Remembering the 2013 Prescott Fire…

Julian Ybarra, Journalist
Injected Media

(Tucson, Arizona – June 27, 2017) This week is the fourth anniversary of the  Yarnell Hill Fire, Prescott remembers the tragic death of 19 firefighters who lost their lives battling a wildland fire.

During a mid-summers day on Friday, June 28, 2013 a lighting storm hovered over the hill ranges near Yarnhill, Arizona striking the dried up brush of the Arizona desert. On Sunday an estimated 2,000 acres had already burned up the immediate area. By Monday June 30 the fire already had consumed 8,400 acres, burned down 200 homes and businesses in the towns of Glen Isla and Yarnell.

Amongst the midst of the blaze were 19 Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters from the Prescott Fire Station No. 7. The team was in the middle of clearing fire lines in the hills of Yarnell when a sudden brush fire surrounded them. Their fire shelters were unable to save their lives against the extreme heat.

Honoring the City of Prescott fallen Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew:

Among the dead was Eric Marsh, the unit’s 43-year-old superintendent .Andrew Ashcraft, 29; Robert Caldwell, 23; Travis Carter, 31; Dustin Deford, 24; Christopher MacKenzie, 30; Grant McKee, 21; Sean Misner, 26; Scott Norris, 28; Wade Parker, 22; John Percin, 24; Anthony Rose, 23; Jesse Steed, 36; Joe Thurston, 32; Travis Turbyfill, 27; William Warneke, 25; Clayton Whitted, 28; Kevin Woyjeck, 21; and Garret Zuppiger, 27.

The Prescott Fire department is the oldest fire organizations in Arizona. Established in 1885 after the town built a dam near the town to store water in a reservoir. Four groups were created to protect the town from fires, The Toughs Hose Company, The Dudes Hose Company, Mechanics Hook and Ladder Company, The O.K. Hose Company these groups were composed of volunteer firefighters made up of the townspeople. Back in the day they knew to party with the annual Fireman’s Ball every Fourth of July. Each year the ticket sales would raise about 1,500 dollars for uniforms and equipment. Approaching the late 20’s the annual Fireman’s Ball was discontinued as money became tighter with the stock market crash in October 29, 1929 known as Black Tuesday, followed by the Great Depression lasting until 1941.

In 1954 the four volunteer fire companies were solidified into one Prescott Fire Department. Making it possible for the chief, his two assistants, and a few engineers to be paid an annual salary.

Today the department consists of 92 career firefighters, with five fire stations serving an area of 41.5 square miles.

Unfortunately there are numerous fires across Arizona during this extremely hot and dry summer. Currently there is a fire again effecting the hills of Prescott. A few days ago on Saturday around 4 p.m. the Goodwin Fire started in the Bradshaw Ranger District of the Prescott National Forest, just 14 miles south of Prescott and is approximately 940 acres.

According to Inciweb – the Goodwin Fire is burning in chaparral and ponderosa pine; south and west of the junction at Senator Highway (FR 52) and County Road 177. Pierson’s Type 1 Incident Management Team has arrived and taken command of the fire on Monday, June 26 at 6:00 am. Fire crews are currently assessing the feasibility of protecting structures and private property in the communities of Pine Flat and Breezy Pines. Fire crews are also working on establishing fire lines using roads and natural features to slow the fire’s progression. A Closure Order for the incident is effective today to provide for the safety of firefighters and the public. Please visit the Prescott National Forest website or Inciweb for a map of the closed area.

Other Fires that are ACTIVE or have been CONTAINED in the state of Arizona include.

Incident

Type

Unit

Acres

Goodwin          (ACTIVE) Wildfire Prescott National Forest 1,000
Boundary Fire   (ACTIVE) Wildfire Kaibab National Forest 17,156
Frye Fire         (ACTIVE) Wildfire Coronado National Forest 35,562
Saddle Fire    (ACTIVE) Wildfire Coronado National Forest 4,900
Turkey            (ACTIVE) Wildfire Arizona State Forestry Division 57
O RO Ranch (CONTAINED) Wildfire Arizona State Forestry Division 207
Encino Fire (CONTAINED) Wildfire Arizona State Forestry Division 1,289
Bar X Fire      (ACTIVE) Wildfire Coronado National Forest 2,768
Highline Fire (ACTIVE) Wildfire Tonto National Forest 7,198
303 Fire        (CONTAINED) Wildfire Arizona State Forestry Division 1,676
Rain Fire         (ACTIVE) Wildfire Kaibab National Forest 154
Snake Ridge Fire (CONTAINED) Wildfire Coconino National Forest 15,333
R-14 Fire          (ACTIVE) Wildfire Fort Apache Agency 829
Freeze 2 Fire   (ACTIVE) Wildfire San Carlos Agency 2,832
Pinal Fire          (ACTIVE) Wildfire Tonto National Forest 7,193
Lizard Fire        (ACTIVE) Wildfire Coronado National Forest 15,230
Bear Fire            (ACTIVE) Wildfire Coronado National Forest 2,591
Slim Fire            (ACTIVE) Wildfire Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest 3,241

For a full list of the 25 incident fires in the state of Arizona visit Inciweb.

 

Julian Ybarra
Julian Ybarra is a journalist and media expert from Tucson, Arizona.
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