How we got here and why is it that we should speak up?
LeRoy Anderson, Ed. D. (RiP); Joy A. Collura; and contributing authors
Views expressed to "the public at large” and "of public concern"
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Dr. Leroy Anderson (RiP) is, was, and always will be truly a warrior of the highest degree. He was instrumental in allowing us to post his numerous June 30, 2013, photos complete with metadata, which we made into a video. From the outset, he inspired us with his steadfast stance to stay focused on the Good Lord Jesus and to boldly and courageously stay the course. To do the difficult right thing and to seek and reveal the truth and falsehoods of the YH Fire and GMHS debacle for the world to see. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12 (NKJV)
Figure 1. PDF document download of Dr. LeRoy Anderson's (RiP)autobiographical information. Source: LeRoy Anderson, Ed. D (RiP)
This post is to reveal the PDFs, JPEGs, videos and photos of Dr. LeRoy Anderson (RiP) that highlight that TRUTH MATTERS! Dr. Anderson (RiP) now adds a number of articles, letters, Government records, emails, and more related to the Yarnell Hill Fire (YH Fire). This shared material in this post and YouTube videos are the ownership of Dr. Anderson (RiP) and shared on my site because it has a lot of important areas that hold credibility and value for, among other things, "Lessons Learned" for the general Wildland Fire Community. He always believed that the ones with knowledge about that fire would have done the right thing by now and come forward; but so far they haven't. So here we are now. Thank you Dr. Anderson (RiP) for restoring my "Hope" and "Faith" in humanity.
Dr. Anderson (RiP) and many others within the Yarnell FD (YFD) and the community of Yarnell have good reason to feel angry and displeased with the way the YFD, some on the YFD Fire Board, dealt with their YFD administrative and personnel issues, and the entire YH Fire debacle regarding both the Government's (mis)handling of it and the YFD participation in it and the disheartening aftermath.
It all began on June 28, 2013, when Dr. Anderson (RiP) was traveling home and he spotted a small wildfire on a ridgetop of the Weaver Mountains. He went home first and then to the YFD fully dressed to work the fire. He readied the Fire Engine and prepared to go to the YH Fire / YHF with another YFD FF. A photo of the Fire Engine 401 (E-41) is shown below in Figure 3. However, they were unexpectedly "stood down" and told not to respond. He writes about this very contentious and vexing issue in several of his letters posted below.
Please note that all of Dr. LeRoy Anderson's (RiP) posts are in the form of PDF downloads that take up a lot of length space and I have done my best to edit them for uniformity. And therefore, this makes them both uncopiable and unpasteable.
Below are some of the scanned images and narrative from the Channel 5 Investigates news story that was REMOVED from the Internet sometime after it ran. Is this evidence of a calculated attempt to manipulate the media and the truth and mess with our First Amendment rights of free speech and a free press? Is that what has been occurring with what the YH Fire Serious Accident Investigation Team (SAIT) and the many Public (Dis)information Officers assigned to or attached to the YH Fire are doing with their "Talking Points" while "managing the information to fit their preconceived conclusions(s)?" It sure seems that way. Consider this image below.
Figure 1a. Image intent goes without saying and complements Figure 5 "Rage against censorship" article below. Source: Ninth Circuit Crystal Cox Appeal blog (Crystal L. Cox)
Figure 2. Channel 5 News Investigates article featuring (former) Yarnell FD firefighter Dr. Anderson (RiP) titled: "Firefighter: We could have put Yarnell Hill Fire on day one." This Channel 5 Investigates news network program was long ago removed from the Internet; posted: February 26, 2014 at 8:20 PM Updated: February 27, 2014 at 7:20 AM by Morgan Loew. Source: Channel 5 Investigative News, LeRoy Anderson, Ed. D. (RiP)
The link for above article 'Channel 5 Investigates" news network program titled: "Firefighter: We could have put Yarnell Hill Fire on day one" was removed from the Internet shortly after it first ran in a series. Investigator Reporter Morgan Loew comes from a ranching family growing up in Tucson and was proud to pursue this news exclusive with us, the two YH Fire eyewitnesses, Joy A. Collura and Tex "Sonny" Gilligan. Loew spent a lot of time with us doing a proper interview over several days; much better than the SAIT. Then the news story was dropped like a scalding hot potato from the network. I even asked for the originals. ( https://www.kpho.com/story/24835120/firefighter-we-could-have-put-out-yarnell-ill-fire-day-one ) This link will verify that it was removed. And this link below verifies that it was reinstated and does in fact work as of July 5, 2021.
