PRESCOTT, AZ - Officials on Saturday released a 116-page report on an investigation into the Yarnell Hill Fire that left 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots dead on June 30.
The report has found improperly programmed radios, vague updates, and a 30-minute communication blackout just before the flames engulfed the men.
Detailed on page 44 of the report, the team also provided a list of seven recommendations for the State of Arizona, as "opportunities to improve safety."
1) The Team recommends that the State of Arizona review its processes for mitigating wildfire threats around the state, especially in high risk areas. "This process could be a cooperative effort to reduce hazardous fuels and improve overall suppression efforts for communities that are at a high risk from wildfire," the report says.
2) The report encourages the State of Arizona to review the statewide wildfire communications plan and program, including other programs and plans from other states, in search for improvements.
3) The report says the State of Arizona should develop a wildland fire staff ride surrounding the Yarnell Hill Fire incident to convey lessons learned from this incident for future fire leaders.
4) State of Arizona request the National Wildfire Coordination Group (NWCG) to review current technology to see if improvements can be made for resource tracking, communication and real-time weather conditions.
5) Seek the NWCG and the Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) to charter a team of experts to conduct further analysis of this Yarnell Hill Fire and wildland fire communication.
6) State of Arizona request the NWCG to develop guidance to identify at what point it is necessary to separate the ASM and Air Attack roles to carry out required responsibilities for each platform.
7) The State of Arizona should develop a "brief technical tip" for fire supervisors and administrators on the effective use of VLATs, or Very-large Air Tankers. The report concludes that these are "new, emerging" tools used for fire suppression that could be used "regularly" in the future.