Part 3 of 5 - Underneath every simple, obvious story about ‘human error,’ there is a deeper, more co
Part 3 of 5 - Underneath every simple, obvious story about ‘human error,’ there is a deeper, more complex story - a story about the system in which people work. Will these formerly unrevealed public records change the account of what occurred on June 30, 2013?
Having nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. Ephesians 5:11 (NIV)
In loving memory to my father (12 - 21 -15 )
Views expressed to "the public at large” and "of public concern"
DISCLAIMER: Please fully read the front page of the website (link below) before reading any of the posts ( www.yarnellhillfirerevelations.com )
The authors and the blog are not responsible for misuse, reuse, recycled and cited and/or uncited copies of content within this blog by others. The content even though we are presenting it public if being reused must get written permission in doing so due to copyrighted material. Our sincerest apologies for the delays. These posts were due out in August 2019 yet we had WIX.com website research a matter, and we are now finally able to rebuild the pages and make them "live." This extensive post may offend some due to the time of the year, however, we must stay the course to release information because more is yet to come out in future posts. To avoid such offense to some, please avoid further reading the posts until you find a proper reflective time for yourself. I did ask many people who were affected by this tragic Yarnell Hill Fire event and they said it was okay to post it this weekend. I know some people would not want any of this out at any time, yet I also know too many for "mental health" reasons need this out ASAP. Again - please avoid reading any further if you are unable to handle "sensitive material." Thank you.
Consider now the continuation from Part 2 of 5 leading into the rogue Sesame Street and Shrine Fuel / Fire Break Corridor area, likely firing operation. As published in our 2019 AHFE paper titled "Formerly Unrevealed Records Should Change the Account of What Occurred on June 30, 2013. Underneath every simple, obvious story about ‘human error,’ there is a deeper, more complex story … a story about the system in which people work." What follows contains what we presented in a PowerPoint format, now converted to a PDF JPEG format. The additional accounts that were not in the 2019 AHFE paper regarding the second - and third-person hearsay accounts of the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor area likely firing operation were included in the AHFE Conference PowerPoint presentation, and are now included here in the PDF JPEG format images that follow. Most importantly, more details are brought to light and included in this post on the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor firing operation. Additionally, more details are provided below each image due to the freedom to additionally expound on further clarifications and descriptions in this post, a luxury typically not rendered in a PowerPoint presentation.
This Part 3 of 5 section contains information, data, images, photographs, and analysis of: research on argumentation and burdens of proof to overcome logical fallacies and disagreement; investigative journalism and truth seeking; whether a likely rogue firing operation occured in the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor area; hearsay exception evidence from a WF (Downhillndirect avatar); NWCG Escape Routes importance; tracking devices /systems; NWCG WFSTAR '52-minutes from Blow-up to Burnover' image and discussion; Google Earth image of Corridor area, twin parallel chutes, etc. alignment with GMHS deployment site; Hearsay exceptions; former USFS Fire Director Jerry Williams discussing the "10 & 18;" the history of military "Friendly Fire" and discussion of wildland fire "Friendly Fire" history and "fog of war"; GMHS Steady Drift Into Failure and Bad Decisions With Good Outcomes; 2012 Holloway Fire; Unaccounted for GMHS Evidence; BRHS Brian Frisby and USFS Human Dimensions Joseph Harris email regarding the YH Fire and Staff Ride; Our Investigation and Our Truth PODCASTS; "Student of Fire" website re: YH Fire and GMHS; Staff Rides in general; NWCG leadership; detailed WTKTT analyses on numerous GMHS videos, especially MacKenzie, indicating alteration and manipulation; Abercrombie Former "WildlandFire.com - They Said" archives (1999-2004) quotes, samples of 2019 AHFE Advances in Human Error, Reliability, Resilience, and Performance book content, and more. Close to, but not necessarily in the above order.
Furthermore, you will be regularly exposed to the dubious "Factual" SAIT-SAIR (page 11) drivel that seems to follow the ethics and morals lessons of this notoriously demonic wanker: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." - Joseph Goebbels, Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. (emphasis added)
In order to separate the wheat from the chaff, as they say, and discern fact from fiction, these two research paper links immediately below on logical fallacies may assist you in traveling the convoluted trail of the June 30, 2013, YH Fire debacle and the GMHS tragedy. Hopefully, they will be especially helpful trying to tell the difference between what the AZ State Forestry endorsed SAIT-SAIR disingenuously presented as "factual." Realistically, they are more like numerous methodically crafted deceptions, inaccuracies, and outright falsehoods for the purpose of "honoring the fallen" as they say or in the converse, to avoid "speaking ill of the dead" - compared to the numerous untold truths that we reveal.