Figure 2a. Photo taken 8/21/13 of Tex Harold Eldon Gilligan (Sonny), Morgan Loew, and Joy A. Collura at the Yarnell Diner - August 2013 interview Source: Joy A. Collura's interview photo/Channel 5 Investigative News
( http://www.azfamily.com/story/23261486/witnesses-to-yarnell-hill-fire-break-silence?autostart=true )
Figure 2b. Channel 5 Investigative News Reporter Morgan Loew / Videographer Patrick took a re-enactment hike of the Yarnell Hill Fire with Eyewitnesses Tex Gilligan and Joy A. Collura's path off the Weavers during the late afternoon of June 30, 2013. Coincidentally, part of our hike is now the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park Trail. Source: Joy A. Collura's interview photo
Coincidentally? Arizona Forestry/State Park may have thought they originated the design of this trail. However, all along all it was part of God's plan. I did a public records request asking for design records and anything pertaining to this park yet they never fulfilled that request.
Figure 2c. Channel 5 Investigative News Reporter Morgan Loew/Videographer Patrick took a re-enactment hike of the Yarnell Hill Fire with Eyewitnesses Tex Gilligan and Joy A. Collura's path off the Weavers during the late afternoon of June 30, 2013. Coincidentally, part of our hike is now the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park Trail. Source: Joy A. Collura's interview photo
Figure 2d. Channel 5 Investigative News Reporter Morgan Loew/Videographer Patrick took a re-enactment hike of the Yarnell Hill Fire with Eyewitnesses Tex Gilligan and Joy A. Collura's path off the Weavers during the late afternoon of June 30, 2013. Coincidentally, part of our hike is now the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park Trail. Source: Joy A. Collura's interview photo
Figure 2e. Channel 5 Investigative News Reporter Morgan Loew/Videographer Patrick took a re-enactment hike of the Yarnell Hill Fire with Eyewitnesses Tex Gilligan and Joy A. Collura's path off the Weavers during the late afternoon of June 30, 2013. Coincidentally, part of our hike is now the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park Trail. Source: Joy A. Collura's interview photo
Figure 2f. Channel 5 Investigative News Reporter Morgan Loew/Videographer Patrick took a re-enactment hike of the Yarnell Hill Fire with Eyewitnesses Tex Gilligan and Joy A. Collura's path off the Weavers during the late afternoon of June 30, 2013. Coincidentally, part of our hike is now the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park Trail. Source: Joy A. Collura's interview photo
Figure 2g. Channel 5 Investigative News Reporter Morgan Loew/Videographer Patrick took a re-enactment hike of the Yarnell Hill Fire with Eyewitnesses Tex Gilligan and Joy A. Collura's path off the Weavers during the late afternoon of June 30, 2013. Coincidentally, part of our hike is now the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park Trail. Source: Joy A. Collura's interview photo
Figure 2h. Channel 5 Investigative News Reporter Morgan Loew/Videographer Patrick took a re-enactment hike of the Yarnell Hill Fire with Eyewitnesses Tex Gilligan and Joy A. Collura's path off the Weavers during the late afternoon of June 30, 2013. Coincidentally, part of our hike is now the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park Trail. Source: Joy A. Collura's interview photo
Figure 2i. Channel 5 Investigative News Reporter Morgan Loew/Videographer Patrick took a re-enactment hike of the Yarnell Hill Fire with Eyewitnesses Tex Gilligan and Joy A. Collura's path off the Weavers during the late afternoon of June 30, 2013. Coincidentally, part of our hike is now the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park Trail. Source: Joy A. Collura's interview photo
Consider now, the email thread between CBS and the Yarnell Hill Fire Eyewitnesses/Hikers seeking our contact information to go over June 30, 2013 and not only what we saw but our entire account as well.
