Jasper, Alberta—Three years ago today, at 4:42 p.m., 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed when a fast-moving wildfire entrapped them in a box canyon at the base of the Weaver Mountains west of Yarnell, AZ.
Since that day of wildland firefighting infamy, three books have been published that have yet to answer why the men were in a location they should never have been. And now, a major Hollywood movie is in production that will ultimately completely distort what happened on that tragic afternoon. (How could you, Jeff Bridges?)
More than 22,000 comments have been posted on this site, some of which have helped piece together much of what happened on the worst day of firefighting in the history of Interagency Hotshot Crews after two state-sponsored investigations failed to provide a clear explanation.
But the ultimate “Why”, remains sealed, locked in the code of silence that permeates the world of wildland firefighting where the fear of telling the truth falls a distant third to securing a high-dollar government pension and avoid being blacklisted.
The answer to how this disaster occurred has been deliberately obscured by a confederacy of silence, inept investigations, shameful legal obstruction and bureaucratic stonewalling.
Instead, the powers-that-be shamefully amplify the myth of the hero to bury the truth, a disgusting, but a time-tested tactic, that a too often compliant news media has been happy to bolster with tear-jerk, mush-and-milk journalism instead of persistent, hard-nosed reporting that a catastrophe of this proportion demands.
Yarnell bears no resemblance in any way to the fearless and courageous New York City first responders ascending the steps of the twin towers only to be ground to dust by the collapsing sky scrappers on September 11, 2001.
Yarnell only has victims.
Nineteen young men needlessly died when a combination of complex events, many of which were preventable, coincided to create a penultimate disaster that will reverberate for decades.
The fundamental failures of leadership on June 30, 2013, are staggering.
Yarnell is more equivalent to the reckless, thrill-junkie school bus driver gunning his Bluebird full of children to race across the railroad tracks as a fast-approaching freight train blasts its horn, warning lights flash, and crossing gates descend – and getting broadsided.
“It’s a time versus distance thing that I see,” Prescott Wildland Division Chief Darrell Willis, who oversaw the Granite Mountain Hotshots, told the press during a July 25, 2013, press conference at the site where the 19 men perished in 2,000-degree flames. (See two videos of the press conference.)
A hotshot crew under competent leadership should never face a “time versus distance” equation where a miscalculation results in the death or injury of a single firefighter, let alone an entire crew.
Two of the men directly responsible for this disaster died on June 30. Crew Superintendent Eric Marsh and Captain Jesse Steed made the critical decisions that led the crew to the box canyon death trap.
Questions remain as to whether Marsh was requested/ordered by senior state fire commanders to move the crew from the safety of the “black” to Yarnell at a time when the community was under mandatory evacuation. There is certainly plenty of evidence indicating that senior fire commanders were quite aware that Granite Mountain was moving at an extremely dangerous time.
By all accounts, Steed was a solid leader and well respected by the hotshot crew. But Steed, a former U.S. Marine, did not refuse reports of Marsh’s order to leave the safety of the black and bring the crew down the mountain to meet their death in a box canyon, a place wildland firefighters know to fear.
“Anybody who has ever taken a wildlands class is warned about box canyons,” says former Yarnell Fire Chief Peter Andersen. “You might as well be standing in a fireplace — with the flue open.”
Marsh, who was not with the crew when it came off the mountain, joined the men moments before they were burned over. Clearly, this was a courageous action on his part, particularly if Marsh left a safe location to join his men facing extreme peril. But it is also akin to the captain going down with the ship. It’s expected.
Marsh and Steed were victims too. Victims of a wildfire philosophy that has spun out of control epitomized by the fact the Granite Mountain Hotshots were the only IHC in the country attached to a municipal fire department. Their marching orders were expanded, in no small part by Willis, to include structural protection, apparently, at any cost.
“It’s all speculation at this point and time, but in my heart, I would know they are not protecting themselves. They are going to go, and they are going to protect that ranch,” Willis said at the July 25, 2013, press conference. “They protected themselves as a last resort.”
