatever weather-specific person indicates that the weather change predicted is either already here or has already impacted the fire, why would Marsh and Steed IGNORE this input? …”

          What CONVERSATION are you, AGAIN, referring to and among whom? And are you saying you are aware of NWS/FBAN/whatever indicating the predicted change (which was a half-hour prediction, but that doesn’t mean it predicted that weather event would END in a half hour, it was just the start) had already happened and was done at 4 PM??

          And on the other hand, you say:
          “3. “The forecast weather” (whatever that means) seems to have appeared either AFTER the men were dead or fatally compromised. The forecast weather did not CAUSE the shift in the fire that killed the men, as I understand it. So you are saying that the men got trapped and killed by “the forecast weather” (whatever you mean by that) that occurred AFTER they were trapped and likely already dead? Really? REALLY??”

          What in the world are you talking about? How can you say here that the forecast weather happened after the burnover? The weather forecast was for the half an hour after 3:30. (and it was actually a spot forecast, and I’ll bet there were other forecasts/reports put out as the fire blew up, but I don’t feel like going to look for them ATM).

          That doesn’t mean it ENDED a half an hour after the forecast. He was forecasting a major weather shift that was beginning at 3:30 and signified the major shift in the “winds aloft” so to speak, and wouldn’t be over until it was over, and the forecast didn’t say when it would be over. And there’s nothing I can see anywhere where anyone said ever that the forecast weather began after the crew was dead.

          Do you understand what a forecast is?

          Reminder: This is the forecast we are discussing:

          WantsToKnowTheTruth
          on May 6, 2014 at 9:36 pm said:
          “Byron Kimball: Within the half-hour, (pause) EAST winds. (pause)
Possibility of as high as 50 miles an hour or likely 25 (pause)
definitely 25, 35 gusting 40 (pause) east / northeast within the half
hour. Um… the outpoint to outflow line also ( will be ) located…”

          • Bob Powers says

            These forecasts come from the national or state agency fire centers (Dispatch) offices relayed directly to the Fire. They are not some off the wall forecast.
            Also I believe the squarely wind statement by Marsh was recorded on a video phone while taking a video of the fire. Refer back to one of WTKTT info.

          • Elizabeth says

            Marti, you said the following: “I have not seen the 30 photographs you are referring to, but I can imagine that if they were taken from above the cloud cover, they probably aren’t particularly meaningful as to what is going on below that cloud cover.”
            I took your words, Marti, to mean that you did not think the photos were, uhm, “particularly meaningful.” 🙂

            • Marti Reed says

              Having looked at what I think you are talking about. The images I think you are talking about, if they’re the gifs that are the satellite images. It depends on what you are asking of them.

              In re to what I was saying, they’re still not that meaningful, in terms of what was going on on the ground. They’re not going to tell you any more than what GM was photographing, or people were saying, on the ground, in real time.

              They are, however, meaningful, in terms of meta. The big system. They show that line of thunderstorms moving southwest and dynamically interacting with the fire. Which is why I can’t understand why you keep saying that that thunderstorm/system was sitting statically 60 miles away doing nothing and going nowhere. Maybe I now take those images more seriously than you do?

    • Bob Powers says

      Elizabeth
      Your throwing a can of worms again…..
      I do not know where you are getting the stand down theory?
      Fire Fighters do not stand down from Weather forecasts.
      They adjust to the forecast and continue working.
      making sure they are safe and following all the safety procedures.
      Including LCES. The Weather Forecast that afternoon was what the people on the Fire were going by and based on our hind site it is what happened. The forecast is right there in front of you word for word. Standard Firefighting Orders #1 and #3, I do not think any body here knows exactly what GM was thinking when they moved. we do know they had NO LCES in place, No identified or scouted escape route and no personal knowledge of the BSR SZ. What worm would you like us to pick up. Your not in a court room quit acting like an Attorney trying to get a statement out of a defendant.
      As a Law Enforcement Officer I was trained on Court trials and have been in the chair a lot for testimony and how questions are ask, enough said.

    • Marti Reed says

      Elizabeth on May 8, 2014 at 6:18 am said:
      “Marti seems to suggest below that she views the radar/satellite images as irrelevant to this discussion, which suggests to me that perhaps she is instead focusing on the weather materials in the 147 pages released by the SAIT.”

      There is nothing I wrote that suggested that I view radar/satellite images as irrelevant. Just because I wasn’t referring to them, doesn’t mean I dismiss them.

      And it was not based on the weather pages in any of the reports.

      I was describing what you, in fact were asking for, i.e. what the crew was experiencing, based on the accurate forecast they had received, the photos they were taking, and what everybody else was saying, as WTKTT laid out so clearly down below, oh and also what we’ve been slowly conversing about for months.

      The crew was not looking at radar/satellite images, most likely.

      My father (RIP) forecasted/tracked the weather for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta for 16 years. I assisted him for the last ten of them. The lives of thousands of crew depended on his expertise. They loved having him fly with them, because “he could see the winds,” as they said.

      At 3:00 every morning, we packed my daughter into the back seat of the car, and headed to the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, and looked at the most current satellite, radar, and wind maps for about an hour. So we knew what, in general, was happening and was going to happen and why. But that’s not the most important thing we did.

      We then drove out to the field and started flying and tracking weather balloons. Up until the 6 AM pilot briefing and then until the launch. And then my dad would keep watching what was going on through the whole launch of as many as 1000 balloons, and throughout the hours until they were all safely landed. And he kept communicating to the pilots through “the overhead” the entire time. Situational Awareness, in other words.

      And if the winds aloft “in real time” based on our weather balloon observations started running over 15 mph, my dad would warn the “Overhead” that they should shut the whole thing down, because it was too dangerous. And that decision could cost the Balloon Fiesta millions of dollars. So they didn’t like hearing that. And there was absolutely nothing he could do if they decided to launch against his recommendations. Except pray nobody got killed, which sometimes they did.

      There’s a dynamic relationship between radar/satellite/weather maps and “in real time” observations. What I was describing was what people “in real time” were observing, and that those observations corresponded to the forecast, which was based on radar/satellite/imagery mapped onto a weather map, and sent out as a forecast at 3:30 PM.

  31. Marti Reed says

    calvin on May 6, 2014 at 3:32 am said:
    “It does appear (to me) that after Marsh tells Bravo 33, that is exactly where we want the retardant (1637?), and it wasn’t dropped,; then Marsh didn’t transmit again until he was with the crew. However, I am not convinced he was behind the crew. If so, there is no way (in my opinion) he could have saw Bravo 33 flying through the middle bowl west to east.”

    I am really curious, and a bit confused, about what you are saying here. Where do you think Marsh was? And could you clarify, in more detail, why?

    • calvin says

      Marti. I am not sure exactly where Marsh was when he called Bravo33 and said that is exactly where we want the retardant. But if he was walking downslope toward the canyon floor, I do not think he would have been able to see the flight path.

      Because of the short period of time between that call out and the call announcing the entrapment, we know he HAD to be close. There is a small mound between the entrapment/ deployment site and BSR that is just north of the dozered road (created to remove GM’s bodies). I think it is possible he was on that mound where he would have had more visibility.

      I do not believe the GMH were only counting on their speed to outrun the fire. I do believe they were expecting retardant to be dropped on the south side of the fire. But as far as I can tell (from post burn pictures), that never happened.

      • Bob Powers says

        Calvin hopefully to clear up some confusion.
        The Lead plain B33 would have been 500 ft. or more above the terrain which would have given the people on the ground in the canyon the ability to see the plain for some distance barring any smoke. I was not there but that is my assumption. The higher the plain was the longer it would have been in view if that helps.

      • Marti Reed says

        Calvin.
        When you say “the middle bowl” are you referring to the bowl GM walked down into, or the big bowl that most of the days activities were taking place in?

        I.e. I’m still not sure exactly where the drop path flight happened. And I currently have in my head WTKTT’s analysis of that flight (and I haven’t looked at the video and maybe I should), in which he was saying it shows it happening more on the east side of the smoke column, and thus questions whether Eric could have seen it.

        I still think this is a pretty muddy part of the story.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        calvin… I am with you. That 1637 transmission from Marsh is still quite a mystery.

        See a longer post I just made up above about this and it is
        really just an attempt for me to try and ‘document my continuing confusion’ about this ‘transmission’.

        The *new* post above is mostly just based on that recent transcript of the USDA Air Study video that DOES, in fact, cover the time period from 1630 to 1643… and gives a CLEAR picture of *exactly* what Air Attack ( B33 ) was *actually* doing during this time… and especially what they were ( or, more importantly, were NOT ) doing at 1637.

        I am not seeing the ‘proof’ there, in that Air Study transcript, that this ‘line up flight’ ever took place at all around the time that the SAIR says Marsh ‘saw it’… and ‘responded’ to it.

        Something is still ‘wonky’ with this whole 1637 event.
        Maybe it’s just the TIME is wrong, or something.

  32. Elizabeth says

    WEATHER: TTWARE, you made a point below about “the timed-stamped radar images of the weather-event progression.” Would you mind explaining more about what you are driving at with your comment?
    Specifically, I have copies of all 30 or so relevant images from *above* the cloud cover (not sure what the parlance is), and I am not understanding how your comment ties in with them. My understanding of those images is that they are consistent with the point that xxfullsailxx and I are making, no?
    Thank you in advance. (I, personally, think the weather-related take-away from the Yarnell Hill Fire is still grossly under-discussed.)

    • SR says

      EN has made multiple claims about the weather, and none of her central claims are supported by the radar or other observations.

    • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

      The time-stamped radar images I am referring to, are the same ones I referenced from the SAIR report in response to one of your earlier comments about the weather down below a ways.

      Specifically, they show that the storm system originated in the Flagstaff area, proceeded to the Yarnell area, and then, became responsible for the outflow boundary.

      Nothing more, nothing less.

      I think you’re getting too hung-up with the weather aspect. The predictions (long and short term) predicted the weather could go ape-shit (my term), and it actually came to pass. One wind shift does not equate to ‘well, ape-shit’s all over now, we shouldn’t expect any other significant changes.’

      • Elizabeth says

        TTWARE, any time there are thunder cells, the weather could go ape-shit….
        Are you disagreeing with my point and that of xxfullsailxx?

        • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

          Sorry, but I respectfully and truthfully don’t know what your point is.

    • Marti Reed says

      Elizabeth on April 20, 2014 at 3:55 pm said:
      …”I think I am just seeing the weather differently, in part because there was a CONVERSATION that followed the 3:30 p.m. weather reading, and it seems that folks thought that the winds warned about were already THERE at 3:30 p.m., such that they were well OVER by 4:04 p.m. or later. I hear you, though, Bob. I do.”

      I understand that you are trying to get a bead on, not what we know now, but what whoever was making GM’s decisions was seeing and thinking then.

      To be honest, as someone born and raised in New Mexico, the daughter of a meteorologist raised in New Mexico (for whom intense conversations about southwest weather were everyday dinner conversations the whole time i was growing up), and a Girl Scout Leader, Camp Counselor, and later as a Group Guide in the Grand Canyon for ten years, I’m in deep agreement with those who say that any kind of thinking on the part of Granite Mountain that the wind change had stabilized by 3:50-ish (which is what I read you and xxfullsailxx saying) would have been insane.

      However I also agree with you that IT SEEMS (via the consequences) that that may have exactly been what they decided/thought. Even after the 3:30 severe weather warning which said basically a seriously different thing. And even though, as they gathered there observing that fire and that weather, they were seeing that fire pick up steam and do exactly what that forecast said it was going to do. Why did they hear that, and then see that, and then decide that it had stabilized when it so seriously hadn’t?? Anybody that is from here, that has spent time HUNKERING DOWN during thunderstorms, which is VERY common, knows it ain’t over til it’s OVER.

      As a lowly Girl Scout Leader, as a lowly Camp Counselor, as a lowly Grand Canyon Guide, as the lowly daughter of a southwestern meteorologist, I just have to say I would NEVER have done what they did. I am painfully mystified. I really struggle with this one.

