Yarnell Hill Fire Report: "Fire Behavior Was Extreme" When Firefighters Were Trapped
|Arizona State Forestry Division|
|The Yarnell Hill Fire on June 29.|
A preliminary report on the investigation into the Yarnell Hill Fire, which killed 19 firefighters last week, says flames "entrapped" the Granite Mountain Hotshots.
"Nineteen members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots were entrapped when flames overran their position on June 30," the report states. "Eyewitnesses state that fire behavior was extreme with heavy winds. The crew of 19 deployed fire shelters late Sunday afternoon but did not survive."
-Granite Mountain Hotshots Not Caught in "Sudden" Storm, as Media Accounts Contend
-Granite Mountain Hotshots Killed in Yarnell Hill Fire Taken Back to Prescott
The report contains little more than those facts -- which aren't exactly groundbreaking to those who have been following the developments of the incident.
The report (which can be read in its entirety on the second page of this post) says interviews are still being conducted and documentation is still being collected.
This was a "72-hour" report, and it doesn't provide answers to the many questions people have, including how to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.
There's no timeframe for a final report to be released, and a press release from the Arizona State Forestry Division says, "The process is meticulous and it will take time in order to provide the most thorough, comprehensive product possible, ensuring that lessons learned are shared across all agencies."
Meanwhile, former New Times reporter John Dougherty has been reporting on the mainstream media implication that this was a "sudden" storm in Yarnell that caused unpredictability in the fire's spread, and has questioned what kind of information about this storm was relayed to the Granite Mountain Hotshots.
After that report, the New York Times also has questioned the communication at the scene.
It sounds as if it's going to be a while before there are answers to these questions.
Meanwhile, the Yarnell Hill Fire is 90 percent contained and fewer than 250 firefighters are now battling the blaze. Yarnell residents finally will be able to go back to their homes this morning.
Read the preliminary report on the fire on the next page.