Yarnell Hill Fire update: Widows, families oppose release of records

CAMP VERDE, AZ - Widows and other family members of some of the 19 firefighters killed in the Yarnell Hill Fire are asking a judge to deny two media organizations' requests for access to more records.

A Yavapai County Superior Court judge in Camp Verde held the first of several hearings Wednesday on a lawsuit filed on behalf of The Arizona Republic and KPNX-TV.

The media organizations are requesting investigative records and photos from the scene of the June 30 fire, but not photos of human remains or personal effects.

Media attorney David Bodney said the requested documents are public records that would allow the public to assess the performance of public officials and the reasons for the deaths of all but one member of the Granite Mountain Hotshots.

Three firefighters' widows testified that releasing more records would be intrusive.

"Those photos were already looked at by people that were qualified to make judgments," widow Desiree Steed said. "I don't understand why a journalist from The Arizona Republic thinks they can do a better job."

The hearing will continue Nov. 6 and Nov. 26.

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