      Maybe, even in spite of that clear and accurate and severe 3:30 forecast, and in spite of what they must have HAD to have known from years and years of actual experience, something cut across all of that. And the only thing I possibly can think of is Rory Collins telling them at 3:50ish (iirc) that the fire would hit Yarnell in one to two hours.

      But I still don’t know. Which is why I am bringing your comment from way below to here. What CONVERSATION are you truly aware of that took place after the 3:30 forecast that was about the weather?? And how is it that you are aware of it? Because, I truly have no idea what you are referring to, and I would really like to know.

      And PS. I have not seen the 30 photographs you are referring to, but I can imagine that if they were taken from above the cloud cover, they probably aren’t particularly meaningful as to what is going on below that cloud cover.

          • FIRE20+ says

            Right on Marti. It’s dangerous for individuals to claim they know something about YHF without being able to back it up. I asked this question regarding the 1526 Wx and GM’s SA of it to EN a while back as well with no response…I would really like to know.

            • SR says

              It’s not just dangerous, not to minimize that at all, it gets to be very disrespectful of the issues involved. Part of the game seems to be make whimsical statements, and then continually ask for more and more information (and therefore more time and energy) from people like Marti and WTKTT and TWARE who have just painstakingly laid out why your (EN’s or FullSail’s in this case) inane claims don’t hold water.

              I mean, I personally still think GM saw prairie dogs and was concerned about exposure to plague if they remained in the black. I am relying on my notes for that statement. Anyone who disagrees with me, please state with specificity the sources you are relying on to show that there were no prairie dogs in the black and that GM wasn’t concerned about the plague. Have you exhaustively researched the NIH and CDC plague data in reaching your conclusions? I am always open to discussing this further…

              • SR says

                Put differently, if EN has any evidence at all that suggests that all the weather forecasts, radar images, contemporaneous accounts, and fire behavior — which all seem quite consistent with on another — are wrong, and that the storm coming out of the N/NE was really expected by Marsh and Steed to be a steady wind straight from CA, then she should do the work and state with specificity what on earth makes her think that. Simply making that type of claim, in the fact of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, without putting forward any proof oneself, only creates confusion.

            • Marti Reed says

              Agree.

              I don’t know shite about reading smoke. Sometimes I wish you would all get into some kind of conversation about what you are seeing in the smoke, so I could learn more about it. But, that being said, I thus don’t say anything about smoke.

              What I do know about is camera angles, handling cameras, fixing time-stamps on images, how photographers do stuff, and also weather in the southwest (except smoke).

              So I try to use what I do know to fill in gaps and ask questions of others in order to further all of our understanding. That’s what I am here for, and think others are, too. I have no other agenda.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Elizabeth post on May 7, 2014 at 10:35 am

      >> Elizabeth said…
      >> My understanding of those images is that they are consistent
      >> with the point that xxfullsailxx and I are making, no?

      Elizabeth… I am going to echo TTWARE’s comment above and say I, also ( respectfully and truthfully ) have no idea what the ‘point’ is that you ( together with xxfullsailxx? ) think you have somehow *already* (recently) made…

      …but let me take a guess at a ‘summary’.

      You ( and xxfullsailxx? ) are trying to resurrect the theory that Marsh and Steed were NEVER fully ‘expecting’ or ‘anticipating’ a full 180 degree wind shift ( despite what any carded/qualified FBAN predicted or anything they were told over the radio )… and that they somehow convinced themselves ( without bothering to consult with anyone else ) that the ‘expected wind shift(s)’ were OVER by the time they left the safe black and that they would *always* be traveling on ‘their new mission’ in a direction that was simply ‘parallel’ to the fire.

      Well… if that’s the case… let’s ‘break it down’…

      1) Marsh and Steed were never really ‘expecting’ or ‘anticipating’ a full 180 degree wind shift.

      Horse manure.

      See Brendan McDonough’s interview transcript with ADOSH reprinted below.

      In short… Brendan CONFIRMS to ADOSH ( multiple times ) that just after Byron Kimball’s 1530 weather broadcast… EVERY conversation he had with GM Captain Jesse Steed contained FULL acknowledgement between them that the winds were GOING to shift a FULL 180 degrees ( Not 45, not 90… a FULL 180 ) and that this TOTAL REVERSAL of wind direction was going to be backed by 40 to 50 mile per hour winds gusts. Brendan said both he and Steed knew that was going to be (quote) “a phenomenal change”. Brendan ALSO confirms that Marsh was also ‘copying’ these conversations about the upcoming FULL 180 degree wind shift.

      2) Steed and Marsh somehow convinced themselves ( without bothering to consult with anyone else ) that the ‘expected wind shift(s)’ were OVER by the time they left the safe black and that they would *always* be traveling on ‘their new mission’ in a direction that was simply ‘parallel’ to the fire.

      Well… Brendan still won’t talk about anything he might have heard AFTER he left his lookout position… so there is no direct evidence to fully negate such a claim/belief… but based on (1) above and what they BOTH KNEW was coming they would have both had to pretty much have suffered a sudden case of ‘ridge blindness’ and/or both hit their heads on rocks to forget what they knew just moments before and could still *see* happening with their own eyes out there in front of them.

      Look carefully at all the photos taken while they were doing nothing but ‘watching the fire’ ( and the recent crossfades between them ).

      Forget about the smoke. Look at the FIRE… especially where it was CLOSER to them and mattered the MOST as far as their own decision making.

      At NO TIME is the FIRELINE doing anything but continuing to head SOUTH and TOWARDS the mouth of that box canyon just some 4,000 feet away from the fire BEFORE they even started their ‘new mission’.

      Also… ( again ) see Brendan’s testimony to ADOSH (reprinted below) where even circa 4:00 PM when the GM vehicles were being moved ( and supposedly before GM even left the safe black ) the FIRE was heading in a direct SOUTHERLY direction and ( according to Brendan ) was ALSO making those ‘easterly’ pushes simply because of a trick of geography with the terrain on the east side.

      >> Elizabeth also wrote…
      >> Specifically, I have copies of all 30 or so relevant images from
      >> *above* the cloud cover (not sure what the parlance is), and I
      >> am not understanding how your comment ties in with them.
      >> My understanding of those images is that they are consistent
      >> with the point that xxfullsailxx and I are making, no?

      I really don’t see how you can think that some photos taken from way ABOVE the ‘cloud cover’ are going to tell you what was happening at ground level around that time, under such ‘squirrely’ conditions.

      Even in the photos we can see with our own eyes… the winds were doing ‘strange things’ at GROUND LEVEL ( and at various heights ) and just because a wisp of smoke/cloud is suddenly blowing one way as it rose out of the middle bowl and was being hit by ‘crosswinds’ doesn’t automatically mean that’s the way the fire down on the GROUND was actually headed.

      Smoke/clouds didn’t kill them. The FIRELINE did.

      Again… LOOK AT THE FIRELINE in all the known photos/videos and in the ‘crossfades’ between them.

      The FIRELINE was (consistently and steadily ) headed SOUTH
      and TOWARDS the mouth of that box canyon from the time Brendan left his lookout post until the time that they all died.

      The only thing that really changed during that entire time period is that it just kept picking up SPEED and INTENSITY as it headed to the SOUTH and filled that entire ‘explosive’ area.

      >> Elizabeth also said…
      >> I, personally, think the weather-related take-away from the
      >> Yarnell Hill Fire is still grossly under-discussed.

      So do I, actually… but probably for reasons that are as much the polar opposite of yours as that full (predicted) 180 degree wind shift was that day.

      Now that we have the ‘video crossfades’ between pretty much ALL of the ‘photos’ taken from up on that ridge that afternoon and we can truly ‘see exactly what they saw’ during that time they were doing nothing BUT ‘watching the fire behavior’…

      …it is even more inconceivable than it has ever been that men who were *supposed* to be ‘fire experts’ would have STILL decided to do what they did that afternoon.

      As Brendan himself said to the ADOSH investigators regarding
      his own impressions circa 4:00 PM that day…

      “You knew that it was coming… ‘cause that wind…
      a 180 degree wind shift… that’s a phenomenal change.
      I’d never seen anything like it.”

      ** THE LONG STORY

      For the sake of completeness… the following has all been posted before ( at least once )… but here is exactly what Brendan McDonough had to say to the ADOSH investigators about all this.

      Several times during his ADOSH interview… Brendan confirms that BOTH he and Jesse Steed FULLY understood that the expected wind shift was going to be a FULL 180 degress. ( Not 45 degrees, not 90… a FULL 180 degress )… and was going to be backed with 40-50 mph wind gusts.

      Brendan also states that this ‘expected’ 180 degree wind shift BEGAN just moments after Byron Kimball’s 1530 weather update.

      Brendan also explains carefully to the ADOSH investigators that by the time they were moving the GM and Blue Ridge vehicles ( circa 3:59 PM and (supposedly) BEFORE Granite Mountain even left the safe black )… the FIRE was ALREADY moving through that middle bowl (quote) “straight up and down as NORTH / SOUTH”.

      Brendan also carefully explains that at that point… the winds were definitely (quote) “out of the north, northeast”… but the fire was ALSO moving some to the EAST not as its ‘primary direction’… but simply due to a trick in the geography there and (quote) “primarily due to the terrain of that ridge”.

      ADOSH INTERVIEW (1 of 2) WITH BRENDAN MCDONOUGH
      August 20, 2013 – 1:00 PM
      ______________________________________________________
      Q = Bruce Hanna
      Q1 = Barry Hicks
      Q2 = Dave Larsen ( Rest in Peace )
      A = Brendan McDonough
      A1 = Brendan’s Attorney Emily Dolan
      ______________________________________________________
      Q1: Yeah. Okay. Were you noticing any – did you notice any change in the winds as the day progressed, ah, either direction or strength, um, or?
      A: I’d say we had winds between five and ten. Consistently out of south, southwest and they didn’t shift until moments after the weather came over the radio.

      Q1: So, ah, at the, ah, ah, when you – when your trigger point was reached, did you make that decision or did someone else make that decision?
      A: Me and Steed had come to the conclusion.
      Q1: Steve?
      A: Steed. Jesse Steed.
      Q1: Oh Jesse Steed.
      A: It was time for me to…
      Q1: Gotcha.
      A: …to evaluate where I was.
      Q1: Okay.
      A: ‘Cause they could see – they could see me. They could see.
      Q1: They could see you. And they could see that. Okay.
      A: They could see the fire and what was going on after we had heard the – the weather transmission.
      Q1: Right.
      A: Of the storm coming in where — 50 to 60 mile per hour gusts and 180 degree wind shift.
      Q1: Right. So you knew things weren’t gonna be good at that point.
      A: Mm-hm.

      Q2: Would you – would you take a minute and tell me about what you heard on the r- radio about the weather? As much of that as you can remember. How – who said it?

      A: Steed called me and said there’s a radio – weather coming over. Cause’ this was at that time that I needed to spin my – and he said, “Spin your weather. Listen to crew so I can tell you what’s going’ on. I’ll listen to it.” So I did not directly hear…
      Q2: Did not hear the – the – the weather transmission?
      A: The weather transmission — not directly.
      Q2: Okay.
      A: That was relayed from my captain to me.
      Q2: Okay.
      A: That there was a thunderstorm coming in, expect gusts up to 50 to 60 miles per hour.
      Q2: That’s what he’s told you while (unintelligible).
      A: Yes, sir.
      Q2: Could you…
      A: No this is right after it came across.

      Q2: At that time you got a wind shift. The wind is definitely shifted, were you picked up?
      A: Yeah the wind has shifted. The wind has shifted but it didn’t make a tremendous push. You knew that it was coming up. Just ‘cause that wind – a 180 degree wind shift…
      Q1: Right.
      A: …that’s a phenomenal change.