The ranch Willis was referring is the Boulder Springs Ranch that was about 600 yards east of where the men died. Ironically, the same property was supposedly identified as a “bomb-proof safety” zone on the morning of June 30 by a senior fire commander in instructions to Marsh, raising questions why Granite Mountain was heading to “save” a place that didn’t need saving.
The state of Arizona’s shorthanded, underfunded and bumbling response to the Yarnell Hill Fire that started from a lightning strike on June 28 is also directly responsible for the disaster. The state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health lays out the keystone cops scenario, even with the U.S. Forest Service’s refusal to allow key federal firefighters from the Blue Ridge Hotshots and in airborne command aircraft to assist in its investigation.
But the ADOSH investigation and citations came to naught after a global settlement was reached between the families of the hotshots, the state Forestry Division, and ADOSH in June 2015. The state settled for a pittance after being sued for $237.5 million: $670,000 was paid out to the 19 families with the 12 families involved in a joint civil suit each receiving $50,000 and the other seven families awarded $10,000 each.
The Forest Service played its role in burying the truth by conducting an inept investigation on behalf of the state Arizona and issuing a Serious Accident Investigation Report that concluded nobody did anything wrong. Say what?
Heavily redacted Forest Service records obtain by InvestigativeMEDIA through a Freedom of Information Act request shows how hostile the agency was to anyone who raised questions about its absurd conclusion that everything was just fine at Yarnell and its deliberate decisions to ignore key information from hotshot crew leaders familiar with Granite Mountain’s checkered past.
The Arizona State Forestry Division, meanwhile, working through a contract with a private law firm, was unable to reach an agreement with ADOSH and the attorney of Granite Mountain’s lone survivor, Brendan McDonough, for McDonough to be deposed. The acrimonious exchange of emails (page 97-161) between the attorneys suggests a deliberate effort to scuttle the deposition that was scheduled just days before the two state agencies and survivors reached the global settlement.
Serving as a lookout, McDonough was not with his crew and narrowly escaped death when he was picked up by an ATV driven by Brian Frisby, the Superintendent of the Blue Ridge Hotshots, as the fire overran his position.
After his rescue, McDonough told investigators he sat in Marsh’s truck and turned up the crew’s radio channel. Amazingly, or perhaps on purpose, neither the Forest Service’s cursory interview nor ADOSH investigators, who twice interviewed McDonough (Aug. 20, 2013, and Oct. 10, 2013) asked the star witness the obvious question: “So, what did you hear?”
What he heard, according to published reports in early 2015 that were muddied with denials, was an argument between Marsh and Steed about moving the crew. Marsh wanted the crew to come off the mountain. Steed thought it was too dangerous. But Steed relented under a direct order from Marsh.
This exchange, clouded by McDonough’s denial that it occurred, is the closest description of what may have happened that has surfaced. McDonough, who published a book in May on his life story and the Yarnell Hill Fire, provided no new insights into what happened and, in fact, created more confusion by offering conflicting accounts of whether fire commanders were aware Granite Mountain was moving off the mountain.
The Arizona Forestry Division, which oversaw the Yarnell Hill debacle, brought in a new director in early 2015, a former hotshot named Jeff Whitney, who refers to himself as “Jefe” in emails to his staff. Whitney is in a position to know more about what happened in Yarnell than perhaps any other person. As a former hotshot superintendent, he’s part of an elite club that shares information through back channels.
And it was his staff that held a Feb. 5 meeting with the families of the Granite Mountain Hotshots to answer a comprehensive list of questions about what happened at Yarnell. (Not all the families were invited to the meeting, only the 12 families that agreed to settle their civil suit against the state. The state says it has no record of which families attended the meeting.)
Whitney isn’t sharing what the state and others told the families at the meeting. Instead, he’s hiding behind his desk, using attorneys and their heavy reliance on redacting state documents as if national defense secrets were threatened and press aides to brush off inquiries about one of the most tragic days in the history of Arizona.
