State Forestry Division Releases New Yarnell Hill Fire Video In Response to InvestigativeMEDIA’s Public Records Request


The Arizona State Forestry Division Saturday released additional video taken by Prescott National Forest firefighters during the Yarnell Hill Fire that killed 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots on June 30, 2013 in response to an Oct. 11 public records request filed by InvestigativeMEDIA.

The Forestry Division posted the videos on its website Saturday afternoon. All of the newly released videos are posted at the end of this story.

“On November 7, 2014, the following video clips were received by Arizona State Forestry through a Freedom of Information Act request to the US Forest Service,” the division stated in a press release posted on its website.

“To be transparent with the public, the videos are presented exactly as they have been received.  The redactions were done before these videos came into the possession of Arizona State Forestry,” the division stated.

An eight-minute segment of the video taken by the Prescott National Forest firefighters was released last year and contained the dramatic audio of Granite Mountain Hotshots’ desperate calls for help moments before they were killed in a ferocious wildfire.  The segment is included in the supplemental records that accompanied the Forestry Division’s Serious Accident Investigation Report into the tragedy and identified as “Exhibit A-22 HelmetCamVideo”. The supplemental records were released last winter and are posted here.

InvestigativeMEDIA learned that there was additional video taken by the PNF firefighters and filed  a series of public records with state and federal agencies for the video.

On Oct. 11, InvestigativeMEDIA emailed a request under the Arizona Public Records Law to the state Forestry Division.

Forestry Division spokeswoman Carrie Dennett responded the next morning, Sunday, Oct. 12, by email stating the division did not have any unedited videos beyond what was released as exhibit “A-22 HelmetCamVideo”.

“Arizona State Forestry does not have that unedited version of the helmet cam video,” Dennett stated. “I have given you the only helmet cam video we have in our possession (the one that is about 8 minutes long). If/when we do receive that unedited video, I will fill your attached public records request.”

On Monday, Oct. 13, InvestigativeMEDIA filed a public records request for the additional video with the Arizona Department of Occupational Safety and Health. ADOSH responded on Oct. 22 stating that it did not have any additional video other than the A-22 video released in the SAIR exhibits. ADOSH’s investigative report and supplemental records are posted here.

Also on Oct. 13, InvestigativeMEDIA filed a Freedom of Information Act request with Prescott National Forest for additional  video shot by Prescott National Forest firefighters. The PNF forwarded the request to U.S. Forest Service national headquarters in Washington.

On Oct. 21, a Forest Service FOIA officer confirmed by email that the agency had received InvestigativeMEDIA’s records request.

“We are working as quickly as possible to process each request and appeal in the order in which it was received,” FOIA officer George Vargas stated.

The Forest Service did not provide a copy of the videos to InvestigativeMEDIA prior to releasing them to the Forestry Division on Friday.

Forestry Division spokeswoman Dennett sent InvestigativeMEDIA an email at 1:47 p.m, Sat., Nov. 8 stating her agency had posted the additional videos on its website.

“In response to your public records request dated October 11, 2014, I am enclosing a link to the videos taken by USFS personnel,” Dennett stated. “Arizona State Forestry received the videos from the USFS on Friday, November 7, 2014, and uploaded all of the videos to our website on Saturday, November 8, 2014. The videos were not edited by Arizona State Forestry, and were uploaded in exactly the same format as we received them.”

The newly released videos appear below:

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


  1. joy says

    Just a quick stop at the library to share today real fast but gotta run because more places to head to—

    The Jehova witness, they have their faith and go door-to-door, well I have my hope and faith to go door-to-door as a FIRE witness and get more homeowner accounts now that this video is out and number one—

    let me begin…

    Pretty insensitive of the source who just released these new videos to not ask Maria Luisa Wasson who lost Barney Wasson her husband; he died Feb. 19 this year if they can publicly post her property of home and propane tank blowing up. He was the heart and soul of the Shrine area, Barney. So you can for the sensitivity of the fallen omit footage and mute areas of video but had anyone asked if it would be the right thing to share THAT video of her place since you redact and cut shit out for your own benefits there but who gives a shit about a women who dedicated her life to the Shrine and lost her husband after the fire and how she would feel seeing the video go public. Why couldn’t you redact that? What was the point of publicly sharing that but hiding other information?

    I have not read any new comments and will later except the first few comments because they were there—number one in one video it shows Skull Valley had strong winds yet it does not say YHF did not have strong winds. My kestrel from the Weaver Mountain ridge top read 18-43 that June 30 2013. After hearing many in person homeowners accounts that had weather station readings on their property it ranged differently through the town. I have all their information if you have a certain area of concern on WIND MPH and guide you to them personally. 

    Another error AZSF error is they did not label time and location to these newly released videos:

    AZSF’s 0630131532, 0630131533, 0630131534, on youtube: interested in hearing public’s assessment on where they think the location of this video is…

    Now obviously we all are in agreement these videos are from the Shrine area:

    M2U00264, M2U00262, M2U00263, M2U00265, M2U00266R, M2U00267,M2U00271, M2U00272,  M2U00273Rand the following is leaving Shrine area entering into Harper Canyon area leading to the old grader road: M2U00268

    near Shrine: M2U00269

    you can see wind in this video: M2U00270

    I have a very long list of names and accounts and until the SAIT and anyone investigation exhausts speaking to them then you are just not getting the whole thing. I hope one day we have ONE person who speaks to the list of names we reached and still will again after seeing this new information. I am serious juts popped in here to write this…my cell battery is low and it was VERY important to mention another 2 deaths so let’s keep the number growing and let’s keep thinking we did all we could and looked everywhere because even to this day I ask people what can I do still and I get plenty answers..

    gotta go.

    and I had again a frustration last week

    I am happy today

  2. joy says

    My concern with videos is I as the eye witness and desert walker am watching over and over footage publicly shown and its time the locals show the raw footage because this is not raw and I know that terrain and I know all the spots your equipment was that horrific afternoon and it is very sad you are in homeowners footage firefighter community yet I can only hope because this came out that they will come out with theirs to osha and sait folks…it is sad to view and think folks that were there give a d amn about a career and do not see the whole enchilida here…so very sad…

  3. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    Thank you, John.

    The ‘story’ is obviously ( and unfortunately ) as much now about the ‘coverup’ as it is about why 19 of our finest were lost that day.

  4. joy says

    Thank you John. When we meet with the locals and firefighters do know you will be our very first email. They state a few have good information and if so…you will get it. noone else keeps us updated like you. much thanks. sad to review.

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