Yarnell Hill Fire report: Community, state leaders react to investigation findings

PRESCOTT, AZ - Emotions ran just as high Saturday as they did throughout the summer as officials and the public try to comprehend and learn how 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots perished while battling a raging wildfire in June.

Members of an investigative team released a 116-page document Saturday detailing the movements of the 19 hotshots, their communication with ground and air crews, as well as how weather shifted the fire's direction and intensity.

FULL REPORT: Read and watch the entire report on abc15.com.

For some, the report brings closure confirming that the Granite Mountain Hotshots were an elite group that met all of the skills, training and requirements necessary for the job.

"There are so many families out there that lost husbands, brothers and family members and they don't know why. They were doing what they love and its just too bad," said Josh Dixler, a Prescott resident.

Jose and Caroline of Sun City didn't know the firefighters personally, but knew they wanted to be in Prescott today.

"We made it a point. We left early this morning around seven o'clock," Jose said.

They wanted to show their support but it went beyond that.

Caroline, 90, is a poet and says she's written poems all her life. The tragedy in Yarnell inspired her to pick up her pen.

"From the youngest to the oldest, your story unfolds. To the fiery hell you went through, through the ages will be told. You gave your lives with honor, no questions did you ask," Caroline read.

She put the poem on a plaque and has given it to the Prescott Fire Chief.

For others, it leaves many to ponder whether the team's findings are enough and whether the recommendations can ensure a tragedy like this does not happen again.

Members of the community who attended the news conference Saturday were emotional.

Read the reaction of a hotshot's father on abc15.com.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said she appreciated the report's recommendations and hoped the findings "further the healing process and give guidance for wildland firefighters in Arizona and around the nation," in an emailed statement.

Along the same lines, senators John McCain and Jeff Flake said, "We owe it to the honorable 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots ... to learn from this event and implement changes that will protect first responders going forward."

Rep. Paul Gosar said it was his hope that new legislation to get "people back to work to keep our forests healthy," would "prevent future tragedies like the Yarnell Hill Fire."

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