What did the state tell the families about what happened on Yarnell Hill? Is this not public information?
Whitney’s arrogance (he walked out of an interview his staff requested when this reporter began setting up a video camera) fits perfectly with an attitude among many wildland firefighters that the public just wouldn’t understand how they do their jobs, so it is better just to keep them in the dark and continue the knee-jerk genuflecting at the feet of the “Hero”.
The state is taking another step to hide its colossal failure with the dedication of a new memorial state park for the Granite Mountain Hotshots scheduled for Nov. 30. It’s fitting to pay tribute to those men who died a most horrific death.
But the state’s memorial is also another step in a concerted effort to blur the past and wash its bloody hands.
The ultimate memorial is for those who know the details of what led to the deaths of 19 men to step forward and to tell the truth about what happened on June 30, 2013.
Those details include not only what happened on the ground, but the circumstances that created a scenario that spun completely out of control, including the clear lack of training that blinded the crew to the imminent danger it was facing.
Only then, will we honor the fallen members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots.© Copyright 2016 John Dougherty, All rights Reserved. Written For: Investigative MEDIA
Diane Lomas says
Why the GMHS left the safe black burned area in late afternoon on 6/30/2013:
Were they responding to the need for skilled firefighters to execute a burnout in the Shrine corridor in a desperate effort to prevent the fire from entering the Yarnell area?
Was the radio message sent to GMHS after 4 p.m. on 6/30/2013 urging the men to hurry up related to the need for GMHS to assist with the technically difficult burning operation as Gary Olson described?
When GMHS were delayed in arriving to assist with the burnout in the Shrine corridor could the firefighters already positioned there (Blue Ridge and others),beliving that they could not wait any longer ,have started the burn and it got out of their control and caught GMHS?
Yes Marsh was acting as a Division Sup that day he was Division Alpha that day thats why when he yelled into the radio This is Division Alpha IC…….Because he was Just that he was as the ranch already and he just like the others left a place they were safe.
Everyday I still live with the question “what if” and if I only know then what I do know I would have spoke up more and brought things to attention that went wrong and were done wrong and made people that have seemed to remained in the shadows responsible for there actions or “lack of” between this and what happened that day was what brought me to resign from the State Forestry Division as an Initial Attack Dispatcher of 5 yrs there.
Robert the Second says
You are in no way culpable or responsible in any way for what happened to the GMHS that day. There is nothing you could have said or done to change anything up on the fireline that day.
Everything that happened to the GMHS was solely on the shoulders of those men, primarily their supervisors.
They claimed to know The WFF Rules, they knew the risks involved, and they went ahead and left the good black anyway, at the worst possible time.
The Crew Leaders of the GMHS, like the leaders of all WFF, share the ultimate responsibility of protecting the safety and welfare of those they supervise.
The GMHS supervisors failed in that responsibility.
I know its easy for me to say, however, please stop beating yourself up and forgive yourself and let it go.
Easy to quarterback when you weren’t there, or never been on a crew, not “fearless and courages” again easy for you to say sitting behind a desk I find this article very disrespectful to their memory. Come and do some time on a shot crew then you could talk till then keep your quarterback opinion to yourself
I’m sorry you feel this way. Please be aware that many who contribute comments to the discussion on this site are current and past WLFFs, including several IHC superintendents. Many of us are citizens of the west who have lost homes or loved ones to fire, some are all of the above. Our purpose here is to find a way for the truth to be told, without hiding or embellishment, with the ultimate goal of creating rational wildland policies that balance the desires of citizens to live in and enjoy our wildlands without endangering the lives of FFs or the wildlands themselves.
I think I speak for every blog regular in saying that a FF becomes a hero the moment he or she steps up to fight a fire, no reservations or exceptions. Many of us suspect, though, that fire officials hide behind our respect for the dead to prevent an honest assessment of what went wrong. These officials are not honoring the memories of the fallen, but rather protecting themselves and their organizations from scrutiny.