Figure 2j. Email from KPHO CBS Anchor Reporter Catherine Anaya re: images Source: Gmail email
Figure 2k. Email from KPHO CBS Anchor Reporter Catherine Anaya regarding images Source: Gmail email
However, Morgan stated that he would email us copies of the footage yet there was always some kind of an excuse for why it was unavailable - the best one was that "they" had moved all the "digital" storage. (Maybe the merger between Channel 3 and Channel 5 had something to do with this). How do you move "digital" storage to another location and then it's no longer available to email me? I felt Morgan Loew's sincerity and felt it was an upper authority decision to not release the footage to me. What was that all about? Would any of you out there get me these copies?
Where did this news video go and why are myself and others not allowed to view and listen to these copies?
I also posted about the Channel 5 Investigative news show in a comment link within a Wildfire Today (WFT) article on February 18, 2014, titled: "Leader of Yarnell Hill Fire investigation says one firefighter should be able to attack a fire — alone." ( http://wildfiretoday.com/2014/02/18/leader-of-yarnell-hill-fire-investigation-says-one-firefighter-should-be-able-to-attack-a-fire/ ) where I posted a comment on February 27, 2014 at 3:46 pm: Coming from the eye-witness folks not just us the hikers but many from that weekend—Bill Gabbert stated it correctly above - That was not a disrespect what Bill stated - the DISRESPECT is the SAIR and the DISSERVICE they did for the fallen 19, prior fatalities, and that Yarnell community that was affected by that weekend. That is where the DISRESPECT lays. There is more to unfold in 2014. You will see more people coming forward on [sic] their time. Some are [sic] have their personal things going on right now or in [sic] the hospital, etc. Sorry Bill that a person jumped the gun and felt you were wrong to state that yet there is a whole firefighter / smokejumper community and common folk community that support that statement.
As for me, I do not know if the word “idiot” is the word I would use (seems negative) but indeed this man did a huge disservice when he stood behind that report firmly. I was there through that [weekend-turned-tragic] and I can tell you last night when we were at the cowboy campfire making some cowboy coffee for Tex I looked Up and asked Him have I missed anything- give me a sign if I am doing good for the GMHS and in the flames popped out 3-D like; “19”…you had to be there but I posted it here the photo for my folks. ( http://www.zazzle.com/god_is_real_19_remembered_post_card-239396675381173612 )." You will really have to use your imagination to see the actual "19" in the flames since you weren't there that night.
It made me see how very real this tragedy IS and that we all need to step up and share our accounts of that weekend to properly assess that weekend. I stand behind the truth. Anyone who is photo savvy can again see my photo is in “raw” format on that link—no edit or crops like you see out there. So to SEE “19” pop out in 3-D in the fire was for sure telling me I am on the right path to continue to seek the facts and truth. Ok, Bill - what is the definition of idiot anyways? ( http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/idiot ) I can agree to the informal way but not the psychology definition term. Yet foolish? Sure.