      Q1: And so you guys moved if I understand right, all four of y’all’s vehicles.
      A: Yes, sir.
      Q1: Okay. And, ah…
      Q2: And can you remember what time that was?
      A: No.
      Q2: Four? Okay.
      A: At this point, the fire is moving straight up and down as north South. It’s moving – it’s starting to come out of the north but it’s really moving east so that my way out is getting cut off sooner than theirs. They had more concern at that point for me and my safety.
      Q1: Right.
      A: Just because of the direction of the fire.
      Q2: Right
      A: So it was – the winds were out of the north, northeast but primarily due to the terrain of that ridge, it’s moving to the east.

      Q1: So the weather was – and the fire activity was changing dramatically?
      A: Oh yeah. Very rapid, um, like nothing I’ve ever seen before.
      _____________________________________________________

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Followup… just a few other ‘quotes’ about the ‘wind shift(s)’
        from various other places in the evidence record…
        ________________________________________________
        ** From SPGS2 Darrell Willis himself… during his ADOSH interview and also reprinted as a SIDEBAR on page 14 of the official WFAR report…

        “…it wasn’t like an outflow. It was pushing the fire in this (southerly) direction. It wasn’t a ten-minute bust and things got back to normal. It was two solid hours…”

        ________________________________________________
        ** From Rob Berry ( in his SAIT interview )…

        4. Robb said that the fire did a U-turn on that day.
        5. He said that the wind turn northerly (outflows) but didn’t know exact time although compared favorably with the Stanton RAWS when he later looked at the data. He said he could feel higher humidity with the outflow wind and actually felt a couple of drops of rain.
        6. Robb said that the wind was “ripping” when it hit and remained very constant for awhile. It just didn’t stop. He said the duration of the stronger wind was also consistent with what the RAWS showed.

        ________________________________________________
        ** From SAIT interview with Blue Ridge Hotshots Frisby, Trueheart (Trew) Brown, Fueller and Ball…

        NOTE: Documents all kinds of ‘crazy’ wind shifts going on at GROUND LEVEL after the 1530 weather update and Captain Brown reports soon after being able to feel the fire itself already PULLING IN THE WINDS ( and apparently already starting to create its OWN ‘weather’ )…

        …there’s a wx update. Trew hears T-storms developing over the fire outflow winds up to 50mph. Brian hears NNE outflow winds up to 50mph, Travis hears outflow winds N NW up to 50mph all happening within 30min. Trew calls the 3 guys with the wx update. There’s a shift out of the west fire is going east and the column is starting to develop and then lays over. When the shift out of the west the column collapsed after the wx update only minutes later. When there’s a wind shift from the west, it then goes SW for 10 minutes and the smoke drifts off to the sth, Travis can feel the column PULLING IN THE WINDS. During this time Travis is on the dozer line. That’s when Travis tells Trew, I don’t think this plan is going to work, this is the 3rd wind shift.
        Column starts to lay down, smoky, the split the helicopter did earlier, is now evident. Extreme fire behavior spot fire to the NW of them. Winds are howling, embers falling, instant spot fires 10 x 10 in seconds, homes going up, fire leap frogging.

        ________________________________________________
        ** SAIT interview with Rory Collins…

        Air Attack – LDF – Roseburg
        Interview took place at 11:00 a.m. 7/13/2013
        Interviewers: Rocha, Kurth, Mike Dudley, Jim Karels.

        15:30 Experienced wind shift and the flank turned and became the head going SOUTH to Yarnell. I let B(?) know prior to the shift to move to that side and start drops.
        15:30 – 15:45 The fire was headed for Yarnell moving FAST to the SOUTH. They were getting retardant drops. Contacted Division A to tell them of fire condition and that they needed to move their rigs to a better location.
        Q: Did he say he was in good black?
        A: NO, he said the other crew was in a good location in the black and they were headed back to the rigs.

        ________________________________________________
        ** From SAIT interview with SPGS1 Gary Cordes…

        1530 ( 3:30 PM )
        – Wind event – collapse of column – fire shifted from flanking fire and turned to a head fire going SOUTH.
        – Place evacuation order
        – Heard of storm to the north
        1540 ( 3:40 PM )
        – Trigger point was 1 mile north of town. It was 5-7 minutes before the fire the next trigger point to get my people out.
        – Spot 1/2 mile.
        – Covered a mile in 15 minutes.
        – Building a column in front of us.
        1600 ( 4:00 PM )
        – I watched the wind change directions 5 times.

        _______________________________________________
        ** From SAIT interview with
        ** SWCC Meteorologist Chuck Maxwell

        “I informed them that this was going to be mainly an outflow WIND REVERSAL issue on the Yarnell fire and not a rainfall issue. I pulled up the updated radar images and showed the gust front and explained its implications. Dugger checked in again with the Incident Commander Roy Hall who said they could SEE IT COMING.”

        _______________________________________________
        ** From SAIT interview with Daniel Kight, DPS officer

        NOTE: Daniel Kight was the Yavapai County DPS officer that was assigned to Yarnell with the YCSO Emergency Mobile Trailer Unit.

        …wind shifted wall of flames headed to Yarnell.
        PREDICTED winds, pant legs were Whipping.
        1550 call to supt Yarnell was going to burn…
        all hell is breaking lose.

        • calvin says

          Div A tells Rory Collins the other crew is in the black and they were headed back to the rigs.

          Questions.
          1. What other crew? Is he referring to a squad of GMH? No?
          2. Who is the “They”, that were headed back to the rigs??
          3. Does this indicate that Marsh was not in the black circa 1530?

        • SR says

          WTKTT,

          Thanks very much for taking the time to find and assemble all of this. I hadn’t known about the McDonough statements as regards what Marsh, Steed and he knew and discussed about the weather. I think it’s glaringly clear that they did know that a full 180 windshift, complete with 50 mph gusts, was coming.

          I also think some of your excerpts help underscore as well that an outflow boundary is not only not a rare or freaky thing that no one could see coming, but that it is also specifically mentioned (referred to both as an outflow and as a gust front).

          It is convenient for those claiming that everything at YHF was perfectly reasonable that, hey, the wind shifted, and no one could see further shifts coming. Crazy outflow boundary, something you couldn’t see and that no one had heard of. Almost as if GM got hit by an asteroid — tragic, but nothing anyone could have done anything to prevent. Of course, that is all completely nonfactual.

  33. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to Bob Powers post on May 6, 2014 at 4:47 pm said:

    >> Mr. Powers said…
    >>
    >> As a division boss I reported to the OPSC
    >> If things started going to hell I talked to OPS and they talked to me.
    >> As a Type 2 OPS or IC I kept track of my resources and made sure they
    >> were not in harms way.
    >> If the fire started going nuts that is your main responsibility
    >> with the plan for the day.
    >> The line OPS should have checked with each one of his divisions and
    >> discussed options. That did not happen
    >> Marsh evidently was OPS only Division Boss.
    >> WTF?

    No. There really WERE ‘two paid Division Supervisors’ on active payroll
    for the SOUTH end of the fire and reporting to Field OPS1 Todd Abel that day.

    Rance Marquez was *hired* and *assigned* as ‘Division Z’ that day early
    in the morning but simply didn’t arrive on the fire until late in the morning.

    He was not sent down to Yarnell to ASK Eric Marsh if he COULD
    ( pretty please? ) be DIVSZ. He had already ‘checked in’ up at the ICP
    and already WAS DIVSZ ( and was now on the clock and getting paid for it ).

    DIVSA Eric Marsh got into an *argument* with him right off the bat.

    Marquez was having radio problems when he first arrived down there
    in Yarnell and so ( according to his own testimony ) he did the only thing
    he could at the moment… he called up to AA Rory Collins just to try and
    get an ‘update’ on what was happening down there on the south end of
    the fire where he was supposed to now be DIVSZ.

    Marsh heard this ‘conversation’ between Marquez and Rory Collins and got
    pissed off. Marsh thought Marquez and Collins were just trying to ‘take away
    real estate’ from him without consulting with him.

    So when Marquez finally got through to Marsh ( following that ‘update me’ call
    with Rory Collins )… Marsh had already mis-understood what he heard and
    what was really going on and was already pre-pissed-off.

    Everyone heard these exchanges.

    Everyone used various adjectives to describe what they heard like ‘mad’, or
    ‘angry’, or ‘argument’ but regardless of adjectives… it was obvious that this
    ‘first meeting’ between DIVSA and DIVSZ did not go well that day.

    Things calmed down once Marsh realized Marquez was not ‘dictating terms’
    to him or anything of the sort… and all Marquez wanted to know is where the
    western end of his (already assigned) ‘Division Z’ was going to be.

    They decided on the ‘old-grader’ as the dividing line between Division A and
    Division Z… and then Marsh actually calmly ( and constructively ) told Marquez
    that it would be good if he could find *another* way to get to the fireline in that
    maze of dirt roads and two-tracks down there.

    So that is what Marquez did. He left the Sesame area to ‘scout that out’.

    Marsh then called OPS1 Todd Abel with ( one of his two? ) cellphones that
    Marsh had with him that day… and reported both the ‘argument’ and the
    ‘results’ to Abel. All OPS1 Todd Abel wanted to know ( according to his own
    ADOSH testimony ) is if the issue had been ‘resolved’… and he was told
    ( by Marsh ) that it HAD.

    So now we have OPS1 Todd Abel (supposedly) understanding that he had
    TWO active (paid) Division Supervisors working ‘together’ down there on
    that south end of the fire… with defined ( and agreed upon ) Division boundaries.

    But then DIVSZ Rance Marquez basically DISAPPEARED.

    At NO TIME during all of this consternation was DIVSZ Marquez either
    RELIEVED of his job OR assigned another one.

    Marquez remained ‘on the payroll’ for the rest of the day as the OTHER
    official ‘Division Z Supervisor’ under OPS1 Todd Abel… and supposedly
    responsible for the entire Yarnell / Glen Ilah side of the south end of
    the fire ( with SPGS1 Cordes as a primary DIVSZ resource ).

    Problem was… no one knew where he went, or what he was doing, or even
    really made any attempts to FIND OUT.

    After that (private) cellphone conversation with DIVSA Marsh… OPS1 Abel
    didn’t even make any attempt to FIND OUT where his (paid) ‘DIVSZ’
    Supervisor was. OPS1 Todd Abel just continued to treat SPGS1 Gary
    Cordes as his ‘Division Z Supervisor’ for the rest of the day and really couldn’t
    have cared less where his actual (paid) DIVSZ was.

    In his ADOSH interview… OPS1 Todd Abel said he never knew where his
    DIVSZ Marquez hire was the entire rest of the day until he ran into him
    face-to-face at the Ranch House Restaurant… AFTER the deployment.

    So OPS1 Todd Abel DID have ‘more than one line DIVS’ under him that
    day and actively ‘on the payroll’ all day… but he didn’t seem to care.

    OPS1 Todd Abel also didn’t even seem to be the least bit concerned about the
    confusion that might be causing down there on the south end of the fire.

    Even when the evacuations started… Neither OPS1 Abel or OPS2 Musser
    made any attempt to ( as Mr. Powers describes above SHOULD have been
    done ) ‘find DIVSZ and make sure all his resources were getting off the fire’.

    This is ALL fully documented in the ADOSH reports, including the detail
    pages for ‘infractions/fines imposed’ against the employer(s).

    This absolute MESS when it came to whether or not there really WERE two
    ‘defined Divisions’ and two ‘assigned (paid) Division Supervisors’ for the SOUTH
    end of the fire that day was a BIG DEAL, according to ADOSH ( from a
    workplace management *and* safety control standpoint ) and they said so.

    • Bob Powers says

      As I said only 1 DIV. Boss The other was not active and it seemed that Frisby was covering that though not assigned.
      They had contact both radio and phone Responsibility runs both ways….Right.
      And I agree the organization was a total mess.
      also without a Safety Officer the job fell to Both of the OPS to cover. Some blame belongs to Overhead in this mess and they should be held accountable in this mess.