(1) Godden, D.M. (2010) The importance of belief in argumentation: Belief, commitment and the effective resolution of a difference of opinion. Synthese, 172. ( https://www.jstor.org/stable/40496048?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents )
(2) Imran Aijaz et al (2012) Burdens of Proof and the Case for Unevenness and the The Attitudinal Burden: When Truth is a Primary Aim section.
This inspiring article cited herein, segues well into the shrouded magnitude of investigative reporting and truth seeking. The Boston Globe Spotlight editor who defined investigative reporting in Boston, died on Aug. 23, 2019, at 76. "Some 30 years ago, this Globe investigative reporter wondered how tough he should be in a story about corrupt judges, and sought guidance from Gerry O’Neill, editor of the Spotlight Team. “WRITE IT SO IT SCARES YOU,” [he] said. "Fine advice, ... those most likely to tremble were the officials whose misdeeds he chronicled ... The greatest lesson ... [when we] run into all these obstacles, we will get frustrated,” ... “Gerry would say, ‘We just have to keep going. ... we’re not going away. We’ll do what we have to do.’” And he inspired everyone ... to hold accountable anyone who betrayed the public’s trust. “Gerry never flinched in the face of power or sacred cows” ... “He believed in the story.” By Bryan Marquard Globe Staff, August 23, 2019, 10:58 a.m. (emphasis added) We will keep going - We are here to stay the course to do what we morally have to do our best to hold accountable those who betrayed the public’s trust. We believe in revealing the truth (and lies) about what occurred on the YH Fire on June 30, 2013.
Figure 50. (same as Figure 47 in Part 2 of 5 ) PDF JPEG image of "Was There a Rogue Sesame Street to Shrine Fuel / Fire Break Corridor firing operation?" Source: Schoeffler, Honda, Collura
The seemingly ongoing question of whether there was a Rogue Sesame Street to Shrine Fuel / Fire Break Corridor area likely firing operation begins with: (1) three SAIT-SAIR excerpts (pp. 18, 21, 24, 25); (2) what photographs that the authors posted, confident that a firing operation occurred based on separate and distinct smoke columns (plumes); (3) reference to the twenty people (WFs, FFs locals, and others) that viewed the July 2013 video at the Yarnell Library of WFs / FFs using drip torches in a firing operation above the Shrine area. The video ultimately "vanished without a trace;" (4) There are also references to "burnt fusees" and "accelerants" found in the area on subsequent visits with specialized dogs; as well as (5) an audio Podcast and InvestigativeMEDIA (IM) posts with references to a "back burn" in the area. "Back burn" is a colloquial or slang reference to a firing or burn-out operation. Additionally, a GMHS mother on their Podcast stated: “I stand firm that there was a back burn [firing operation] that came up that canyon. It was this fact …” (all emphasis added) (Our Investigation, Our Truth - What Happened to the Granite Mountain Hot Shots (GMHS). DP & former GMHS D. Harwood. November 28, 2015 email. (https://anchor.fm/our-truth/episodes/Episode-Ten-Thank-You-e40gp7 ) I find it interesting and confusing that DP refers to it as "Our Investigation, Our Truth - What Happened to the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshots."
Consider now the SAIT-SAIR excerpts referring to the two-track road (an old fuel break) between Sesame Street and Shrine Road to be used for a burnout along a dozer line.
SAIT-SAIR: “They [BRHS] encounter SPGS1 who requests a Heavy Equipment Boss (HEQB) to manage a dozer and … clear out the two-track road on both sides as far as possible to provide access and to prepare for possible backfire … clear out the two-track road (an old fuel break) between Sesame Street and Shrine Road. … The HEQB continues to work the dozer to open the line between Sesame Street and Shrine Road. The Blue Ridge IHC move their crew carriers toward the Shrine of St. Joseph (the Shrine) and a youth camp area around 1500 and then start preparing for burnout along the dozer line.“ (pp. 18, 21) (emphasis added)
SAIT-SAIR: "... SPGS1 contacts [BRHS Supt.] to ask if they still have the option to burn out from the dozer line. BR Supt tells him no. DIVS A, hearing the transmission, agrees and says he believes the fire is almost as far as the Granite Mountain vehicles. A moment later, DIVS A says, “I want to pass on that we’re going to make our way to our escape route.” (p. 24) (emphasis added)
SAIT-SAIR: “A task force with Structure Protection Group 1 is working in the area. They are cutting a piece of indirect line from the area near the youth camp on Shrine Road eastward to a boulder pile, expecting that they may need to burn off this line overnight. This piece of indirect line connects to the dozer line between Shrine Road and Sesame Street, which the Blue Ridge IHC have been prepping since about 1500.” (p. 25) (emphasis added)
It is very clear that the BRHS and others were improving the two-track road (old dozer line) that was the Sesame Street and Shrine Fuel / Fire Break Corridor area specifically for a likely firing operation. The task force with Structure Protection Group 1 was working in conjunction with the BRHS cutting a piece of indirect line from the area near the Youth Camp on Shrine Road eastward to a boulder pile, which connected to the dozer line between Shrine Road and Sesame Street. But around what time ??does the SPGS1 contact the BRHS Supt. to ask if they still have the option to burn out from the dozer line. The crucial timeframe of that question is NEVER addressed in the SAIT-SAIR. Both the BR Supt and DIVS A tell him no. DIVS A, says he believes the fire is almost as far as the GMHS vehicles.
