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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news September 29, 2014


7/3/2013 6:36:00 PM
Firefighter memorial expected to fill Tim's Toyota Center Tuesday
The Daily Courier
A fire truck stands watch over part of the Yarnell Hill fire on Wednesday.
The Daily Courier
A fire truck stands watch over part of the Yarnell Hill fire on Wednesday.
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Mike Dudley, Acting Director of Cooperative Forestry for the USDA Forest Service, secondary team lead, speaks during the afternoon press briefing along Highway 89 near Peeples Valley Wednesday regarding the state of the investigation into the deaths of the Granite Mountain Hotshots in the Yarnell Hill Fire on Sunday.
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Mike Dudley, Acting Director of Cooperative Forestry for the USDA Forest Service, secondary team lead, speaks during the afternoon press briefing along Highway 89 near Peeples Valley Wednesday regarding the state of the investigation into the deaths of the Granite Mountain Hotshots in the Yarnell Hill Fire on Sunday.
Joanna Dodder Nellans
The Daily Courier

The official memorial for the 19 fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots has been set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, July 9, at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, and organizers are planning for full-capacity attendance at the 6,000-seat venue, with overflow seating outside.

Meanwhile, a national team started the grim but necessary task Wednesday of piecing together the details surrounding the deaths on the Yarnell Hill fire.

"This team will perform a thorough investigation so we can understand what happened," State Forester Scott Hunt told the media after a tour of the northern edge of the Yarnell Hill fire Wednesday.

"We're looking at piecing together all the aspects of the incident," said lead investigator Jim Karels, Florida's state forester. That includes fire behavior, fuel conditions, available equipment, and weather on Sunday when all but one of the Prescott Fire Department's Hotshot crew members perished.

"I think the big thing here is the significant drought, significant fuels, the weather event... when you have that, you have an extreme fire event," Karels said.

The team will conduct interviews to help piece together a picture of the fire's progression from its beginning on June 28 to the fatalities on June 30, he said.

The team has committed to Arizona officials that it will have some preliminary results within 60 days, he said.

Fellow firefighters escorted the Granite Mountain Hotshots' vehicle home from the fire Wednesday morning as firefighters on the line stopped for a moment of silence.

An extensive escort will accompany the fallen firefighters when they are returned home to Prescott Sunday. The caravan is scheduled to leave at 10 a.m. from the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office and travel to the Yavapai County Medical Examiner's Office along Division Street behind the Yavapai Regional Medical Center in Prescott.

Officials released a few more details during a Wednesday media briefing about the firefighters' deaths.

The firefighters reached a safety zone that had been cleared of vegetation for emergencies, but Yarnell Hill Fire Incident Commander Clay Templin said he couldn't say if it was a safety zone created by the Granite Mountain Hotshots or other firefighters.

Yavapai County Sheriff's Office Capt. Jeff Newnum said the site was located in the mountains about a quarter-mile west of the Glen Ilah Estates.



Containment to 45 percent; 129 structures burned

Approximately 675 firefighters made significant progress on building a wide line around the fire Wednesday, moving from 8 percent containment Tuesday to 45 percent Wednesday. The fire's size remained at 8,377 acres.

The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office announced Wednesday that county officials have counted 129 burned structures, but they don't know how many are homes. Two have Peeples Valley addresses and the rest are in Yarnell.

Residents can get information about the damage at their addresses by calling 928-777-7481. YCSO officials met with many of them Wednesday.

The Sheriff's Office has not been able to search the burned community since it's still dangerous, so it is possible that some residents who refused to evacuate could have been killed by the fast-moving fire Sunday, YCSO Chief Deputy John Russell said at the media conference Wednesday.

"This fire came through Yarnell so fast," he said. "We watched it cover four miles in 20 minutes."



When can people go home?

While the Yarnell Hill fire incident command team said some of the approximately 1,000 evacuees from Yarnell and Peeples Valley might get to go home as early as Saturday, it's not likely that all of them will get to go home that soon because Arizona Public Service does not anticipate restoring electricity to the entire area by then.

Templin previously said that residents couldn't go home until utilities are restored; he said Wednesday that residents likely would return in stages.

APS already has counted about 100 poles and a handful of transformers it needs to replace, and workers have not been able to access all of Yarnell yet, spokesman Matt Meierbachtol said.

Even with the help of crews out of the Phoenix area, it could take about a week just to replace 100 poles, he said. But APS workers don't have a green light to start the work until the area is deemed safe, and they don't know what day that will be.

Fifty-two people stayed at the Red Cross shelter about 20 miles north of Yarnell in Prescott Tuesday night, while nine stayed at its shelter to the south in Wickenburg.



Flags still at half-staff



Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell visited personnel on the Yarnell Fire Wednesday.

"The men and women who continue to fight the devastating fires in Yarnell and across the West are true heroes, and I'm here on behalf of the administration to show our support for their work and dedication after this week's heartbreaking tragedy," Jewell said in a news release.