      • Elizabeth says

        Bob, I am thinking that your pal RTS/SR/Fire20+/Robert-the-2nd/whatever-he-is-calling-himself-here-nowadays can vouch for the fact that, with wildfires being dealt with in the WUI these days, it is *not* abnormal or unheard of for a WFF crew to go out to start their assignment WITHOUT a Safety Officer already “clocked-in,” on scene, and fully up-to-speed on the relevant fire and allocation of resources. Obviously, that is not the IDEAL way (or maybe even not the “right way”) to do things, but it seems to happen often enough. Is your position that nobody should be out in the field on a fire UNTIL the Safety Officer is on scene and FULLY up-to-speed on the relevant fire and resource assignments? (I am asking for your honest opinion – not trying to argue with you….)

        • SR says

          EN,

          I think everyone here can see that I am neither RTS nor Fire20+. You have a tendency to accuse posters whose views you find inconvenient of being other people, having accused TWARE and WTKTT of being one and the same, for instance. Pretty lame, but a good way to disrupt accurate dialog.

        • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

          Elizabeth,

          What’s with your obsession regarding this RTS thing?

          ONCE AGAIN, you are negating the value of your commentary by putting forth non-factual, incorrect suppositions about people.

          For you to start-off what presumably, is supposed to be serious commentary with this absolute BS, makes a lot of people not want to pay attention to the portion of the commentary that was the purpose of your post.

          I presume myself and WTKTT will be getting another turn on your ‘hot-seat’ very soon, as well.

          • Bob Powers says

            Elizabeth
            You ask me about Safety Officers.
            Safety officers are assigned to type II Short teams.
            WUI has nothing to do with weather a SO is assigned to the fire. Teams are assigned according to complexity and number of resources from short teams to Type I full teams.
            If the Type II team is a on call fully organized they come with a SO.
            Type I teams also have a SO as part of the team.
            Initial Attack fires do not have a SO also unless ordered Type III teams do not normally have a SO.
            A SO is for the whole fire and not for an individual crew.
            The problem with the Yarnell Hill Fire, the State slapped together a Type II team that was short several members. The entire team should have been fully functional at 0600. They should have had Maps and a written plan. Division Bosses and Safety Officer, Plans, Service and Finance.
            The State cut to many corners I assume to save costs.
            Again you can fight Fires with out a Safety Officer but the responsibility falls to the IC and to his OPS. SO is a position under direct command of the IC.
            If a Type I or Type II fully implemented Team is on duty. They will have a SO. The SO will provide safety to plans for each shift and identify problems during each shift to the IC, and work hand in hand with OPS.
            Dose that explain what you asked?
            Also RTS’s fire season is in full swing so you probably will not hear mush from him for awhile and he is none of the other above mentioned people. Robert is Robert and I won’t divulge his last name as he requested.

          • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

            Elizabeth,

            Refer to Bob’s comment, “Robert is Robert”.
            I rest my case.

            • Bob Powers says

              He actually went to Robert The Second because when I first started I signed in as……
              Robert (Bob) Powers which I changed about the same time RTS came on. He worked for me I know him and we communicate on E-Mail
              He goes by no other name on here and he is busy hiring ,training and getting ready for this fire season in R3, He may not be on for awhile and I am sure we will miss his solid input. If someone wants him to jump in for input let me know…….

          • Elizabeth says

            Ms. Marti (or Miss Marti 🙂 ):
            What am I supposed to be apologizing to you for? I am happy to give you an apology, but I am unclear about what I need to apologize to you for…. Please advise.

            • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

              While I can’t speak for Marti, I believe she is refering to this whole RTS fiasco discussed above. If that’s indeed the case, the apology should be going to RTS.

              • Bob Powers says

                You are right and because I know him I am getting emails accusing me of a cover up of his true name. she will not apologize its not her nature.
                Have you ever known a Lawyer to apologize?
                After the attacks 2 months ago I gave up on Elizabeth.

            • Marti Reed says

              I’m not waiting for an apology to me.

              I’m waiting for an apology to those whom you, for some reason, decided to publicly (and irresponsibly, and wrongfully, and thus unprofessionally as bespeaks a lawyer) accuse of being deceitful in their identities here.

              • Elizabeth says

                Ohhhhh, Ms. Marti, if I were wrong, I would absolutely apologize to RTS! 🙂

                In unrelated news, I am so glad that you are out of your “retirement” from IM, Marti. When you announced in February that you were leaving, because you could not afford to give up any more lucrative work to instead spent your time here, I was surprised. It is good that your retirement did not stick! 🙂

                • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

                  Elizabeth,

                  While you have ALMOST NEVER provided any of the proof and documentation that others have repeatedly, over time, asked you for, I’m sure you have the goods on RTS, but as per usual, you won’t be providing any proof!!

                  I’M ISSUING A CHALLENGE TO YOU RIGHT NOW TO PUBLICLY STATE ONCE MORE, THAT YOU KNOW THAT WTKTT AND MYSELF ARE THE SAME PERSON, AS YOU HAVE DONE BEFORE, WHILE CONTINUALLY BAD-MOUTHING RTS .

                  Since you aren’t willing to give RTS his well-deserved apology, you can instead give one to WTKTT and myself. If you don’t, I’m done with you, PERMANENTLY!

                  • Elizabeth says

                    TTWARE, as you might recall, it was “Observer” and I who both noticed the same thing a while ago. Specifically, when a question was asked of YOU, it was WTKTT who replies. Presumably that means that you and he are the same person or are speaking for each other? Or am I missing something?

                • Marti Reed says

                  I never said my work was “lucrative.” It was purely a matter of survival.

                  I’m only a photographer, not a lawyer.

                  • Bob Powers says

                    Based on what I read from TTWARE and WTKTT they are defiantly 2 different people
                    TTWARE Is a wild land Fire Fighter or a retired one totally based on his knowledge and statements here. WTKTT is
                    not a Fire fighter and has learned from us and his research If you have been here awhile you can tell the difference in their stiles.

  34. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    New ‘Chapter’ needed?

    There are now 1,285 ( and counting ) comments contained just in this
    one Chapter SIX of this ongoing discussion.

    The load time on this ‘Chapter SIX’ page is getting pretty long.

    It’s probably time for ‘Chapter SEVEN’ of this ongoing discussion.

    Just a suggestion.

  35. xxfullsailxx says

    since any discussion of weather found down below detracts from mike’s original points i felt the need to start a new comment… i am by no means any sort of weather expert. but like all wff’s worth their salt, weather plays an important part in what we do and it is important to be a “student” of wildfire, and therefore, the weather… and i recently spoke to a couple of NOAA guys about this very thing…

    there was a distinct weather event that occurred called an “outflow boundary.” here is a link that describes it pretty well:

    http://obsweatherguy.blogspot.com/2011/07/outflow-boundary-storms-footprint.html

    the nearest t-cells that day were miles away, and there is a distinction between t-cell “downdrafts” and an “outflow boundary” which can occur miles away from any t-cells and can effect a much greater area than a t-storm downdraft. in fact, a outflow boundary can be picked up by radar (as it was in the case of Yarnell Hill Fire) not unlike a cold front…

    there is also a distinction between fire behavior associated with an unstable atmosphere, which is what i feel like Bob Powers is talking about down below. downdrafts, fire whirls, pyro-cumulus, etc. are all very localized events and certainly occurred that day. but what caught GM was the outflow boundary turning the fire 90 degrees from east to south with 40+ mph winds that they didn’t anticipate. and quite possibly, as the SAIR points out, they interpreted the previous windshift that changed fire spread from NE (which they had been watching all day) to due East as the predicted wind shift and then mistakenly thought that it was safe to flank the fire to BSR…

    • SR says

      Since FullSail completely got wrong the SZ requirements, doesn’t seem to understand local conditions and vegetation even though he claims to be from AZ, has blown multiple other issues, and now seems to not know that outflow boundaries are not unusual byproducts of thunderstorms…well I have to wonder.

      You get thunderstorms during that time of year in the southwest, and winds are likely to shift and be erratic. It is typical. For purposes of thinking about fire behavior, the key is that winds are likely to shift and strong gusts should be anticipated. All of that was known at the time Marsh noted squirrely winds.

      • SR says

        I.e., relying on one wind shift as being “the” wind shift given weather conditions that afternoon would be pretty reckless.

        • Bob Powers says

          As fullsail said fire fighters become students of fire and weather its in your sole. You cant always predict the wind or local changes in the weather by looking at the sky. But if you pay attention to the fire it will tell you a lot. When a fire becomes active and exhibits different flame activity its telling you that weather forces heat, humidity, and wind are changing the normal to increased activity. If the fire starts laying down then it reverses activity. cooling, higher, humidity’s some times less wind or a change in direction. You learn to observe those changes and adjust accordingly. If you are observant you don’t need a weather forecast to let you know what you are already seeing. Its something we learn from many, many days of wild land fire fighting. As fullsail has learned. The little indicators are there we just need to use them in decision making.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to xxfullsailxx post on May 6, 2014 at 8:04 pm

      >> xxfullsailxx said…
      >>…what caught GM was the outflow boundary turning the fire
      >> 90 degrees from east to south with 40+ mph winds that they
      >> didn’t anticipate.

      Wrong.

      They had EVERY REASON to ‘anticipate’ what was GOING to happen and were specifically TOLD that this is what was GOING to happen when Byron Kimball made his 1530 PM ‘weather announcement’. ( See below ).

      >> xxfullsailxx also said…
      >> and quite possibly, as the SAIR points out, they interpreted the
      >> previous windshift that changed fire spread from NE (which
      >> they had been watching all day) to due East as the predicted
      >> wind shift

      Wrong again.

      Your description does NOT match the ‘predicted wind shift’ that
      actually went from FBAN Byron Kimball on the radio that afternoon.
      ( See below ).

      For whatever amount of time the fire ‘appeared’ to just be heading ‘due east’ was simply the period of time when it was still just ‘rotating around’ due to the wind shifts actually announced by FBAN Byron Kimball circa 1530. ( Again… see below ).

      >> xxfullsailxx said…
      >> and then mistakenly thought that it was safe to flank
      >> the fire to BSR…

      Yes… that part of what you are saying seems to be true. They most certainly DID (inexplicably?) think if was ‘safe’ ( or at least acceptable risk ) to go on a cross-country hike through unburned ‘gasoline on a stick’ within 4,600 feet of an actively ROTATING flame front… but that decision cannot be construed to have been based on ‘incorrect weather information’.

      The fire/weather did pretty much EXACTLY what FBAN Byron Kimball SAID it would do… in pretty much the EXACT timeframe he said it would happen… and they ( Marsh/Steed ) DID hear this (accurate) weather forecast on the radio circa 1530 ( 3:30 PM ).

      Here is a a full reprint from a previously posted message that contains what Fire Behavior Analyst (FBAN) Byron Kimball *actually* announced over the TAC 1 channel that day at exactly 1529.52 ( 3:29.52 PM )…

      **
      ** FULL TRANSCRIPT OF BACKGROUND RADIO TRAFFIC
      ** IN AIR STUDY VIDEO 20130630_153014_SEAT_EP.MOV
      **
      ** CONTAINS BYRON KIMBALL’S 1529.52 WEATHER REPORT
      ** GOING OUT ( LOUD AND CLEAR ) ON TAC 1

      This Air Study video is 1 minute and 10 seconds long.

      Since the text notes that accompanied these Air Study videos say that the timestamps in the filenames actually represents the END times for the videos ( 1530.14 ) then that means this particular video STARTS at…

      1529.04 ( 3:29.04 PM )

      Since the VIDEO starts at exactly 1529 plus 4 seconds, and Byron’s weather report is at exactly +0:48 seconds into the video… that makes the EXACT time his crucial weather report actually began over the radio…

      1529.52 ( 3:29.52 PM )

      Here is the actual FULL transcript of the background radio conversation in this AIR STUDY video that captured Byron Kimball’s detailed weather report going out ( loud and clear ) over TAC 1 at 3:29.52 PM.

      NOTE: There is no need for any ‘audio forensics’ here. The background conversation in this AIR STUDY video is CLEARLY heard by anyone with even normal hearing… and Byron Kimball himself is speaking especially LOUDLY and CLEARLY as he gives his weather report over the TAC 1 radio channel.