And recall that the GMHS - once again - for the third time, have left their Crew Carriers in an unburned, green clearing without any drivers to move them, (e.g. 2011 Sunflower Fire - TNF (AZ); 2012 Holloway Fire - BLM (NV & OR) - 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire (AZ)! Refer to the Holloway Fire (VIMEO video) by Colby Drake where a contract Engine Crew sub-caption states "we saved the [GMHS] buggies from burning up!" ( http://vimeo.com/48411010 ) (2:40 to 3:25). Near the end of the VIMEO video clip, you will notice a GMHS wearing a black hardhat (the lookout ?) running down their handline toward the bottom.
Colby Drake, the contract Engine Crew Engine Boss addressed this (below Figure 60) further posting on InvestigativeMEDIA as "Methods."
According to the SAIT-SAIR, a moment later, DIVS A says, 'I want to pass on that we’re going to make our way to our escape route.'” Wait a minute now! The NWCG defines Escape Routes as "... the path the firefighter takes from their current locations – when exposed to danger – to an area free from danger" in "Escape Routes 1." Furthermore, " ... follow the established escape route to the safety zone" and "You should always know the location of your escape routes leading to safety zones and deployment areas" in "Escape Routes 3." (emphasis added)
Lo and behold! The NWCG considers Escape Routes so important - which they are - that they cover it in three separate postings! And, of course, our favorite NWCG wildland fire fatality poster (below) in Figure: 50a.- "Blowup to Burnover" - referring to the fact that the Yarnell Hill Fire, was a whopping "52 minutes" from the time the GMHS - and everyone else for that matter - witnessed the fire blowing up until they escaped or burned over. Only three (3) other wildland fire fatalities were in that extended (40+ minutes) timeframe, (e.g. Battlement Creek (CO) 1978; Thirty-mile (WA) 2011, and Blue Ribbon (FL) 2016.
In Florida, it is remarkable that the tractor-plow units on the Blue Ribbon Fire were outfitted with an "'Asset Tracking System' which is a platform where the GPS location of suppression equipment is transmitted via radio from the suppression equipment to a supervisor’s radio in their vehicle, then to a laptop computer. It failed to function properly on this fire. The Asset Tracker System was a benefit to IC-2 during the incident; however, the System was not installed on T/P-1 and the location of T/P-5 was not displayed on IC-2’s computer. There are inconsistencies between the Asset Tracker System data and firefighter statements as to when this occurred." (emphasis added) SAIT Team Leader Jim Karels was from FL Forestry and proposed these tractor tracking units.
Florida provides GPS to protect those fighting wildfires (January 1, 2014) by Kevin Spear
"The 19 firefighters who died in an Arizona wilderness blaze last summer and two rangers who perished in a North Florida forest fire in 2011 were victims of similar perils: an afternoon eruption of unexpectedly fierce fire and an ensuing communications breakdown. (emphasis added)
"To prevent a repeat of such tragedies, the Florida Forest Service is equipping its frontline firefighters with GPS units that provide location points on supervisors' laptops. The agency thinks the system is the first of its type in the nation. It will give crews, especially those on bulldozers who plow fire lines, a virtual way to see through the "fog and friction" of wildfires. (emphasis added)
"To cut through the fog and friction, the Florida Forest Service has been rolling out its Asset Tracker System, equipping all of the nearly 400 bulldozers and fire engines statewide with GPS receivers and radio transmitters. System software will be installed in the laptops of nearly 60 supervisors. (emphasis added)
"Every 30 seconds, the units blurt out an electronic warble, confirming that a packet of data containing unit identification, location, speed and direction had been transmitted by a 40-watt radio able to reach supervisor laptops within 2 miles. The system doesn't provide a complete picture of a wildfire; the blaze, for example, isn't outlined on maps depicted on laptop screens. (emphasis added)
"But Kern said supervisors are learning to correlate the GPS tracking data with their knowledge of tactics used when fighting fires with bulldozers. Supervisors also will know where to direct a helicopter to drop water should trouble occur. 'If one of our guys calls in, 'I'm stuck and about to be burned over,' we'll know where to go,' Kerns said." (emphasis added) So, at least they'll know where to go to start the investigation and / or to retrieve the bodies.
