Yarnell Hill Fire: Legislature to consider plan to pay fire survivors

PHOENIX - An Arizona legislative committee is set to hold its first hearing on a proposal to give full survivor benefits to relatives of the part-time members of the 19-man firefighting crew killed in the Yarnell Hill wildfire.

House Speaker Andy Tobin's plan also would help Prescott pay increases in state retirement system payments and other costs triggered by the deaths of 19 members of the city's Granite Mountain Hotshots. The Paulden Republican is set to testify at the hearing of the House Public Safety, Military and Regulatory Affairs Committee Tuesday afternoon.

Tobin says he wants the state to fund the amount the other 13 hotshots would have received if they were considered full time, cover the Prescott's liability for Death Benefit coverage, reimburse first responder organizations that responded to Yarnell, and help Yarnell with infrastructure rebuilding costs.

Other parts of the proposal including funding for rebuilding efforts in fire-ravaged Yarnell and reimbursements for agencies that responded to the June fire that destroyed more than 100 homes.

The congressional committee will be meeting at 1:30pm in House Room 4 at the state capital. It is open to the public.

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