      ALSO NOTE: This probably goes without saying… but when someone ( anyone ) says ‘EAST winds’ ( like Byron did )… that always means what direction the winds will be COMING FROM. This is industry standard practice when referring to ‘wind direction’.

      Also notice in the transcript below that when Byron was giving his weather report and was CLEARLY warning everyone of the wind change and HIGH wind speeds to be expected… he was ALSO giving detailed information about the expected outpoint to outflow location(s). The video cuts off before we hear the rest of his detailed weather report… but anyone who was hearing it DID hear those specific ‘outpoint to outflow’ details from Byron.

      AIR STUDY VIDEO – 20130630_153014_SEAT_EP.MOV

      NOTE: This AIR STUDY video has been made public and is still
      available in either Mr. Dougherty’s online Dropbox OR at the following YouTube link…

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IP8vglS_PPM

      VIDEO STARTS AT 1529.04 ( 3:29.04 PM )

      +0.02 ( 1529.06 / 3:29.06 PM )
      (Unknown): (?) is gonna be with me (?) has to do and get
      (torches?) out.

      +0:14 ( 1529.18 / 3:29.18 PM )
      (Unknown): Copy

      +0:30 ( 1529.34 / 3:29.34 PM )
      (Unknown): Task Force (common?) to Task Force Six.

      +0:37 ( 1529.41 / 3:29.41 PM )
      Byron Kimball: Operations Abel, Fire Behavior, on TAC 1.

      NOTE: The responder to this callout sounds more like
      OPS2 Paul Musser than OPS1 Todd Abel.

      +0:43 ( 1529.47 / 3:29.47 PM )
      ( OPS1 Todd Abel or OPS2 Paul Musser ): Go ahead, Byron

      +0:48 ( 1529.52 / 3:29.52 PM )
      Byron Kimball: Within the half-hour, (pause) EAST winds. (pause)
      Possibility of as high as 50 miles an hour or likely 25 (pause)
      definitely 25, 35 gusting 40 (pause) east / northeast within the half
      hour. Um… the outpoint to outflow line also ( will be ) located…

      ( At this point… both a Helicopter and a fixed-wing make a loud
      flyover and the background conversation in the last few seconds
      of the video cannot be heard. )

      VIDEO ENDS AT 1530.14 ( 3:30.14 PM )

      • xxfullsailxx says

        umm, i wasn’t saying that GM wasn’t informed of the weather event… nor was i saying that GM was erroneously MIS-informed of the weather event.

        the point is, that there were no direct thunder-cells that influenced the fire behavior with down-drafts that day. nor was it a pyro-cumulus collapse that influenced the fire behavior. what influenced the fire behavior, was an “outflow boundary” which is very different than a t-cell downdraft.

        nice ad-lib and speculation based on an incomplete conversation though… nothing you say above really negates my point. just because they “had every reason to anticipate” something, doesn’t mean they actually did anticipate (or interpret it) correctly. my description does not match the predicted wind shift? so… you seem to be indicating that you think weather forecasters are 100% accurate in their predictions? i would rather base my opinions on the resultant fire behavior (as shown on fire progression maps) as to what the winds actually did that day, rather than the “prediction.”

        • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

          Reply to xxfullsailxx post on May 6, 2014 at 10:10 pm

          >> xxfullsailxx said…
          >> just because they “had every reason to anticipate”
          >> something, doesn’t mean they actually did
          >> anticipate (or interpret it) correctly.

          Fair enough. You may be right.

          Their behavior that afternoon seems to be far
          enough ‘off the reservation’ that it appears it really
          doesn’t seem to have mattered what ANYONE
          thought or what ‘intel’ they received.

          They ( Marsh and Steed only ) made up THEIR
          minds about what THEY wanted to do… and to hell
          with what anyone else might have been telling them.

          I just thought I would balance out YOUR ‘ad-libbing’
          up above by reminding anyone reading of what was
          ACTUALLY said that day by FBAN Bryon Kimball.

          He WAS right. Things pretty much happened just
          the way he said they would over the open TAC
          channels that day.

          • SR says

            It’s important to recognize that a couple posters continually try to normalize every aspect of the decision to go through that bowl. Whether claiming they were going to be making good time on switchbacks and game trails, or implying that it’s reasonable to think one shift in wind is THE sole shift in weather with a thunderstorm blowing in.

            In the real world, as regards storms, it’s not only not the WFFs think, it’s not the experience of normal people, or the way normal everyday people think. I believe everyone here has been in or near a thunderstorm and not been amazed when winds gusted and changed direction. I actually believe many people here have had storms blow through in places like AZ and experienced wind events more severe than those that occurred during a storm that was expected that day. Whether looking after the safety of your crew, or planning a picnic, betting on one single change of wind direction (even if that change had occurred as FullSail claimed it to have) would be a very unusual thing for people normal exposure those storms.

            Likewise, attempts to divert focus onto the specific source of the specific winds encountered at that time can be very misleading. This was not a day with winds forecast for 2-3 mph and gust as high as 6 or 6, that got real breezy through some unanticipated, highly unusual weather event that no one expected or would have reasonably been asked to expect. There was a forecast that more or less showed up as expected. Marsh himself knew and said that the winds were getting “squirrely” up top. He didn’t say “the wind shift seems to have come, and it looks like it is now stable and to the east.”

            3 or 4 posts on the web to implying that GM was relying on THE wind shift that already occurred (and implying that this was normal, and that subsequent winds were freaks of nature) can create a false idea that supports the nothing-to-see-here mantra of some. But, not what happened, and if people reflect on what to expect with that type of front coming through, they should ask how surprising it is that winds shifted in that kind of weather.

    • Elizabeth says

      Hey – xxFullsailxx – thanks. I’ve been beating the weather drum here for a while, but I don’t know nearly enough (while you and Bob Powers obviously know tons). So, thank you – your explanation was incredibly helpful. (In return, here’s some help for you: Don’t rely with 100% confidence on the SAIT fire progression maps (or the SAIT/Wildland-Fire-Associates/ADOSH timeline or other random details (including the SAIT interview notes)). They are just not 100% accurate. I meant to mention this earlier to Bob Powers, but I forgot…. 🙂 )

      • SR says

        EN, beating the weather drum doesn’t add anything but confusion if the weather drum you are beating has no basis in fact. The reality is, shifting winds given the forecast weather, that did materialize, are a normal thing.

        What would be highly unusual and not founded on either experience or even the ability of short-range forecasts to predict specifics is taking the view that a singular wind shift was expected, and had already occurred, and that no further wind shifts were going to happen. Typing the idea, that GM reasonably relied on A wind shift being the SOLE wind shift, multiple times doesn’t make that idea hold water.

        Remember what Marsh said? “Squirrely” winds.

      • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

        While some of the details in the various investigative reports certainly are questionable, the one thing that is not in question, are the timed-stamped radar images of the weather-event progression.

        • SR says

          Yes. The SAIT contains a pretty good weather summary in this regard, starting roughly on p. 70 if I recall, and the ADOSH report does as well.

          I also note that both discuss the outflow boundary pretty matter-of-factly, as is appropriate as it was not a rare component of the expected weather for that day. Likewise there is a discussion of plume dynamics and the terrain channeling that Bob mentioned. Thunder cell development was visible from the area of YHF. Other indicators are noted after 1600.

          In terms of whether this anticipated weather was a rare event, it’s relevant that on the 28th, two days earlier, there was a thunderstorm that passed through with similar wind speeds. There’s just no “rare” there.

        • Elizabeth says

          TTWARE, thanks for your reply – I made a new post for this discussion up above. If you don’t yet have all 30 images of the clouds, I can e-mail them to you. In my view, they are misleading if you watch them in a GIF (which is exactly the same with another progression video related to the YHF – it is hard to get a good sense of the relevant progression when you are dealing with a GIF, in my experience).

          • SR says

            Whatever the reason behind this directed, purposeful effort, I would encourage anyone with questions about the weather caused by this discussion to do two things. 1) Read the weather discussion in the SAIT and ADSOH reports. 2) Think about the times they watched a front of thunderstorms approach from one direction, and ask whether they would assume a partial wind shift as a front approaches would be the ONLY wind shift, given what their experience has been with past fronts blowing in.

            • SR says

              Actually, I should have added a 3) ask themselves, if they’d been told 30 minutes before that N/NE front arrived that the front would bring E/NE winds, would they assume that a partial shift to W winds was going to be the final change in wind brought by that storm front that was itself blow in from N/NE?

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                From Darrell Willis himself…

                During his ADOSH interview
                and also reprinted as a
                SIDEBAR on page 14 of
                the official WFAR report…

                “…it wasn’t like an outflow. It was pushing the fire in this (southerly) direction. It wasn’t a ten-minute bust and things got back to normal. It was two solid hours…”

  36. mike says

    Moved this up here as I can’t type 1 letter to a line.

    Bob,

    I agree with the delayed evacuations being part of the story and that they could have been handled better. I really wonder how different the Yarnell evacuations were from the usual case, reading about other fires leaves the impression that late evacuations are not rare. Others could probably add input on this. I do think it was part of the general theme, they underestimated the fire and played catch-up all day. However, their underestimating the fire still should not have resulted in the GMHS getting killed. The firefighters most in danger from this were the ones on the edge of Glen Ilah, at the head of the fire that afternoon. GM was out in left field – in the black – and walked into the path of the fire. Yes they could have pulled out GM earlier, feeling that their work was futile, but was there any urgency to do so? In the black, they should have been safe.

    SR –

    My questions are not meant to be either tricky or even argumentative. You have been looking at this fire for months. Catch phrases from the report such as lack of risk management or operational oversight really do not add understanding. In your own words, what did the fire command do that they should not have done or what did they not do that they should have done? If you believe their decisions were a major factor in the deaths of the GMHS (as ADOSH does) you should be able to answer those questions. I do believe there has been a tendency to say fire command should have made sure that the GMHS were safe. But who was better able to assess the safety implications of any actions on the part of the crew – the GM overhead or the fire command?

    • xxfullsailxx says

      what some people in this commentary don’t seem to understand (and especially those with no first hand experience of wildland fire operations over the last ten years in and around WUI) is that the Yarnell Fire was the perfect shit-storm of complicating factors…

      -extremely dry fuel conditions with heavy fuel loading…
      -a lightning start fire within close proximity to three communities…
      -three communities who hadn’t prepared for the inevitable…
      -a weather event that occurred (as was expected) in the middle of the burn period…
      -an incoming IMT trying to transition…

      …all happening within a 12 hour period. i am not saying that this event was unprecedented, but it is a situation that is nearly impossible to manage well. and easy, in hindsight, to hyper-analyze what could have been done better.

      what is ironic about the ADOSH fines (and i think this is what mike is saying) is that the very people it says were actually put in harms way will in no way be “compensated” (nor do i think they should be. they were just doing their jobs and had the same choice GM did to refuse risk, i am just explaining one example of why the ADOSH report is out of touch with reality)… GM was in the safest position of anyone that day. as mike said, they made the conscious decision to leave their assignment and try to walk out. i think the ADOSH fines are simply an attempt to “right the wrong” for the City of Prescott, who failed to properly cover their employees with appropriate death benefits.

      • Elizabeth says

        xxFullsailxx – one small point: You make reference above to “a weather event that occurred (as was expected) in the middle of the burn period…”
        My understanding is that the weather event that was “expected… in the middle of the burn period” did not actually occur “as was expected.” My current-and-still-grossly-incomplete impression (based on the research I am currently doing) is that GM got screwed by fire induced weather far more than any predicted outflow from the thunder cells (that, according to the IMET, fell apart). This weather business is difficult for me to research, so anyone who knows anything about fire-induced-weather is welcome to e-mail me at elizabethreyarnell@gmail.com. That said, I have done enough research to date to feel comfortable sharing my above comment.
        (In case WTKTT or whomever wants “links” or sources, allow me to state up-front that my sources are my pages and pages and pages of notes, largely hand-written.)

        • SR says

          EN, you again would do well to get competent sources instead of the ones you seem to be relying on. Unless there is something I don’t full understand. GM themselves noted squirelly winds. Wind shifts and gust during forecast thunderstorms are a fact of life. 50 mph gusts in the southwest that time of year aren’t particularly newsworthy.