This GPS tracking equipment is actually one of seven "recommendations" that the YH Fire SAIT-SAIR (p. 44) came up with for all WFs after the deadly June 30, 2013, YH Fire. "4. The Team recommends that the State of Arizona request the [NWCG] to review current technology that could increase resource tracking, communications, real time weather, etc. For example, this may include GPS units and weather applications." (emphasis added) No thanks! Applying the 10 & 18 and LCES work just fine for tens of thousands of WFs each and every year for those that actually use them.
Unsurprisingly, they also proposed this "recommendation" but never followed through with it: "5. The Team recommends that the State of Arizona request the NWCG and/or Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) to charter a team of interagency wildland fire and human factors experts to conduct further analysis of this event and the wildland fire communications environment." (emphasis added)
And so, because they have NOT done this, then we, and many other concerned current and former WFs, FFs, and citizens like us, have decided to carry on with that noble task, delving into the human factors while conducting further analysis of this event.
Figure: 50a. Operational Engagement - Escape Routes 1 (Take 5@2) 6 Minutes for Safety Source: NWCG
This component of the probable firing operation - planned and discussed above - was, in fact, likely fired off by a mixture of Federal, State, and Municipal Fire personnel as detailed in the segments below in Figures 51-57 in "Was there a Rogue Sesame Street and Shrine Fuel / Fire Break Corridor area likely firing operation?"
Once again, the Google Earth image below (Figure 50b) will allow much easier understanding of the WFs and FFs access and movements, better clarification, and verification of the specific areas referenced when discussing the Sesame Street to Shrine Fuel / Fire Break Corridor area, likely firing operation.
Figure 50b. PDF JPEG image of a Google Earth image aligned Northwest to Southeast, indicates the "Sesame Street and Shrine Fuel / Fire Break Corridor" area aligned approximately North to South (upper middle) - "Upslope Alignment" (white arrow) of the twin "Parallel Chimneys / Chutes / Washes" (middle to lower middle - black lines & arrows) which funneled intense afternoon thunderstorm outflow winds directly upslope into the GMHS "Deployment Zone" (lower middle) and ultimate fatality site on June 30, 2013. The Boulder Springs Ranch / Helms ("B.S.R. / Helms") was the GMHS alleged goal (middle right).Source: Google Earth and Joy A. Collura
It is a widely held belief among WFs, specifically WFs involved in the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor area likely firing operation, that the increasing outflow winds and resultant fire behavior created an exponentially violent fire storm that overtook the GMHS as they hiked downhill into the fire surging uphill toward them. Refer to Figure 25 in Part 1 of 5.
Consider now the importance of broaching the question: "Was there a Sesame Street and Shrine Fuel / Fire Break Corridor firing operation?" I will use legal literature to establish standing, for legal credibility, while utilizing the "Arizona Rule 803. Exceptions to the Rule Against Hearsay" in order to qualify his experienced WF statements as having "particular probative value" (evidence which is sufficiently useful to prove something important in a trial).
'A firsthand account of an event or topic is based on an individual's personal experience, while a secondhand account of an event or topic is based on an individual's research, rather than personal experience. It is generally considered to be circumstantial evidence. By definition, hearsay is an out of court statement made in court by someone other than a party to prove the truth of matter.'