Those of us who study fire policy, and especially entrapments, are saddened to see the same story repeated generation after generation. I personally hope that this group is the beginning of a movement for change. I hope that you will stick around and add to the conversation, as the more disparate voices we hear, the more successful we will be.
Well said, Muzzy.
US Forestry employee and ‘Safety Researcher’ Dr. Ivan Pupulidy ( who is the author of the ‘new’ USFS ‘Accident Investigation Protocol’ that REPLACES the former “Special Accident Investigation Protocol” that was used to investigate the Yarnell tragedy ) recently called for an END to all the SECRECY that USFS and other State Forestry agencies normally use to ‘cover up’ what actually happened when there is any kind of ‘accident’.
Article Title: USFS to use NEW ‘Serious Accident Review system
Published: August 7, 2014 – By Bill Gabbert
From that August, 2014 article…
Ivan Pupulidy called us to say that he was the author of the new protocol. Presently he is the Acting Program Manager for Human Factors Risk Management Research Development and Application for the USFS’ Rocky Mountain Research Station. In September he will be the Director of the USFS’ new Office of Learning.
On April 10, 2015, Dr. Ivan Pupulidy also made some PUBLIC comments during the following PUBLIC discussion between other Type 1 IHC Superintendents about the ‘Yarnell Hill Fire’ and what these other Type 1 IHC Superintendents called the “BOTCHED investigation of the Yarnell Hill Fire”…
Type 1 IHC Superintendent Don Feser said ( during this PUBLIC discussion )…
“What I have read regarding Yarnell doesn’t pass the smell test.”
And USFS employee Dr. Ivan Pupulidy ( and author of the new USFS accident investigation protocol ) said…
“When will we give up SECRETS to keep our friends ALIVE?”
Reply to Mayless post on July 16, 2016 at 11:35 pm
>> Mayless said…
>> Easy to quarterback when you weren’t there, or never been on a crew.
It’s not a football game.
19 men burned to death during a cross-country ‘bushwhack’ on the floor of a BLIND box canyon, full of ultra-dry, EXPLOSIVE unburned fuel, with no ‘lookout’, at the height of the burn cycle after having left the ‘safe black’ where they had a better ‘view’ of the fire than anyone else there except for the people in the airplanes.
It was ( and hopefully will REMAIN ) “The Greatest Blunder in the History of Wildland Firefighting”.
>> Mayless said…
>> I find this article very disrespectful to their memory.
What could possibly be more ‘disrespectful’ to their ‘memory’ than NOT making every possible effort to find out EXACTLY what happened… and WHY?
Do you think these men would WANT anyone else to suffer the same fate, if it was ( in any way ) possible to find out why THEY did and then try to make SURE it never happens again?
Only a small subset of the ‘family members’ have given up on wanting to know as much as possible about why their loved ones perished.
The others ( equally important ) still DO want to KNOW.
Most were not even wearing gloves.
It appears the route was scouted, imo. Don’t really believe Eric had a chainsaw or a sawyer with him.
Joy A. Collura says
No but I strongly will not discount Marsh was alone while Steed was with an injured and another on that day. I strongly in my own humble opinion will not rule out one got injured and Steed was with that injured and another and that Steed was a little behind the 15…I also will not rule out that there was just miscommunication that dad vs strict orders for those final hours even if whatever Dr Ted Putnam says on the witness stand that would change the course of this all…too much missing elements…
What does no mean joy?
Joy A. Collura says
Right. My cell Calvin. It even I typed day and it changed it to dad…but no was oh-ok
Ok. Thanks. But who do you thi k was II jured?
