10 New Times Cover Stories You Should Have Read This Year

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1.) Yarnell Hill Fire Investigation Ignored Major Mistakes by the State

By John Dougherty:

Former Yarnell Fire Chief Peter Andersen sat under a tree in his front yard having his morning coffee on Sunday, June 30, when the Granite Mountain Hotshots drove past his Glen Ilah home.

"At 8:03, [their] two buggies went by," Andersen says. "Right after they went by, the leaves started to blow. I shook my head. [The state] didn't listen to me."

Andersen, who resigned as Yarnell chief in 2011 after 12 years of service, was aggravated because he had warned an Arizona Forestry Division fire manager the night before that it was crucial to attack the steadily expanding fire in the hills above Yarnell at dawn, before prevailing southwesterly winds picked up about 8 in the morning.

"I said, this being summertime, it will give you three hours . . . without wind at your backs to be able to get this thing under control," Andersen says he told a fire manager. Seeing the hotshots roll past so late on Sunday morning was yet another signal to Andersen that the Forestry Division was failing to aggressively attack a wildfire that started two days earlier. Continue reading.

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