"In evaluating factual matter, the modern trend is to allow an expert to rely on anything normally relied upon by other experts in his field, that is, on anything that has gained "general acceptance" in arriving at opinions. He may rely on opinions of others; statements of third parties not involved in the action; and knowledge derived from books (learned treatises), articles, lectures, etc., written and given by others. However, an expert may not rely upon irrelevant or speculative material in arriving at his opinion. The material upon which expert opinion is based need not, by itself, be admissible; it may, for example, be hearsay." (emphasis added) Objections to Evidence and Testimony - Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ( http://freedom-school.com/objections_to_evidence_and_testimony.pdf )
It will be necessary to recognize and then accept that a 25-year veteran WF, using an avatar to protect his identity (Downhillndirect - DND), would basically be considered as an "expert witness," in a court of law. So then, granting him his due credibility as such in this instance is therefore permissible. Notes from numerous phone conversations and InvestigativeMEDIA (IM) Yarnell Hill Fire posts, provided below, reveal what evidence DND has garnered, as well as his sincerity and goal of sharing the truth minus "unfounded inferences or skewed by the provider’s bias." Furthermore, I highly recommend that you apply your credibility discernment with bite. Rather than accepting at face value DND's claims based on training, knowledge, and shared wildland fire experiences, you should recognize that tight groups, such as WFs and FFs, sometimes subscribe to a set of shared, but nonetheless unreliable, beliefs. So then, make your credibility judgements accordingly. You should also scrutinize whether the evidence provider’s experience base is sufficiently extensive enough to support what he presents as bona fide evidence, albeit second- or third-hand, including what would be considered as what is known as "professional opinion." By giving teeth to the "Arizona Rule 803. Exceptions to the Rule Against Hearsay" covered in Part 1 of 5, underneath Figure 8, you can avoid allowing mere opinion evidence that lacks a sufficient basis and ensure that only reliable inferences fairly drawn from his experience are presented to you, the reader. (emphasis added) The above derives from: Anne Bowen Poulin (2011) Experience-Based Opinion Testimony: Strengthening the Lay Opinion Rule. Pepperdine Law Review, 39 ( https://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1365&context=plr ) May have to cut and paste this URL link or search for the tile and author to reteieve the data.
The context to follow is a mixture of 'first-person' - 'second hand' - 'third-person' perspective anecdotes and comments that either: (1) take place in a training academy where the students, one of which was involved in one of the firing operations, are engaged in discussion as a group with the academy instructors about the Yarnell Hill Fire, June 30, 2013, fire behavior and eventually human factors; (2) part of a separate firing operation in a different area by a Single Resource Agency Type 3 Engine, (3) a municipal FF perspective while at the BSR, and (4) from an established 25-year veteran WF, using the avatar "Downhillndirect (DND)," that has spoken with each of these three individuals that were a part of their respective, likely firing operations. Remember that these are "professional" versus "personal" opinions, although still considered hearsay.
We initially address the limited original text accompanying the PowerPoint photos and images from the 2019 AHFE Conference PowerPoint presentation, and then move on to further examination of those from a PDF JPEG format, with significantly more detailed evidence and information in these recently posted materials. Several of these newly posted materials concern the controversial, problematic, and elusive issue of: "Was there a Sesame Street and Shrine Fuel / Fire Break Corridor area, likley, firing operation?"
What follows are anecdotes, comments, and quotes, that are derived from notes taken during conversations with the respective YH Fire Sesame Street and Shrine Fuel / Fire Break Corridor area, likely firing operations personnel. Excerpts from military literature on the historical notion of "friendly fire" from several military sources and therefore, from purely military perspectives are examined. The few wildland fire "friendly fire" incidents posted and discussed, are mostly from contributing auhors, experienced WFs and FFs, and several InvestigativeMEDIA website posts on the issue.
Figure 51. PDF JPEG image of one of several that address: "Was there a Sesame Street and Shrine Fuel / Fire Break Corridor firing operation?" Source: Schoeffler, Honda, Collura
From Figure 51 PDF JPEG image above:
‘The training academy student (student FF) stated that 'the closer they got to the Sesame Street and Shrine area … there was a feeling of absolute panic as they pulled out of the area.’ The FF said ‘we could hear everything those [GMHS] guys were saying; Marsh said that the Ranch isn’t that far from where he thought the guys are now … we knew Marsh went down that ridge a few times before those guys had to deploy.’ (emphasis added) This fearful, panicked reaction is normal under the stressful circumstances due to these municipal FFs being unskilled in wildland firing operations, especially under such environmental and psychological settings. It puts into question Marsh's whereabouts relative to the "factual" SAIT-SAIR. (emphasis added)
The student FF said: ‘We were part of a firing operation off one of the spur roads .. that road, close to where everybody piled out [Sesame Street to Shrine Road near Miner Rd] about twenty (20) minutes before hearing all the ruckus on the radio about the GMHS, Air Attack, yelling on the radio.’ (emphasis added)