Joy A. Collura says
I wasn’t there to know who but due to cronies watching here, Calvin- I would only talk about in person to limited people but I can state this— people SHOULD get their commercial based FOIAS not non-commercial from the city on any questions you have because they are very kind and helpful and Jon Paladini is a great person/lawyer. I learned from all these posts of WWTKTT on the movie and instagram that many we met along the way I question the fact that it was God led and not orchestrated now because we have met too many of the GMHS friends and family and I thought by chance until today when I saw some information tied to the movie due out; I question it all-
Reply to calvin post on July 23, 2016 at 12:54 pm
>> calviin said…
>> Ok. Thanks. But who do you thi k was II jured?
There was actual PHYSICAL EVIDENCE ( no conjecture involved ) of some serious non-fire related ‘blunt force injuries’ to the top of Clayton Whitted’s head.
Here is exactly what the medical examiner wrote ( including the definitive conclusion that these were ‘blunt force injuries’… and NOT ‘thermal injuries’ )…
Clayton Whitted – Evidence of blunt force injuries include a 4 x 3 cm area of left frontal subscalp hemorrhage and a 3 x 1 cm area of right frontal subscalp hemorrhage.
LEFT – 4 x 3 cm area = 1.57 inch x 1.18 inch area.
RIGHT – 3 x 1 cm area = 1.18 inch x 0.39 inch area
Those ‘dimensions’ are both roughly about the size of a book of matches… and there were TWO of them. One on either side of Clayton Whitted’s forehead.
That ‘physical evidence’ SUGGESTS that it is highly likely Clayton Whitted had gone ass-over-teakettle on that hike down into the canyon…. and that THIS *might* have become an ‘incident’ that Jesse Steed and the crew were trying to deal with… and COULD also be the reason that Eric Marsh had taken off running to the men to help deal with ‘that’ situation… BEFORE even realizing what deep tapioca they were all about to be in out there on the floor of the fuel-filled box canyon.
Clayton Whitted’s ‘blunt force injuries’ probably looked a lot like this…
Bleeding UNDER the ‘scalp’ ( following the ‘blunt force injuries’ ), and BOTH of them about the size of a book of matches, as seen in the photo.
But the photo only shows ONE injury.
Clayton Whitted had TWO of them, one on each side of his forehead.
One of the other ‘explanations’ for these ‘blunt force’ injuries could have been a ‘fall’ during the deployment itself… or even AFTER the deployment.
Other firefighters who have SURVIVED deployments have reported actually banging their heads on the ground or against a rock to try and ‘knock themselves out’ when the pain began to become unbearable.
Either way… these were simply NOT ‘thermal injuries’ and they have never been explained… so any number of scenarios remain possible.
Reply to calvin post on July 23, 2016 at 11:07 am
>> calvin said…
>> Bushwhack? Naa.
I assure you… based on the photographs of what that area looked like pre-fire… there where places all along that route where they were getting ‘whacked by bushes’ as the single-file line tried to advance through that ‘maze’ of vegetation.
>> calvin also said…
>> Most were not even wearing gloves.
Just because you’re not wearing gloves doesn’t mean you aren’t on what qualifies as a ‘bushwhack’ through dense vegetation.
>> calvin also said…
>> It appears the route was scouted, imo.
If the route was ‘scouted’… then why are they all DEAD?
Why weren’t they making better time?
Why didn’t Marsh ( since he must have been out ahead of them if he ‘scouted the route’ ) warn them of the danger they could not see?
If all Marsh did ( if he actually did anything at all ) was tie ribbons on bushes, then all that had to happen was for the lead person to ‘miss’ just ONE ribbon and now the whole line of men could have gotten ‘lost’ and/or ‘stuck’ in that maze of vegetation.
>> calvin also said…
>> Don’t really believe Eric had a chainsaw or a sawyer with him.
If Marsh did ‘scout’.. then all he would have been able to do is ‘tie ribbons’ on bushes.
See above. Miss just ONE ‘marker’ along the way in that dense maze of vegetation and now you are ‘on your own’ to find a way through the tangled maze.
What they were attempting to do, at that time, in that place, under those conditions… was absurd ( and eventually FATAL ).
They should have stayed in the ‘safe black’.