( http://www.kpho.com/story/24835120/firefighter-we-could-have-put-out-yarnell-hill-fire-on-day-one#.Uw-fR3Zg-iM.email ) Now consider some select excerpts from the "Firefighter: We could have put out Yarnell Hill Fire on Day One" article, cut-and-pasted from the Channel 5 CBS article link directly above, that came from a link within my Wildfire Today comment."Firefighter: We could have put out Yarnell Hill Fire on Day One (Posted: Feb 26, 2014 8:20 PM Updated: Feb 25, 2015 8:05 PM) by Morgan Loew - PHOENIX (CBS5)"
"A former Yarnell volunteer firefighter said it was possible to put out the deadliest wildfire in more than three decades, when it was still just a wisp of smoke. Meantime, CBS 5 Investigates found state dispatchers failed to call in some of the closest firefighters and equipment. (emphasis added) "'We could have driven up part of the way and walked the rest of the way with shovels and a bucket of water in our hands,' said LeRoy Anderson (RiP) , who was a volunteer firefighter with the Yarnell Fire Department on June 28. ..." (emphasis added)
"'The fire, for basically the whole night, was the size of a Buick. It wasn't very big at all,' said Anderson (RiP). (emphasis added) "Anderson (RiP) told CBS 5 Investigates he did not see an urgency to put out the flames, on the part of the Yarnell Fire Department.'" (emphasis added)
"'There were convenient reasons not to go. Let's put it that way,' said Anderson (RiP) ." (Dr. Anderson (RiP) put this apparent contradiction into context for me. He said this tongue-in-cheek basically referring to the YFD FF's apparent unwillingness to hike up to the fire because the YFD non-4-WD vehicle they took to the fire was far too big to manage the rough roads up there. (emphasis added) See photo in Figure 3 below.
Figure 3. Photo of YFD Engine 401 (E-41) taken to initial attack the YH Fire on June 28, 2013 on rough 4-WD roads. Source: LeRoy Anderson, Ed. D. (RiP)
Continuing on with the article: "Yarnell Fire Chief Ben Palm told CBS 5 News his department called the state Forestry Division to take care of the fire because it was on state land, located two miles outside the town of Yarnell and his department simply did not have the resources to handle a the job at that time." (emphasis added)
"State forestry dispatch records show crews were called in from Yuma and the Phoenix area to attack the fire the following morning. But one of the incident reports indicate delays occurred when crews did not know the best way to reach the fire, which was burning on top of the Weaver Mountains." (emphasis added)
"A spokesperson for the Arizona Forestry Division declined a request for an interview, but issued the following statement: Arizona State Forestry uses agency, fire department, and federal agency resources for initial attack response. The closest available fire department is our most common dispatch to initial fire reports."
"For extended attack fires on state jurisdiction, we use a mix of agency, fire department, contractor, and federal resources. We maintain a rotation to equitably utilize contractor and fire department resources for extended attack fires. But the contractors who reached out to CBS 5 Investigate say they believe the state chooses to use equipment from municipal and rural fire departments because those departments benefit from the reimbursements for service." (emphasis added)
Speaking specifically of the YFD (in)actions on the YH Fire, consider now YFD Firefighter Dr. Leroy Anderson's (RiP) poignant letter below in Figure 4 titled: "We could have done more......." addressed to the many Yarnell, AZ residents that were impacted by the YH Fire tragedy to rally to the cause, stand together, and counteract the intentional deception and outright fraud that they were subjected.
Dr. Anderson (RiP) emphatically writes: "IT IS THE FACT THAT THERE HAS BEEN A COVER-UP OF THOSE RESPONSIBLE - FROM THE START OF THE FIRE RIGHT UP TO THE FINISH." (capitalized emphasis in original and bold added)
"MY ANGER IS KINDLED each time I see or hear those in authority speak of their accomplishments, of their goals - and ignore the burning issues." (capitalized emphasis in original and bold is added)
"FROM THE GRAVE I hear the 19 men cry out for justice. for truth and for reform that others will not suffer their fate. It seems that the unjust know no shame in these matters. Woe to the leaders who hide the real facts, woe to those who seek to cover up the truth and sidetrack those seeking it." (capitalized emphasis in original and bold and added)
"Those deceiving our community are contemptible, they have been partial in their presentations, in their publishing’s, and in their efforts to shape public focus and promote only sanctioned thought. I pray to the God of judgment to clean our community of anyone who deceitfully and wickedly prevents public—360 degree—knowledge of what happened here, why it happened and the steps needed to correct deficiencies within our community structure, training, and preparations. It is our responsibility to discern between right and wrong, between truth and fiction—we must do our duty here." (all emphasis added)
In a word, this man is incensed with what has happened and continued to mince no words of what occurred, including the apparent apathy and resignation entrenched within his community. Rightfully so, he speaks firmly and with authority.