She directed flags to be flown at half-staff at all national parks, Fish and Wildlife refuges, and other public lands under her jurisdiction including Bureau of Land Management property.

Gov. Jan Brewer on Wednesday extended her order for state agencies to fly flags at half-staff from three days to 19 days, adding up to one day for each of the 19 firefighters.

The flags will remain lowered through sunset on Friday, July 19.











Related Stories:
• VP Biden, McCain to attend Hotshots' memorial service
• Yarnell Hill fire morning update: fire crews 'deliberate' in efforts
• Community, first responders honor firefighters as Hotshots' 'buggies' are brought back to Prescott
• Friends, family share stories of Prescott's fallen hotshots
• Memorial service for Prescott hotshots is Tuesday


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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, July 07, 2013
Article comment by: Mom That Cares

Look, the hatefilled church did apply for their permit. They cannot be within 300 feet of a a funeral & with an hour of its beginning and end. You want to do something for these heroes, be part of a barrier, hook arms as a protective barrier, bring earplugs, wear sunglasses, don't even look at them - treat them that do don't matter - they don't! Our Community is better on our worst day than they are on their best. Strength to ignore them can come from knowing these heroes would certainly have been strong enough to do the same...they have done far greater.

Posted: Sunday, July 07, 2013
Article comment by: EX PAT

The Medical Examiners Office has moved to Prescott Valley

"Officials expect as many as 30,000 people to attend the memorial while the center can hold only 6,000 people. Attendees will need tickets, spokesman Paul Bourgeois said, and by Saturday night it was unclear whether any tickets will be available for the general public."



Posted: Sunday, July 07, 2013
Article comment by: Rebecca Jordan

I don't understand are they going to the Medical Examiners office behind the Prescott office or out in Prescott Valley out at the Fair Grounds? The Courier speaks of both.

Posted: Sunday, July 07, 2013
Article comment by: Kim S

As many of us who have lived in the community I too have lived here (for 30 years now), supported our local fireman, fire crews and police officers. I've worked on the ambulance and in the hospital setting and getting to know either the fireman themselves or know their families. Our community has come together during this crises and many have organized fund raisers. I feel that it was a total disregard for the publics involvement by making this a private event. It would have been nice if there were a separate service so that the public could mourn and pay there respect to our fallen heroes. All the rest of these fireman coming from out of town will return to their towns and their lives politicians will return to whatever it is that they are supposed to be doing. But, it is this community who will be here and continue to support these families and fireman for many years to come.

Posted: Saturday, July 06, 2013
Article comment by: Phil Whitehead

Update on time: the flag line has been changed to approx. 1330hrs, as the departure schedule has been changed. All who wish to help show our/their respects are, of course, invited to attend our effort and help out. Unlike what some people said about the PGR in other posts, we are a Military Support Organization, not an outlaw bike gang...(I couldn't believe it when I read that nonsense...) Fire Fighters, Police, E.M.S., Military are ALL brothers /sisters in times of crisis. We stand together, no matter WHAT the uniform, and will continue to do so.

Posted: Saturday, July 06, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Von Deck

I'm guessing that SEATING is not open to the public, but you can watch it in the parking lot on the screen. Correct?

Posted: Saturday, July 06, 2013
Article comment by: How do family friends attend memorial?

I've known some of these men for many years. I want to attend. How do I get a ticket? I am not going to call the families at this time because they deserve their privacy. Is there a lottery or something? I understand that out of state firefighters want to attend, but what about local people who knew these men?

Posted: Saturday, July 06, 2013
Article comment by: The People Are Being Left Out

Informed Citizen: I'm sure there will be many standing in the heat of the day in an asphalt parking lot... but really... 6,000 firefighters and other guests? Judging by the many conversations around town & at the parade today, there are many locals upset that what was communicated early on as a PUBLIC memorial has been hijacked as a media/photo op... yes, the locals understand the limitations on the venue -- it's the part about telling them that outsiders are more important and that there's "no room" that has them upset. Perhaps when the media and the politicians leave, someone will set up a Memorial service for the locals who wanted to pay their respects.

Posted: Saturday, July 06, 2013
Article comment by: Informed Citizen

The memorial is open to the public but there more then likely will not be any seats "inside" the building as they are reserved for Family, Firefighters, etc. I can let you know first hand that the planning team is well aware that the public will be attending and has created a very large area. (The entire regular parking lot) of Tim's Toyota Center which will be supported with Jumbo Trons and a large sound system so that all can see and hear live what is happening inside the arena. We are doing the best we can to help the public be a part of this. The reason they are saying it is a "ticketed" event is so they can make sure the people who need to be inside the building can get inside. Obviously you can't fit 20,000 people inside. I hope to see a great turnout "outside" by our supporting public.

Posted: Saturday, July 06, 2013
Article comment by: Arrogance Again!

@Ryan Jensen....stop being a hypocrite, makes you sound more ignorant than you already are.