I saw the pre fire photos too. Btw, do you have those saved? I do recall what I would describe as a game trail descending at the approximate location the GMH are said to have traveled.
But if there was brush in their way my experience tells me they would have been wearing gloves.
Joy A. Collura says
I have bushawacked that area for many many years and for me I actually have to explain 6-30-13…someone.found a glove out there and I was missing my man glove from that area that day because I was going to wear them not so much due to bushwhacking but in some of those dense spots you had to climb under because standing position the terrain was way too dense and intertwined or you could back track and try another way but my gloves at that hour were for scorpions.. Critters and snakes as I maneuvered through and since I have ladies hands in a mans glove it fell off going into the maze and your javelina trail was low ground not walking thru kind in that area so you could crawl thru or find your boulders and scale them but absolutely bear wallowing maze like area the day we went in it. I hiked it for soooo long only as a shortcut from point a to b but always proven to be much more time consuming and all I know in the men dying that…I wish I could share but with the cronies at bay like a group of sharks awaiting but I do have more details there due to who we met so I can say this..no I can’t.. Dang cronies. Truly and purely I have received information that without the person saying it firsthand I don’t want to be the first to have those folks harm me.
So joy what is your opinion.
Did Marsh crawl under brush on an unclear non trail and then order his men to do the same?
Or did Marsh take the alternate route along the ridge, and then Steed and crew took the shortcut.
joy a. collura says
O was not there nor was I allowed in areas after except with OSHA/Adosh but I can state this there is a real narrow trail and if investigators gave a shit they would of reached me to learn of three different splits vs denying me because they had their narrative.. I am not here to speak a narrative but due to much behind the scenes will not rule out possibilities but again due to cronies and you have to KNOW the behind the scenes to know right now is a terrible time for me to engage on an opinion…any other person would of been broken by what has been shown to me and well I am not giving them fuel for their fire…yet if you attempt to try to get the proper documents be prepared to at minimum pay out large sums for those records which would probably be much redacted.
Thamks joy. I guess the is a confirmation of yes there was a trail. But a narrow one.
Joy A. Collura says
Not just one Calvin. Before the fire there was nine areas I could travel in that area and in that bowl three.
Yes, Mayless, it may seem disrespectful to you that the terrible and careless errors made by the bosses are being examined and exposed including their propensity to take chances with their men but you no doubt know the truth will save lives in the future. I happened to have been there above the box canyon into which Marsh and Steed led their men and even an hour or so before they went down. Since the fire many a wild land fire fighter has stood at the very place they went down and agreed that to go down was insane. I definitely would not go down there and could see that it was indeed a needless and useless thing to get caught in that dense brush in a canyon that once you descended into there would be no back tracking. Why they needlessly killed their subordinates is a study–one that is painful for a few but can be a lesson and life saver to many if the truth is not buried so that reputations are saved at the expense of the real story.
It comes down to what is more important–future lives or the truth.
lives or reputation I meant to say.
Well how about the fact I was there along with Joy. We both witnessed the intense wild land fire from the spot those men went down into that box canyon.
What John Daugherty has written in his article is 100% true. John has been on top of this incident and Joy and I have had the honor to hike John the trail the men took so he could verify all things with his own eyes. When there has been a witness to testify to what he has know, John has taken off to visit that person–something we witnessed when we met with him so he could interview a person of high credibility to tell him how he was warned to keep his mouth shut about things he knew and wanted to talk about.
Those who do read this article should understand that John has put out the truth as far as it is revealed to date. Indeed there is more to be exposed about the dash those men made in the apt analogy John has made of a school bus driver with a bus full of kids making a mad dash to see if he can beat the oncoming train. Only here the mad dash was made in an attempt to beat the wild fire, but I believe some one ordered these bus drivers, Marsh and Steed to make that dash.