          • Bob Powers says

            On top of that the fire had fire swirls or wind devils which are directly related to down draft winds and heat. It takes a good sized area of fire to create its own weather. Around 10,000 acres plus igniting rapidly to create fire induced weather or wind. It may have happened in the canyon the crew was in based on the way the fire hit it and spread rapidly with extreme heat like a blow torch.
            There was a natural chimney, heavy fuels, a large fire head pushed by wind, with a upslope condition. Any fire above the crew would be sucked down to the fire at the mouth of the canyon causing area combustion. A large combination of factors fell into place where they were. At that point similar to the Loope Fire in 1966 in California. The Chimney effect can be devastating. It also is predictable if you pay attention.

            • Elizabeth says

              Bob, I am with you. Are you saying, Bob, that if the fire ran up the two-track to the saddle and reached the “descent point” on the ridge, that *THAT* fire could then PULL a spot up through the valley, essentially like a funnel or chimney? (I am sure I am articulating this poorly, but hopefully you can envision what I am saying.)

              • Bob Powers says

                Not sure what you meant by valley. The canyon the crew was caught in if the fire actually was above them as the fire spread map showed it would have been affected by the fire at the mouth of the canyon that the crew was faced with. Thus creating its own force pulling the fire from both directions. It is a possible scenario based on the way the fire burned. The map showed fire above the crew before the fire below them exploded into the canyon it did not run around them and up to the saddle first
                if that was what you were asking. Take a look at the progression charts if they can be believed or are accurate the fire was also burning above them near the heal of the fire while the fire covered the mouth of the canyon. It is like a backfire being pulled to the main fire. Make science?

      • Bob Powers says

        I have to agree with you on the above, My only concern was the lack of direction by the OPS in not talking to Marsh About the situation and make a clearer decision on staying in the black. I do think the Overhead had some blame in supervision how much is debatable. The Fire had 2 OPS that seemed to cause some confusion as to who was working for who. When the fire broke loose and compromised GM line at around 1530 the crew should have been pulled from there assignment by the OPS or IC. Some one should have been talking to them, They were safe in the Black no dought about that. So simply tell them to stay until we can get you off the mountain. We being the fire command. No less responsible were the crew leaders, and communication with the overhead before moving off the fire.
        As in the past and for years the problem with compensation for seasonal’s is terrible. $25,000 is not going to sustain a wife and 4 kids, so you will see lawsuits in this day and age.

        • xxfullsailxx says

          Bob- the reason why IHC’s are ordered for a situation like Yarnell Hill Fire is because they are expected to make smart decisions, independently, without having to be “looked upon” when shit goes wonky.

          the OSC’s had their bases covered by assigning Marsh as Div. Sup. OSC’s don’t provide for LCES, the line overhead does… in this case, Div Sup Marsh. the whole point of the ICS system is that Command positions don’t have to account for every single resource on the fire… because that would be unreasonable.

          • Bob Powers says

            I totally agree with you except OSC and Division Boss’s should always be in direct contact with those under them to discuss changes and set up new plans if the original plan is failing. Superintendents like to work closely with good Div. Boss’s and OPS always likes to keep updated with their Divisions. At least it worked that way in my time, It never hurt to double check on safety when things started going south, you made sure your guys were good and aware.

            • Bob Powers says

              xxfullsalexx
              The OSC position under Incident Command System Is in fact the old Line boss position he is in fact responsible for and part of the line overhead and is as responsible for LCES as any one on the line and without a SO he is directly responsible for safety to the IC or Old Fire Boss There job descriptions have never changed just there names. IHC’s still answer to there supervisors, Division and OPS’s if there is 1 or 3 crews on a Division they answer to their line overhead.
              Chain of command dose not go away because you are a Hot Shot Crew.

    • SR says

      Mike,

      Risk management is not a catch-phrase. If you have read the report accompanying the ADOSH findings, you have already seen a detailed discussion of risk management. Basically, if it’s clear all day that the tactics you started the day with will not be successful given fire behavior, and you never reevaluate those tactics and continue to expose people to risk, it’s a problem. With poor risk management, you leave everyone more susceptible to stupid things happening.

      Part of management is understanding that everyone underneath you will not always make perfect decisions. It is almost a given that if managers don’t stay mindful of what their resources are up to, or worse commit them in ways bound to not work, and then don’t pay much attention after that, that sooner or later bad things will happen. GM’s lookout is a good example of this that happened before the burnover, though fortunately with a happy ending.

      I’d suggest you go back and re-read the report and state with specificity which part of the risk management discussion and discussions of operational oversight and communications you feel are in error. For instance, I note for communications that management has the ability to cause communication to happen. The fact that GM may have had a history of being close-mouthed as to crew movements and did not specifically reach out to disclose what they were doing clearly was an issue, but operations could have stepped in and asked for communication. If you get only partial communication, as a manager you’re fully able to ask for full communication.

      This actually is a good example of what Putnam talks about in saying the 10 are used to put all blame on crews. Yes, GM could have communicated better. And should have. But, it’s a two-way street.

      Managers get fired in business all the time for mistakes made by employees that the manager didn’t know about, if the manager didn’t show sufficient oversight.

    • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

      Mike,

      In regards to your comment ot SR above, one management specific I can point to is the (State budget influenced?) call for a Type II Short Team after the fire had already been deemed a threat to Yarnell.

      The negative effects of that decision were immediately compounded by the Short Team’s inability to bring to the table the necessary critical components of a ‘Short Team’, which included no Safety Officer or Planning Chief (who were both scheduled to arrived long after the fire had gone Type I).

      It can certainly be argued as to whether or not having these key indivduals on-scene might have changed the outcome of the tragedy. One thing is certain though, having a full team there in a timely manner, would have produced a more positive impact on the firefight that day.

      • SR says

        One further example along these lines is taking the time — about 30 seconds — to discuss with each crew whether they have LCES in place. Saying “we’ll escape by bushwhacking down the unscouted bowl to the BSR” likely wouldn’t have been viewed as acceptable. But that conversation never happened, either earlier when it should have, or when people heard that GM was moving and some became concerned that where they were made no sense.

        Likewise, TWARE accurately pointed out that the BSR was a fail as an SZ. It seems no one, throughout the day, had a conversation with GM where they formally discussed the black qualifying as a SZ. It did, and they should have stayed committed to it. Failure to have that conversation earlier may not have been a central cause of what happened next. But, when a crew says it’s abandoning its SZ and proceeding down its escape route to another SZ, that would have been a logical moment for 15 seconds of mindful conversation as to the what and why and where implied by that statement. As in, Why did the black become unsafe? Why are you moving? Where is your escape route? Which SZ are you moving to, and do you know it’s a good SZ?

        • Bob Powers says

          Again the crew is responsible for there safety.
          If they are ask to do something that is unsafe they have the right to refuse. When Crew fail to use the 10 SO then they don’t follow the rules so yes as Putnam says the crews are blamed which they should be.
          We go back and back again the crews safety is the responsibility of ????? “their crew supervisors.”

          • SR says

            Accountability goes up and down the line.

            Let’s suppose there HAD been a clear statement by GM that they were going to bushwhack down to the BSR, for instance.

            Should ops be off the hook in that case, because, well, GM is responsible for their safety, so people are free to sit back and let them do something they clearly shouldn’t be doing? To be clear, this is a hypothetical. What happened seems on evidence more to be a failure to supervise include a failure to force communication that wasn’t really sought by GM. But, it is part of management and a failure that management can and should be accountable for.

      • mike says

        Again this is the perspective of a non-WFF. Much of what is suggested above could have been done in theory, but just does not sound real world to me. With the fire blowing up and fire command worrying about citizens in Yarnell, moving resources. coordinating firefighting efforts (including air) and worrying about getting additional resources to Yarnell, the idea that fire command would be asking any group of hotshots if they have a lookout or any escape route seems to be a little hard to expect. Maybe this would have been the role of a safety officer (my lack of knowledge) and if so would argue that the Type 2 short crew was an issue. But I have to believe it is generally assumed that hotshot crews take care of those matters. They are highly trained and Granite Mountain’s overhead was not green (at least Marsh and Steed). I do not think that fire command really sees its role as a mother hen.

        Yes managers do get fired AT TIMES for the actions of their employees. But the fire command – hotshot crew relationship is not a typical employer-employee relationship. They are thrown together for a few hours or days on a fire, each with specific, defined roles. The fire command is not responsible for the crew’s training, providing their equipment etc – all the things that exist in a normal manager-employee relationship. Most importantly, hotshot crews are taught and expected to accept that their safety is THEIR responsibility. They choose their SZ’s, they choose their escape routes, they can turn down risk etc. Fire command does not have the “eyes” to make those decisions for a hotshot crew, which is why safety is a crew responsibility. So while it may seem that “blaming the crew” is what fire managers do to escape responsibility, it really just flows from the nature of the job. It sucks, but it is what it is.

        • SR says

          The responsibility rests solely with the crew line is just that, a line. Not the way it works. FWIW many people can and do require crews to report on LCES, which is a helpful and reasonable thing to do. And, not a meaningful time intrusion. It does force mindfulness of LCES.

          Let’s look at part of the hidden aspect of “blame the crew.” Lowly paid seasonal employees are a dime a dozen — they may be integral parts of their communities, and great people, but it’s easy to hire more. And, they tend to not be that influential. Kind of like ski patrollers in the winter. If an accident happens to one of them, to take the view the responsibility must stay at the crew level, and not go up the line the way it always does in quality organizations, is very convenient. More-senior people do have decent salaries, other perks, and a good number of social and professional chits that they’ve accumulated. Are they really supposed to enjoy all those perks, and then if they don’t perform well in a management role, bear none of the responsibility for accidents that result? That seems to be what people are asserting.

          • mike says

            Steed and Marsh were not seasonal -they were full time. Management should be held accountable if they are at fault, not because they get “perks”. Management clearly could have done things better on this fire, that is why you go back and review what you did. But the case to blame fire command as the primary cause for the deaths of the GMHS I think is really quite weak. They did not pull them out (could have, but not necessary for safety). They did not tell them to stay put (actually Abel did it appears). No safety officer (yes they serve a role, but should the GMHS have needed a safety officer to tell them not to go into the canyon).

            Simple fact is the GMHS made a mistake. If they had announced to the world their plan, including the route, yes fire command should have aborted it. But it appears that even if fire command was aware of their movement (and this remains very uncertain), they were not aware of the route. I suspect they never dreamed they would go through the canyon. So really were they obligated to tell them not to do so?

            • SR says

              13 of the GM dead were seasonal. 6 in total were full-time. It is a tad convenient to say all responsibility stops at the crew level. Many of the crew were not even in a position, necessarily, to know that some things weren’t in place safety-wise that needed to be. You have a medical background it seems, would you put it solely on a junior nurse to stand up to a surgeon who was doing something unsafe, or would you ask hospital administrators to also have a few check and balances in place? Including bearing some responsibility if a major case of malpractice happens?

              Lax management creates an environment that allows safety violations. Again, had someone asked Marsh in the morning what his escape route and SZ were, the whole bushwhack and burnover may have been avoided. Lax management was not a sufficient cause for the burnover, for sure, but that simple conversation could have nipped it in the bud.

              • Bob Powers says

                As a division boss I reported to the OPSC if things started going to hell I talked to OPS and they talked to me As a Type 2 OPS or IC I kept track of my resources and made sure they were not in harms way if the fire started going nuts that is your main responsibility with the plan for the day. the line OPS should have checked with each one of his divisions and discussed options. That did not happen
                Marsh evidently was OPS only Division Boss. WTF

              • mike says

                SR –

                Not going to make light of communication, it is usually a good thing. But the leap about having a conversation about a SZ and escape route in the morning and preventing the burnover in the afternoon is mighty large. The walk through the canyon apparently was adlibbed, so how in the heck would the morning talk changed that. Even ADOSH does not suggest fire command knew anything about the walk through the canyon, we have no idea if Marsh had even thought about that route in the morning.