Figure 4. Dr. Leroy Anderson (RiP) letter tilted: "We could have done more......." in a resounding letter to the Yarnell. AZ community and the Yarnell Recovery Group to do the right thing and seek the truth. Source: LeRoy Anderson Ed. D (RiP)
Figure 5. Letter (redacted of personal information) from Dr. LeRoy Anderson (RiP) titled: "A rage against censorship " with the subtitle: "The 'recourse' mechanism does not exist in the Yarnell Fire Department" explaining that there was no "recourse" within the YFD. YFD Fire Board members - Richard Mayer (Left), Carole Ryan (Left rear), Arlon Rice (Center.), Kevin O'Donnell (Right rear), Francis Lechner (Middle right), and Chief Ben Palm (Far right). Source: LeRoy Anderson Ed. D. (RiP)
Figure 6. Letter (July 28, 2013) from Dr. Leroy Anderson (RiP) to the Yarnell Fire Board members concerning the YH Fire and twenty questions he wants answered about the Yarnell FD's (non)involvement. Source: LeRoy Anderson Ed. D. (RiP)
Figure 7.. Dr. Leroy Anderson (RiP) letter (July 30, 2013) to the Yarnell Fire Board questioning Yarnell FD (in)actions and Yarnell Fire District Bylaws,' Fire Board responsibilities, and recommendations for accountability. And, of course, looking for some answers. Source: Leroy Anderson Ed. D. (RiP)
Figure 8. This vacant bank building was unethically purchased by the YFD Fire Board using Yarnell Hill Recovery Group monies to be used as a YFD administrative building. Source: LeRoy Anderson Ed. D
Figure 9. Dr. Anderson (RiP) letter (August 1, 2013) to the Yarnell Fire Board promoting the findings in the Pacific Biodiversity Institute published report about the YH Fire, future mitigations against wildland fire, seeking accountability, and answers after the YH Fire. Source: LeRoy Anderson Ed. D (RiP)
Below is the Pacific Biodiversity Institute (PBI) paper referred to by Dr. LeRoy Anderson (RiP) above in Figure 7 titled: "ANALYSIS AND COMMENTS ON THE YARNELL HILL FIRE IN ARIZONA AND THE CURRENT FIRE SITUATION IN THE UNITED STATES." Source: July 2013 Peter H. Morrison and George Wooten - Pacific Biodiversity Institute P.O. Box 298 Winthrop, Washington 98862 509-996-2490 firstname.lastname@example.org. The paper is available in the link here. ( http://www.pacificbio.org/initiatives/fire/THE%20YARNELL%20HILL%20FIRE%20AND%20THE%20NEED%20FOR%20FIRE%20ADAPTED%20COMMUNITIES2013july17.pdf )
In my view, the PBI authors unambiguously concluded on page 5: "The fact that the Yarnell Hill Fire grew out of control was predictable. The interior chaparral shrublands that it burned through are notorious for high intensity wildfire. There was extreme fire weather during the fire coupled with very dry vegetation as a result of long-term drought, high temperatures, intense sunshine and persistent winds. Unfortunately, it appears that insufficient attention was placed on the critical warning signals of extreme fire weather and fuel conditions, leading to an unfortunate loss of lives" (emphasis added)
This conclusion is tragically the same message that I hear from many experienced WFs.