The "multiple spur roads" referred to by the student FF are the maze of roads in the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor area and Miner Road heading into Peeples Valley. (emphasis is added)
Figure 52. PDF JPEG image of one of several that address: "Was there a Sesame Street and Shrine Fuel / Fire Break Corridor firing operation?" Source: Schoeffler, Honda, Collura
From Figure 52 PDF JPEG image above:
The student FF spoke of "firing out multiple spur roads" while trying to keep it square so it wouldn't jump the main road. The "multiple spur roads" referred to by the FF are the maze of roads in the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor area and Peeples Valley. This FF asked several times if the area was clear of firefighters and civilians before they did any firing. A supervisor told them: "Sometimes we do things we have to, not because we want to." This is significant in that the FF was prescient enough to ask several times if the area was "clear of FFs and civilians" before they started any firing. And even more significant in that the firing supervisor told them: "Sometimes we do things we have to, not because we want to." Really? Because we have to and not because we want to? We always have options! (emphasis added)
The student FF thought that the Firing Boss of the operation was 'part of the set-up, part of the IMT ... someone like a Structure Protection Specialist.' We have some ideas on who this was but nothing solid ... yet. (emphasis added)
Figure 53. PDF JPEG image of one of several that address: "Was there a Sesame Street and Shrine Fuel / Fire Break Corridor firing operation?" Source: Schoeffler, Honda, Collura
The student FF clearly revealed their limited wildland fire inexperience by stating 'we had the Engine out in front of us.' WFs trained in firing operations would have the Engine support behind them, especially if they had only one Engine. The FF went on to say that they had: 'No spots, absolute miracle because the wind was howling parallel with the road they were on and every now and then it would gust over the road and throw embers - but no spots." He stated that "the Engine was going fast and we had a hard time keeping up with it while firing out." Experienced WFs have told me that, generally, under these conditions with this kind of wind and terrain alignment, this is an acceptable and safe practice, including firing at a rapid rate with no spot fires. (emphasis added)
The student FF noted that the 'urgency and fear in the eyes of everyone on that road was unnatural.' This reaction similarly revealed their wildland fire inexperience because the firing they were doing was an acceptable and safe practice and firing operation experience. "It was burning in so fast … it was ripping right in." This is also typical fire behavior considering the conditions and alignment. 'They tied into a corner,' a bunch of vehicles came out including BRHS and the GMHS buggies … [he started crying again]. … we felt much better lighting to the corner of this road / intersection, and because we saw the GMHS rigs, we figured they were inside, out of the area.’ Like everyone else that witnessed this that afternoon, they saw the GMHS Crew Carriers, and they figured that they were inside the vehicles and now out of the area. However, only drivers were in the GMHS Crew Carriers and NO other GMHS inside. (emphasis added)
Figure 54. PDF JPEG image of one of several that address: "Was there a Sesame Street and Shrine Fuel / Fire Break Corridor firing operation?" Source: Schoeffler, Honda, Collura
The student FF stated: ‘The fire was gone, half mile or mile away from us within 5-10 minutes of firing, uphill and gone. This also reveals their wildland fire inexperience and describes some awe inspiring fire behavior when combined with everything this FF talked about prior to this. The 'uphill and gone' comment likely referred to very aggressive fire behavior in the Harper Canyon area. (emphasis added)
'We all staged in our rigs listening to the TAC channels and then we heard the GMHS A/G chaos. They are obviously pretty hyped-up and stressed out at this point, and very likely thinking that they just had something to do with this "chaos" at this stage. (emphasis added)
'The entire [Engine] Crew, including our Captain, felt like there was no air in the Engine, like we couldn’t breathe. Our Captain said he felt like he was gonna have a panic attack. This is also understandable considering the cumulative circumstances - the stress of the firing operation, unsure if everyone was clear of the area, being given marginally unethical and possibly unsafe supervisory guidance, and conflicting and contradictory supervisory direction. This was all while witnessing the aggressive to extreme fire behavior that they have likely never experienced before which contributed to these fairly 'normal stress reactions' for experienced WFs and FFs, but over-the-top stress reactions for these fairly inexperienced WFs and municipal FFs performing somewhat complex firing operations. And so, the Academy FF talks about is likely akin to some type of claustrophobia or psychologically induced trauma. (emphasis added)
The student FF also stated that later that day, they were greeted by several higher ranking WF / FF Supervisors in Yarnell telling them that 'everything was gonna be alright' and that 'you saved a lot of structures ...' (emphasis added) Who were these high ranking WF / FF Supervisors, in what positions, and who did they work for?
Figure 55. PDF JPEG image of one of several that address: "Was there a Sesame Street and Shrine Fuel / Fire Break Corridor firing operation?" Source: Schoeffler, Honda, Collura
The following day, the student FF ‘... got a direct phone call from a high-level supervisor telling him 'not to talk with anyone else about the YH Fire' and told him that if he spoke about the YH Fire 'even one more time to anyone' he would be sent home. (emphasis added) Refer to Part 1 of 4, Figures 44 and 45 on USDA OGC and USFS Employee Direction and Guidance email threads.