                • SR says

                  Marsh said he was going down his escape route. It’s possible he had id’d it earlier, and yes it is possible he was ad-libbing. Whichever the answer, if he’d committed to another escape route in the morning, he would have been less likely to identify another route as an escape route, as it would’ve then been an outright dishonest statement to do so. If he truly thought that a bushwhack of that nature was a legit escape route (which he may well have thought) ops could either have cosigned on that, or, more likely, suggested to Marsh another escape route.

                  None of the mistakes here are something like sexual harassment where someone may from the get-go have known they were doing something wrong and taken intentional steps to be deceptive. It is troubling to here that Marsh was big on crew secrecy, so he may have been aware that his tactics were often at best unorthodox, but that doesn’t mean he would have actively distorted information if a conversation were to have been pressed. That’s one good reason for people to manage by asking questions until they feel they are reasonably getting straight answers back.

                  For instance, if someone says they are abandoning an SZ, in essence, and going down an escape route to another SZ, a reasonable set of questions is 1) why abandon the first SZ at a time of escalating fire behavior, and 2) what’s your escape route, and 3) what’s your next SZ, and why is it preferable? None of those questions seem to have been asked. Not malice, but not reasonable care of a concerned manager, either.

        • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

          While ‘everybody is responsible for their own safety’ is a true statement, enough is known about human nature to require having Safety Officers on IMT fires.

          Safety Officers certainly can, and do, perform a certain amount of mother-henning when it comes to 10/18, LCES, and other proper safety practices.

          If you ask, most fire managers would admit that they’re among the most important people out there.

          Checks and balances help minimize the effects of human error.

        • xxfullsailxx says

          mike- your perspective is a worthy one. i am sorry you’ve fallen into this futile argument with the yappy-dog.

          the ADOSH report and associated fines are out of touch with reality. had the IMT evacuated all the personnel off of YHF at 1530 as it suggests, and allowed the fire to roll through Glen Illah, or whichever community it was pointed toward, with all the folks there who had refused to evacuate, there would be ten times as many lawsuits.

          the only reason more homes weren’t lost, and civilian causalities didn’t transpire, is because of the efforts of the wff’s. again, as far as GM goes, they had the safest assignment of nearly any other resource on the fire that day. anchor, flank and pinch from the black.

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            >> xxfullsailxx said…
            >> as far as GM goes, they had the safest
            >> assignment of nearly any other resource
            >> on the fire that day.

            Until they didn’t.

            The anchor point ‘assignment’ isn’t what killed them.

            It was the ‘next assignment’.

            Whether that was a *totally* self-imposed ‘new assignment’ or a response to the requests/urgings/directives of management is what remains to be fully discovered and documented.

            • xxfullsailxx says

              again, even if there was another request for GM… they had every right, reason and justification to turn it down.

              unless you’re an internet conspiracy theorist with nothing better to do, you understand that very basic fact.

            • SR says

              Well, we know that there was a request for GM to come down, so TOTALLY self-imposed seems an unlikely scenario. There’s no sign yet that there was an order or veiled order for them to come down. Regardless, at multiple points during the day but certainly around the time GM made the decision to move and for a few minutes after, 30 seconds of communication that didn’t happen could have resulted in GM ultimately making different decisions. There are obviously large vested interests (financial but also professional) that are strongly committed to saying that all responsibility rests on people who aren’t here anymore. But, if the transition from IA and thereafter had been handled better — in line with what standards would suggest — there is a reasonable likelihood that the bushwhack never would have happened.

              • Marti Reed says

                I still think critical evidence is being with-held. It could be that that evidence is not so critical. It could be that Granite Mountain made the decision completely internally, wanting to push their odds on their own, as they sometimes had done in the past. But there are chunks of that that still don’t make sense to me.

                But if that were the case, if there is “nothing to hide,” if it is just them making a truly stupid and dangerous decision on their own, why was a camera that contained a critical conversation hidden from the chain of evidence, why are cellphones still missing, why are gps units still missing, and why are the critical conversations GM had over their crew radio frequency–obviously listened to by Brendan, and likely listened to by various Blue Ridge Hotshots, and maybe listened to by Daryll Willis, still missing?

  37. Bob Powers says

    WTKTT
    Just reread your post on the 3rd.
    the extra 9 or 10 min. could be attributed to the crew waiting for Marsh to drop off the top and catching up with the crew. Just another possibility. No evidence for proof but very plausible.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Reply to Bob Powers post on May 5, 2014 at 5:39 pm

      >> Mr. Powers wrote…
      >> WTKTT… Just reread your post on the 3rd.
      >> The extra 9 or 10 min. could be attributed to the crew waiting for
      >> Marsh to drop off the top and catching up with the crew. Just
      >> another possibility. No evidence for proof but very plausible.

      Yes. Still perfectly possible.

      It’s GOOD to have an accurate timeline now for all the photographic evidence from up on that ridge that afternoon… but it DOES throw some new mysteries into the works.

      When everyone ( SAIT included ) just thought that Wade Parker’s photo that he texted to his mother was *actually* taken from that ‘Rest Location’ at 4:04 PM ( and that that could be assumed to be the LAST photo taken at that location ) it seemed to nail down a time when they MUST have left that location to head SOUTH ( SAIR ended up saying 4:05 PM ).

      The SAIT must have just done some kind of ‘test walk’ from that ‘Rest Location’ to the ‘Descent Point’ ( they never said HOW they arrived at ANY of their time estimates ) and it came out around 15 minutes, so 4:20 PM then just became their logical ‘guesstimate’ as to when Steed/Crew (plus Marsh?) made it to the ‘Descent Point’… and that is the time they ‘published’ in the SAIR.

      Now that the ONLY *actual* proof as to the what TIME they were STILL at that ‘Rest Location’ and taking all those photos/videos is Christopher’s final cellphone image ( IMG_2738 taken at exactly 3:55.31 PM )… there are now 9 to 10 minutes ‘unaccounted for’ and we really have no proof WHAT was happening during that time.

      Personally?… I think if they HAD just sat there at that ‘Rest Location’ for 9 or 10 more minutes just waiting for Marsh to ‘arrive’ there BEFORE heading SOUTH…

      …I simply think we would be seeing MORE PHOTOS with timestamps in the 3:55 to 4:04 PM timeframe.

      They would have had nothing else to do for those extra 9 or 10 minutes ( waiting for Marsh ) than to just keep doing exactly what they had been doing ( taking lots of pictures of the fire ).

      Somehow… I believe the fact that all the ‘picture taking’ abruptly ENDS with Christopher’s IMG_2738 at exactly 3:55.31 PM means something.

      I believe it *means* ( at the very least ) that 3:56 PM is then about the time Steed ‘announced’ something like “gaggle up, boys… we’re leaving”… and they did, in fact, leave that ‘Rest Location’ then.

      Now… whether they just moved those few hundred feet to the
      southwest to the ‘two-track’ and began ‘assembling’ there on the two-track ( but still ended up waiting THERE for Marsh to catch up from behind )… we simply don’t know.

      But the ‘picture taking’ DID abruptly ended at 3:55.31 PM, and I think that means something.

      I still think Marsh was at the ‘end of the line’ of 19 men, even if they did wait for him… and that still has to be the ultimate explanation for Steed being the one to come on the radio FIRST with the initial MAYDAY… and only 3 minutes later do we then hear Marsh ( out of breath from running ) come on the radio saying “This is DIVSA… and I’m here NOW with Granite Mountain”…

      …but when they actually left to head SOUTH ( and at what point Marsh really was finally ‘with them’ ) we still don’t know.

      • calvin says

        WTKTT… I agree with the point that it appears GM left the location where all the pictures and videos were taken circa 1556. And it appears that the SAIT was basing their timeline on the text sent by Parker and the incorrect timestamp (thanks ASAIT) on the power shot camera.

        Could it be that the SAIT used the GPS information from Caldwell to determine not only the times, but also the route GM chose?

        It does appear (to me) that after Marsh tells Bravo 33, that is exactly where we want the retardant (1637?), and it wasn’t dropped,; then Marsh didn’t transmit again until he was with the crew. However, I am not convinced he was behind the crew. If so, there is no way (in my opinion) he could have saw Bravo 33 flying through the middle bowl west to east.

        BTW… Blue Ridge YIN says the first radio traffic they heard regarding GM in trouble came on Tac1, not A/G (tac 5)

        YIN P 44 David Morgan Pilot 215KA….. he heard GM trying to contact AA prior to deployment.

        Regarding the link to the Facebook comment. I hope the person that actually made the comment will speak up and share the information.

        • Elizabeth says

          Calvin, I don’t know a lot about Hotshots, but I would bet my LEFT arm based on what I have learned over the past many months that Wade Parker was *NOT* texting and moving at the same time. Therefore, regardless of the time that he TOOK his picture, we can assume with some relative level of certainty that he SENT it at 4:04 p.m., such that the GM guys were NOT on the move at 4:04 p.m. They left AFTER 4:04 p.m. No?

          • calvin says

            Elizabeth. I agree, most people do not text while hiking on uneven terrain. And I agree, with a fair amount of certainty that Wade Parker did send the text at 1604

            You know what doesn’t make sense? To accept as fact that GMH took a minimum of 10 photos and 3 videos between 1549 and 1556 and suddenly turned off their cameras while continuing to sit for another 8 or nine minutes and then suddenly Wade Parker pulls up a picture that is approaching 20 minutes old and texts it, when he could have easily snapped a current photo and sent it.

            I think it is much more likely that Wade Parker actually sent the photo after leaving the spot where the picture was taken.

            Regarding the facebook comment I have referenced (and the one YOU liked). It *seems* that there was a pause by GM (before descending) and a photo was taken. Wade Parker could have texted his picture at this point. No?

            • calvin says

              Elizabeth, follow up. It hasn’t been discussed (yet), but I would put the Parker Photo as happening before any Mackenzie picture. And also before the CALDWELL video.

              In the very bottom right corner of the Parker picture, you can see a small portion of black helmet. I believe this is the helmet of Robert Caldwell, and he is moving down to the location where he takes his video.

              • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                Reply to calvin post
                on May 6, 2014 at 1:52 pm

                >> calvin said…
                >> It hasn’t been discussed
                >> (yet), but I would put the
                >> Parker Photo as happening
                >> before any Mackenzie
                >> picture. And also before
                >> the CALDWELL video.

                calvin… it HAS been discussed, even recently, and there is a video that pretty much PROVES that Parker actually *took* his ‘texted photo’ just BEFORE Caldwell shot his video.

                That ‘video crossfade’ between Parker’s photo and a stillframe from the start of Caldwell’s video is here…

                Youtube Video Title is…
                ‘Parker-and-Caldwell’

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9emH4nY_zs

                This ‘video crossfade’ clearly shows that the fireline has progressed some to the SOUTH in-between Parker’s photo and the start of Caldwell’s video.

                  • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

                    The only thing that has NOT been resolved about the TIME on the Parker photo ( texted out some 14 minutes AFTER he took it ) is exactly HOW MUCH sooner he took it before Caldwell started shooting his video there.

                    It’s hard to venture a guess just from looking at the ‘crossfade’… but I would say it had to be no sooner than about 60 seconds before the video… but not anything less than 15 or 20 seconds.

                    Do you see any better way to nail that down other than ‘guessing’ about the fire progression seen in the ‘crossfade’?

          • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

            Reply to Elizabeth post on
            May 6, 2014 at 10:56 am said:

            >> Elizabeth said…
            >> I would bet my LEFT arm based on what
            >> I have learned over the past many months
            >> that Wade Parker was *NOT* texting and
            >> moving at the same time.

            Elizabeth… I don’t know if the loss of any extremities depends on it… but that is a
            fair assumption to make.

            You are RIGHT to point out that the 4:04 PM
            network timestamp on Wade Parker’s ‘transmission’ DOES exist… and will always need to be ‘factored in’.

            I agree with you.