Figure 10. Yarnell Fire District Board of Directors Meeting - Chief's Report - Jim Koile, Fire Chief - July 15, 2013; regarding the YH Fire with yellow highlighted and bracketed comments from Dr. Anderson (RiP) critical of the Yarnell FD concerning YH Fire initial attack alleged "stand down," YFD administration, operations, finances, and (in)actions on the YH Fire; 12 pages. Source: LeRoy Anderson Ed. D. (RiP), some were from Cliff Dupuy, and possibly from former YFD Fire Chief Peter Andersen
Figure 10a. Video of former YFD Fire Chief Peter Andersen (RiP) talks about the town of Yarnell building an "escape route" for a "burn out," and he alludes to and then is bewildered by the GMHS decision to walk into a "box canyon" ('might as well be standing in a fireplace'), seriously questions the SAIT's investigation and their intentions ('if you are not here to point fingers then what are you here for?') This video is of Pete's experiences and observations on the YH Fire. Interview on October 8, 2013 Source: InvestigativeMEDIA John Dougherty.
Consider now the WildCAD system and a brief summary is in order to prepare you for what is to follow, including some of the more common entries and details listed in the one below in Figure 11. First off, it stands for the Wildland Fire Computer Aided Dispatch (WildCAD) system developed by Bighorn Information Systems for wildland fire agencies. WildCAD is targeted for Emergency Communications Centers of all sizes. It is the most commonly used Dispatch System in the wildland fire community. Agencies and Dispatch Centers purchase licenses for use and it is a contract managed by the Forest Service. Here is the WildWeb link. ( http://www.wildcad.net/WildCADWeb.asp ) Your typical search method using "Ctrl-F" will not work in any of Dr. Anderson (RiP) PDF documents, so you will have to skim, scroll, and/or read each one line by line.
The "Entry Date / Time" should be both intuitive and obvious with the "From" and "To" as well. The "Details" section describes the who, what, when, where, and why, and how of what is happening, needed, etc. Here are some common abbreviations that you will notice: PIFC is Phoenix Interagency Fire Center; PDC is Prescott Interagency Dispatch Center; SWCC is Southwest Coordination Center; PRC is Prescott Fire Department; IA Dispatch is an Initial Attack Dispatcher; PMB is the Federal Office of Policy Management and Budget dealing with fiscal matters; NWS is the National Weather Service; CON is an abbreviation for Congress; all initials and/or first and last names in the "To" and "From" are dispatchers, etc.; Russ is Type 4 IC Russ Shumate; Rory is Air Attack Rory Collins; LOG is Logistics Dispatcher; E1660 is Engine 1660; T-413 is Air Tanker (Tanker) 413; SEAT is a Single Engine Air Tanker; YRN is Yarnell abbreviation; Downey is the AZSF 'Penny Pincher' Jim Downey that I feel is one of the key ones responsible for the feckless initial and extended attack on the YH Fire allowing it to gain needless momentum. He was probably tying his boots for too long to realize the Buick sized fire was now the size of the entire Buick car lot; YCSO is Yavapai County Sheriff Office; ATGS is Air Attack Group Supervisor (Air Attack); IC is Incident Commander; and CAWRT is Central AZ Wildfire Response Team, a consortium of over 20 local fire agencies in central Arizona that participate in state and nationwide wildland fire responses; cooperators with the Arizona State Forestry Division and work in the Region 3 Southwest Geographic area. Any others are yours to GTS. Google That S**t.
Figure 11. WildCAD Incident Card - AZ Dispatch Center: AZ-A1S 2013-688 "YARNELL HILL" Wildfire - 06/28/2013 17:36:00 - Area ADZ223 (ADC 223) 19 pages, printed July 7, 2013, subjoined to Yarnell Fire Board Chief's report in Figure 8 above. Lists FFs & WFs actions taken, contacts made, observed fire weather and fire behavior, resources assigned, etc. Source: LeRoy Anderson Ed. D (RiP)
Figure 12. Dr. Anderson (RiP) letter to Yarnell Fire Board regarding Pacific Institute of Biodiversity report on Yarnell and the YH Fire Source: LeRoy Anderson Dr. D (RiP)
Figure 13. Dr. LeRoy Anderson (RiP) letter to Yarnell Fire Board members dated Monday, September 9, 2013. Regarding the YH Fire, community involvement and community recovery. The WildCAD document referred to is above in Figure 8a. Source: LeRoy Anderson Ed. D (RiP)