He felt 'ostracized for the rest of the academy because people made sure he would not talk about the YH Fire … And he is still traumatized by it.’ (emphasis added) It sounds like Agency-imposed peer pressure and Groupthink from upper management to apply vicarious intimidation.
The Academy Instructors, if discussing the YH Fire, were directed to get USFS Regional and Washington Office preapproval of their lesson plans.’ The Academy Administrators told the Instructor that there would be no 'disrespecting the dead and no YH Fire talk here …’ (emphasis added) Refer to Part 2 of 5, Figures 42 and 43 on USDA OGC and USFS Employee Direction and Guidance email threads. WFs and FFs in a training academy discussing what occurred on the YH Fire and the GMHS is in NO FASHION 'disrespecting the dead.' In fact, to NOT discuss it is the epitome of "disrespecting the dead." Indeed, the joint Weather Channel and WLFLLC video guidance and inspiration was to share and talk about it.
Figure 56. PDF JPEG image of one of several that address: "Was there a Sesame Street and Shrine Fuel / Fire Break Corridor firing operation?" Source: Schoeffler, Honda, Collura
Another WF involved in the likely firing operation stated in a one-on-one conversation with DND regarding: 'An ordered firing operation / backfire occurred in the Sesame / Shrine Corridor right up until the fatalities occurred.' He defined in great detail what they did, what they were asked to do by an 'unknown WF Supervisor' ... 'It has affected them in a very deep way.' (emphasis added) The location and timing is instructive and the "unknown supervisor" calls into question the Engine Boss's acumen regarding questioning ambiguous or conflicting direction, especially from an 'unknown supervisor,' In spite of the firing operation, the WFs reactions ('... affected them in a very deep way') are logical based on what the GMHS fatal outcome when they failed to follow basic WF Rules. The likely firing operation was a lesser, fatal causal factor than the GMHS's 10 & 18 failures. (emphasis added)
Usually, OPS / DIVS must approve that type of firing around structures and WFs and FFs in an adjacent Division, however, there was no approval record by OPS Abel or anyone else. Must be approved by and agreed to by all parties in the area. (emphasis added) A Single Resource Boss has the authority and responsibility to perform a firing operation and Fire Order #7 presupposes that they inform their Supervisor. (emphasis added)
The proof of the firing was / is documented on YouTube; firing in the direction they were firing definitely shows that the firing show severely affected the rates of spread from the main fire that ultimately killed 19 people. (emphasis added) Woodsman and a retired municipal FF Battalion Chief stated that they watched a same / similar Yarnell Library video and / or out-of-state viewing of the firing operation on YouTube and it disappeared. The likely firing operation, aligned with the strong winds and terrain features, would severely affect fire spread rates from the main fire that overran the GMHS. (emphasis added)
Figure 57. PDF JPEG image of one of several that address: "Was there a Sesame Street and Shrine Fuel / Fire Break Corridor firing operation?" Source: Schoeffler, Honda, Collura
It is fairly common knowledge by those WFs and FFs and others that were either involved in and / or know about and / or seriously investigating the likely firing operation that there are, in fact, "many involved and / or overseers that don’t want anyone to know what ensued." It is also true that these individuals have great remorse for firing in an area that was unconfirmed that it was clear of people or FFs. (emphasis added)
Yes, indeed, a likely firing operation, based on anecdotes, conversations, and circumstantial evidences. And there is definitely a concerted effort to divert attention away from it and make it go away because the SAIT and associated SMEs ('they') have to keep up their fatalist "we will never know" ruse. (emphasis added)
The Fire Orders are referenced as Rules of Engagement (ROE) below by former USFS Fire Director Jerry Williams accurately stating that: “The Ten Standard Firefighting Orders must be firm rules of engagement. They cannot be simple guidelines, and they cannot be “bargained.” They are the result of hard-learned lessons. Compromising one or more of them is a common denominator of all tragedy fires. On the Dude, South Canyon, and Thirtymile Fires, the Fire Orders were ignored, overlooked, or otherwise compromised. (emphasis added) (Williams 2002) ( https://www.fs.fed.us/sites/default/files/fire-management-today/62-4.pdf ) The Fire Orders mean little after we are in trouble. That is why we must routinely observe them and rely on them before we get into trouble. We know that no fire shelter can ensure survival all of the time under all circumstances. Entrapment avoidance must be our primary emphasis and our measure of professional operational success. (emphasis added) (Williams 2002)
All other references to Rules of Engagement (ROE) above are located in either military or structural firefighting literature.