John is no arm chair investigator–he goes there to the site, then has interviewed countless people about this incident. Another hero not afraid to uncover and stand for
Mayless and clueless–would you turn your back on elite fire fighters, bosses retired from superintendent status and years of wild land fire fighting experience, some of the best wild land death investigators available and concerned citizens? Certainly read the comments from these men on the comment pages with an open mind–things need revamping else these errors will continue.
What John has written here ought to go out to all media. These are the facts of the matter as it stands today. This well written analysis should serve to help get at the truth. And if you think the FOIA is not only redacted, try to get one even with the redactions. In Yarnell, Joy has had the Sheriff called on her, and despite her paying the $60 fee has yet to get any record even after several . The $225 one from Prescott has yet to be answered, the State FOIA has not been answered, nor has BLM or FS responded to the FOIA’s. Private citizens apparantly have no business knowing anything about the fire management except what they hear from the people that worked the fire. They say they did a good job, but they do want to hide the facts of what really happened at Yarnell. However, two fire departments, Congress and Wickenburg did answer, they had nothing to hide on their part.
Thanks for the good article, JD.
Well one thing–I was there with Joy on that two track at the exact spot just a short time before the GMHS appoached that spot to dive off into that canyon. This article was well done and no arm chair assessment of how thing went. There are countless hours of research and input gleaned and summed up in this article and the one presented by John Daugherty speaking of the avoidance of the State investigators concerning the Doughnut testimony.
It is pretty obvious that the Statte and Investigators involved did not want to tell the truth–Eric Marsh did the unthinkable of the time vs. survival situation Marsh in order to please his superiors did–then committed suicide himself after realizing he had committed a mass homicide.
Yes, with Joy–we did fight ourselves through that entanglement of dead and dry brush–even on our bellies at times to get through early that morning when the fire was still at the top of the mountain in the boulders two canyons over. We were there at the very site–by quirk of occurance she even took photos of the situation as we passed the spot they were later to be killed in the afternoon of that day.
So these comments are certainly not arm chair by a summation of the truth of events and well presented.
At the time later once that fire had descended into the low brush and once burns had been set in such areas as the Shrine and others that are not admitted to–certainly only a fool would order the men down into a dead end canyon. I was so upset at Joy–yet even I as a common hiker would go back and fetch her with harsh words as she sat there with her boots off watching that fire at the very spot they would later descend from to be burned to death because some boss wanted to show his bravado.
Those young men did not deserve their untimely deaths due to the negligence and daring of those that knew better. Likewise they and the future wild land fire fighter does not deserve a lie to cover up the truth considering the value truth means to promote safety and not negligent and dangerous bravado.
Bear in mind even if they had succeeded in beating the odds–what good would that risk have accomplished? That fire was laying down 100 ft. flames that not even an army nor even the Jumbo Jet loads of retardant could hinder.
So yes–attempt to save reputations–but truth trumps that attempt.
I really believe the truth is being hidden to prevent one or more people from being charged with the death of the GMH.
Joy A. Collura says
Granite Mountain Hotshots and all fallen-
I am so sorry that your life has been touched by the wildfire tragedies and had to be researched for lessons learned versus others being pure so those affected can get a better understanding. The truth will prevail-
I am sorry my involvement makes some unsettled in trying to obtain the documents of such and it is disturbing I can ask YFD weeks ago for the form and be told by ycso to find another route to than have Sonny send email to Chief Ben Palm and the chief says to Sonny come right in Sonny boy and get the form you need and it will be .25 a page- yet Sonny is not available right now to do that action -to do that and if I went in I am AFRAID to get slapped with harassment YCSO charge due to last visit and HOW QUICK they were to ring ring ring Sgt Ashby DIRECT LINE….
I was not at all disruptive but wanted the form and they kept saying stuff like “this is not even your district and etc”
Today is the anniversary of our fallen heroes and I plan to spend time with some who do give a shit—but I won’t be at any of their events.
and I am sorry for the people who never got to say good-bye to these fine and all fallen-
Joy A. Collura says
https://youtu.be/9jNPRmfVxWI I had posted her song but the other came on