Posted: Saturday, July 06, 2013
Article comment by: The People Are Being Left Out

it is NOT open to the public -- unless you want to stand outside and watch it on a big screen tv from a parking lot. so much for the "community" memorial service... for the families -- ok. the other local firefighters? ok. but to cut out access (i.e., the PUBLIC) in favor of politicians -- some who haven't EVER been to Prescott before and even elected officials who haven't shown their faces in Prescott for a few years??? and firefighters who have no other connection to these heroes except a career choice? I get that it is a moving experience for all the brotherhood. I do get it. But when does THE COMMUNITY -- you know, the people who have supported ALL OUR firefighters day in and day out for many years -- get to say OUR farewell?? When do WE as a COMMUNITY get to pay our respects? This has turned into a photo op for many and a fundraising bonanza for others. When did it stop being about Prescott's sons??? (and for those who say we have to woo the politicians in DC to get the funding to fight fires?? I say that was their job BEFORE these men died -- why would they do it NOW???)

Posted: Saturday, July 06, 2013
Article comment by: David McDonald

The Courier's lack of specific information regarding the Memorial on Tuesday is a disservice to the grieving people of Prescott.
Once and for all the Courier should end the rampant speculation by doing it's research and officially announcing whether or not the service is open to the public.


Posted: Friday, July 05, 2013
Article comment by: Dear Editor

I live in the Verde Valley and would like to attend the service. Some posters are stating that the service will NOT be open to the public. Will it or not? Please respond for some of us dummies.

Posted: Friday, July 05, 2013
Article comment by: @ Mal

low estimate IMHO.

Posted: Friday, July 05, 2013
Article comment by: Fasting Badger

In order for there to be sufficient seating for the memorial scheduled for Tuesday the venue would have to be moved to the greater Phoenix area. Family members, firemen, and politicians are going to take up the majority of the Tim's Center. It's important for the people of the Prescott area to continue to show support for the Granite Mountain Hot Shots and their families, but we should be prepared to honor these men in the parking lots of the convention center come Tuesday. Anyone who feels snubbed or slighted by the fact that they are not able to attend the memorial from a seat inside needs to readjust their expectations. Just remember, that these men selflessly served our community, and the least we can do is honor them - even if it means doing so somewhere outside of the building. More importantly, we need to internalize the Hot Shots' sense of service, and somehow make it our own. We owe these men and their families as much. We need to be deserving of their sacrifice. The pols will move on to another opportunity to make political hay, and the religious fanatics will travel on to the next tragedy to prey upon. Long after they are gone, we are the ones who will remember these 19 souls, and hopefully we will keep them as the best of Prescott.

Posted: Friday, July 05, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Von Deck

If it's a ticketed event, are people still allowed outside the venue to watch it on the screen?

Posted: Friday, July 05, 2013
Article comment by: Ryan Jensen

@ Nancy. O'Brien

Please stop posting comments. You are wrong and may be confusing well-intended people who want to be part of this commemoration.

We get it...you hate Joe Biden (as seen on another thread in this same paper). Get over it.


Posted: Friday, July 05, 2013
Article comment by: Mountain Mama

1 more time...this event is NOT open to the public!

Posted: Friday, July 05, 2013
Article comment by: Jen g

If any of the baptist church members come and protest they need to be promptly arrested for trespassing and arrested. How dare they claim to be gods people if they have no love for their brothers. I guess they dont actually read the bible. Im disapointed that the public cannot attent but I understand. I think the public should have a memorial time as well like a candle light vigil at the courthouse.

Posted: Friday, July 05, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Von Deck

@Former Prescott Hotshot: There will be lots of people there for that purpose. The idea is to create a buffer so that no one else has to deal with WBC. Keep your cool. They fund their church by suing hotheads and police agencies. As long as they're away from the families, they're fine.

Posted: Friday, July 05, 2013
Article comment by: Nancy. O'Brien

The memorial is NOT open to the public.

Posted: Friday, July 05, 2013
Article comment by: Just Heard on News 15

That the memorial service at TTC will be a "ticketed" event for family members and fire fighters. So, as someone else stated, don't think any of us general public will be able to attend. I've heard firefighters are coming from all over.

Posted: Friday, July 05, 2013
Article comment by: Keith T.

@Phil Whitehead....don't block the roadway and you should be fine.

Posted: Friday, July 05, 2013
Article comment by: Phil Whitehead

The Patriot Guard will be standing a Flag Line for the procession when it gets to the Fairgrounds, where the Medical Examiners Office is located. That will be on Sunday, around noon. If anyone wants to help by holding a flag with us, that is where you will find us. that is, if the Town Of Prescott Valley doesn't (try to) interfere...our organization has already received flack from the "police" about this effort. Don't try to understand it...just shake your heads with the rest of us... For what it's worth, we are going to DO IT ANYWAY...because it's the right thing to do.

Posted: Friday, July 05, 2013
Article comment by: Roger Ball-Auto

ABC-15 plans to stream the event live. I suspect that all available seats will be filled by invitation. I haven't received mine yet, either.


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