            It is NOT LIKELY that Wade Parker was ‘sneaking in a text transmit’ while he was
            ACTUALLY ‘hiking’ in-line with the rest of the men. It was not the ‘policy’ of this Granite Mountain organization for ANYONE to be using their electronic devices WHILE they were hiking.

            Indeed… except for the odd ‘opportunistic’ shot like a retardant drop happening ( everyone gets their cameras out for those ) the ‘policy’ seems to have been ‘no picture taking, texting, or phone calls unless on a break’.

            So is the 4:04 PM network timestamp on the text message enough PROOF that they didn’t actually DEPART that ‘Rest Location’ and head SOUTH until 4:04 PM?

            Maybe. Maybe not.

            As I said above… it is GOOD to (finally) have an accurate timeline for ALL of that photographic evidence from out on that ridge that afternoon… but the new *accuracy* calls into question previous *assumptions* like when they actually did LEAVE that area.

            It is perfectly possible they DID *leave* that photo-taking location right at 1556 ( when the picture taking stops )… but it was not possible to ‘form a line’ in those ROCKS.

            Their next ‘move’ would have been over to the two-track to start ‘assembling’ into a single file line… and I’m sure that’s what they did next.

            It’s possible they THEN just waited THERE on the two-track for another 8-9 minutes for Marsh to ‘catch up’ to where they were.

            Whether he ( Marsh ) did or not… or whether they got tired of waiting for him and took off SOUTH without him is still unknown…

            …but it is possible that if that is what they were doing ( waiting for Marsh while lined up on the two-track ) that they would have still been in ‘break mode’ and it would have been OK for Parker to still be fooling with his smartphone and sending his text message at 4:04 PM… BEFORE starting the ‘hike’ SOUTH.

            I’m afraid it is going to remain debatable, however.

            Parker COULD have ‘snuck in a text transmit’ as they were hiking south… even if he wasn’t supposed to.

    • The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

      Regarding the time issue, the more I think about it as I try to put myself in their shoes, I think there must have been a brief period at the top of the bowl (1-5 minutes) where they were contemplating the “Now what?” moment.

      As they trudged along the 2-track, they had no idea what the direct route to the ranch was going to look like from the top of the bowl. All of a sudden, they were facing a transition from an open path, to a brush-choked bowl. There had to have been some ‘oh shit, now what?’ thoughts and comments as they contemplated their next move.

      My speculation is that they discussed it, and thought about it for a brief period of time as noted above, before actually committing themselves, which may account for some of the ‘travel minutes’.

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        Reply to TTWARE post on May 6, 2014 at 9:36 am

        >> TTWARE said…
        >> Regarding the time issue, the more I think about it as
        >> I try to put myself in their shoes, I think there must have
        >> been a brief period at the top of the bowl (1-5 minutes)
        >> where they were contemplating the “Now what?”
        >> moment.

        Yes. It’s hard to picture that ‘decision’ happening any other way. There have been times when it seems like Steed might have just put his ‘left blinker on’ and down they went… but given the circumstances that afternoon that would almost surely represent some kind of ‘heat stroke’ moment.

        I’m sure, when Steed humped over that final rise in the two-track and the Ranch actually came into view ( and the rest of the two-track heading SOUTH essentially ‘disappeared from view’ )… he was probably shocked.

        >> TTWARE also said…
        >> As they trudged along the 2-track, they had no idea
        >> what the direct route to the ranch was going to look like
        >> from the top of the bowl. All of a sudden, they were
        >> facing a transition from an open path, to a brush-choked
        >> bowl. There had to have been some ‘oh shit, now what?’
        >> thoughts and comments as they contemplated their
        >> next move.

        Most likely. I would even say the “oh shit, now what?” moment was (briefly) preceded by a few seconds of
        “Are you f**king KIDDING ME?”.

        Whether or not Steed actually got right on the radio and expressed either of those sentiments to his boss ( Eric Marsh )… we do not know.

        >> TTWARE also said…
        >> My speculation is that they discussed it, and thought
        >> about it for a brief period of time as noted above, before
        >> actually committing themselves, which may account for
        >> some of the ‘travel minutes.

        Your ‘they’ and ‘themselves’ obviously just refers to Steed and Marsh. The other 17 were just ‘along for the ride’ at that point.

        If Marsh was not physically with Steed at this point… then ANY conversations about this ‘decision’ pretty much MUST have taken place on the intra-crew channel… and anyone who was listening to that channel at that time ( like Brendan McDonough, Darrell Willis, and perhaps up to 3 Blue Ridge Hot Shots sitting in the other 3 GM vehicles ) probably heard some/all of this ‘decision making’.

        There is still one background radio capture right around this exact time that APPEARS to be Marsh telling someone ( like Steed? ) to ‘not be upset’ and Marsh then seems to say he’s ‘coming off the slope’ in an effort to get ‘catch up’ quicker…

        …but that background capture has NOT been verified yet.

        Even if that background capture ends up being verified it is obvious it was taking place on one of the open TAC channels, which itself would then be another mystery.

        If Steed really was ‘upset’ about the decision that now lay in front of him and was expressing that to Eric Marsh… WHY would he be doing that on an open TAC 1 or 2 channel and NOT on the GM intra-crew?

  38. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to Elizabeth post on April 30, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    >> Elizabeth said…
    >> There absolutely 100% *are* text messages and photos
    >> ( from GM Hotshots ) that the SAIT was never given. The
    >> SAIT never ASKED for them (to this day).
    >>
    >> WantsToKnowTheTruth on April 30, 2014 at 8:40 pm said:
    >> I honestly hadn’t heard that.
    >> My turn to ask…
    >> What are YOU basing THAT statement on?
    >>
    >> calvin on May 1, 2014 at 3:17 am said:
    >> Elizabeth. How many? Did the ADOSH investigators ask for
    >> other pictures and texts that were sent?
    >> ScottNorrisPhotoAndText.pdf says……(in an email from Randy
    >> Okon to Richa Wilson)on August 8 2013……..
    >> I believe we have received all text and photos from the families that
    >> we are going to see.
    >>
    >> Marti Reed on May 1, 2014 at 8:43 pm said:
    >> So….. evidence? Links? How do you KNOW that??

    Elizabeth…

    We are ALL still waiting for an answer here.

    Did you just ‘make that up’… or do you *actually* have evidence to support your statement that there are other texts and/or emails from the Granite Mountain Hotshots on Sunday, June 30, 2013 that have never seen the light of day?

    • calvin says

      WTKTT. I believe Elizabeth is correct, but it would be nice if she could be more specific , or give examples. Thanks

      • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

        calvin… what makes YOU think she is correct? I honestly hadn’t heard anything about this so just wondering what makes you think she even *might* be correct?

        Did someone say something in a media article?

        Rumors?

        …OR… just ( perhaps ) a *feeling* and/or *assuming* that
        some family members *might* have had things they didn’t
        want to share with investigators?

        I don’t actually have that *feeling* or *assumption* myself.
        I would find it very hard to believe that any family member
        might have been *refusing* to cooperate with investigators,
        which is why I’m simply wondering what this *claim* is
        really based on.

  39. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Reply to Elizabeth post on May 5, 2014 at 10:35 am

    NOTE: This is a ‘continuation’ of a discussion that was taking place down below
    regarding Rory Collins ‘abruptly’ leaving the fire at 1558… but the ‘reply’ comment
    space got filled up to the right-side. New parent comment started to make
    room for more comment.

    >> Elizabeth asked…
    >> What makes you think the briefing Rory gave (as compared to the one
    >> Bravo3 gave, for example) was NOT a proper briefing?

    I can’t believe we are going over this one again.

    You, yourself, have already asked for ‘opinions’ about this a number of times
    before and below is simply a ‘reprint’ of ONE of the answers from March 12…

    >> WantsToKnowTheTruth on March 12, 2014 at 6:52 pm said:
    >> Reply to Elizabeth post on March 12, 2014 at 4:29 pm
    >>
    >> Elizabeth said…
    >> Rory left the fire at 3:59 p.m. because the PILOT who was
    >> FLYING the plane for him RAN out of time and had to return
    >> to Deer Creek (or Deer Valley or whatever it was). That pilot
    >> could NO longer be in the air, according to the relevant
    >> regulations/rules.
    >>
    >> WTKTT responded…

    Correct. ( Deer Valley is where the airstrip was ).

    I also agree with your opinion that the ‘official’ reports ( the SAIR in particular ) did Rory Collins a huge disservice by not making it clear that it was not HIS decision to ‘abrupty leave the fire’ at 1558 ( timestamp according to SAIR report ).

    That being said… there is STILL the following documented testimony from Bravo 33 regarding the ‘briefing’ ( or lack thereof ) from Mr. Collins that day.

    Does THIS sound like Mr. Rory Collins gave them any kind of “proper briefing”?

    SAIT Interview Notes ( page 15 )…
    _____________________________________________________
    INTERVIEW WITH BRAVO 33
    July 9, 2013 – 1700
    Interviewees:
    John Burfiend-ATS Specialist
    Clint Clauson – ATS Trainee
    Thomas French – AT Specialist
    Interviewers:
    Mike Dudley, Brad Mayhew, Tim Foley, Jay Kurth, Jimmy Rocha
    __________________________________________________________________
    We had been there about 1 ½ hours when air attack on the scene told us he had
    to leave. (1700 NM time). It was a strange change out. He just said “you have the
    fire, I’m leaving”. Not sure if I was talking to structure group 1 or 2. I remember
    looking up. Talking to ops structural group 1, 2 and ops.

    I knew there was 2 structural groups. I wrote down 2. Tom said “hey dude, you
    are the air attack”.

    Didn’t know Division A was the superintendent of the Granite Mountain hot shots.

    Air attack didn’t tell me there were resources in the area.

    I never got divisions from the briefing. Didn’t know there were divisions. Thought it
    was a Type 3 incident. I didn’t recognize Todd’s voice. I didn’t know anybody was
    taking any action on the fire.

    I didn’t know that Blue Ridge was there until we were home watching the news.
    __________________________________________________________________

    So, given these statements from Bravo 33, how can ANYONE say that
    Rory Collins did a ‘proper transition briefing’ with these guys before just
    bailing off the fire? Even B33 testified it was (quote) “a strange changeout”.

    Bravo 33 ended up essentially CLUELESS.

    If that is actually ‘standard practice’… then guess what (else) needs to
    CHANGE (toot-sweet) in the WFF business.

  40. Bob Powers says

    fire20+
    I hear what you were saying and you picked up on mine.
    My problem with Putnam is that he did not spend time explaining his theory.
    In other words many Fire Fighters not talking to him directly have formed the opinion that the 10 Standard Orders are old and not current for todays fires.
    Like his question which one of the Orders is the most important or number one?
    As I have said and trained for years no one by its self stands out they are all interactive and have a place at different times on a Fire.
    Fight Fire aggressively but provide for safety first—The other 9 are the Safety Rules. That seems to have got lost somewhere with Putnam, at least that’s my take. LCES is good but it is only 3 of the 10 you should always be aware and use the other 7. I hope that makes science. Because of human nature I dought we will ever eliminate Fire Fatalities. Most Fire Fighters will learn and use the rules and that is a good thing.

  41. The Truth Will Always Remain Elusive says

    Reference WTKTT’s 4/30/14 comment regarding Google Earth images, all previous satelite images are still available on Google Earth simply by clicking on the ‘historic images’ (1997) button under the picture. Any placemarks you had imprinted previously, will show up on each of the ‘historic’ images there as well, beginning in 1997.

    • WantsToKnowTheTruth says

      Followup… ONLY ‘Google Earth’ ( the desktop application ) has the
      ability to use ‘previous satellite image sets’. ‘Google Maps’ will still
      just ‘default’ to using the ‘latest’ production set of satellite images
      which are now ‘post-fire’ ( Dated January 4, 2014 ).

      ‘Google Earth’ is FREE!
      There IS a ‘professional’ ( paid ) version available that has more
      capability than the FREE version… but ALL versions of ‘Google
      Earth’ can, in fact, show ‘previous satellite images set’ if that’s
      what you need to see.

      If you still need the pre-fire images… just download/install