I agree that most people directly involved have tried to permanently forget it or silence anyone that knows the truth. However, it is very difficult to forget something like this. The silencing of those involved that know the truth has been fairly successful, however, there are still plenty of brave souls coming forward as they fell led to do the right thing. (emphasis added)
The recent photographic evidence of multiple separate and distinct smoke columns and associated fire behavior is evident. The intensified thunder cells and downslope winds when the winds shifted from the North and collapsed, most definitely influenced and increased the fire behavior exponentially, especially when it aligned with the slope-bowl above the BSR and ridgeline saddle terrain features. (emphasis added)
Figure 57a. Screenshot of Asst. USFS Fire Director Facebook video "about 5 years ago" (April 19, 2014). Source: Colorado Firecamp Facebook
This is a screenshot of a Facebook video of former Asst. USFS Fire Director Jerry Williams in 1995, a year after South Canyon and 18 years before Yarnell: "If we come up short division sups, we'll rob a hotshot crew of that hotshot sup and put him on the division, and we'll make do. We need to quit thinking about makin' do." I was hoping for a video of him promoting the Fire Orders and Entrapment Avoidance, however, all I could locate was this Facebook video that Wix.com will not accept for downloading. Here are the Colorado Firecamp FB details for you to locate it yourself to listen to it.
lt's a pretty good guess that the GMHS leadership either failed to read his Fire Management Today article (2002) discussing the Rules of Engagement and the Ten Standard Fire Orders, nor watch this video clip and heed the lessons learned here; or maybe they did read the article and watch the video and failed to heed his sage advice.
Before we consider the third person hearsay posts verifying a Sesame Street and Shrine Road Corridor area likely Firing Operation, a short history of some "Friendly Fire" anecdotes are in order. This directly relates to the leadership (or lack thereof), of what occurred with the Mediterranean Fleet training exercises on June 22, 1893, when compared / contrasted with the Yarnell Hill Fire Operational (DIVS A) decisions and actions in particular, and the Acting GMHS and IMT, in general, on June 30, 2013, that virtually mirror each other as outlined below.
Continually attempting to make sense of the YH Fire and GMHS tragedy, excerpts a 1995 book titled: Blue on Blue – A History of Friendly Fire by Geoffrey Regan, is cited. The subtitle “A devastating assortment of miscalculations, malfunctions and military mishaps – from ancient Greece to the Persian Gulf” brings it a bit more into perspective. "While there have been many different reasons for individual accidents in battle, human error consistently has been present in all of them, and this is something that everyone - generals included - must learn to accept. This does not mean that one need not try to improve techniques of identification to reduce the incidence of friendly fire. Acceptance instead means coming to terms with the existence of the problem, rather than attempting to hush it up or sweep it under the carpet." (emphasis added) The author talks about these unfortunate, often tragic "acts of carelessness" from the "fog of war." (pp. 3-7) It sure sounds A LOT like the BRHS Frisby and USFS Human Dimensions Specialist Harris's April 12. 2016, "Human Factors!" email! See the June 19, 2019, Figure 3 in the "Why was it that the SAIT and ADOSH investigators were able to interview BLM employees but unable to interview USFS employees to obtain critical Human Factors information?" post on this website.
Included in the chapter on Naval Warfare (pp. 186-220), is the legacy of a prescient, brilliant tactician – British Vice Admiral Sir George Tryon, Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Squadron of the Royal Navy. 'His intellect allowed him to dominate everyone around him. ... it was no use arguing with him and better to acquiesce quietly. He found that the majority of the naval officers feared his reputation and none dared to stand up to him or challenge him or suggest that he was wrong.' (emphasis added)
In the end, likely during the fog of war, he fell victim to these attitudes and perceptions toward him. On maneuvers, Tryon proposed a difficult test to his captains, crews, and fleet of eleven battleships. ... the Admiral issued instructions ... for the distance between the two ships columns to be maintained at six cables (1,200 yards) and for each ship ... to turn inwards to make a 180-degree turn. (emphasis added)
An obvious small problem was that the leading ships of both columns (HMS Victoria and HMS Camperdown) each required eight cables (1,600 to 1,800 yards) leeway to safely make a 180-degree turn. When questioned ... Tryon initially conceded ... eight cables, ... he later gave the order that the distance between the ship columns should be only six cables. (emphasis added)
Captain Archibald Bourke, commander of the Victoria, commented: “open criticism of one’s superior is not consonant with true discipline, and so he chose do to nothing but to grit his teeth and pray.” Rear-admiral Markham knew it was impossible and impracticable and so he waited for a revised order that never came. Admiral Tyron demanded what could at times be absolute obedience from his officers.(emphasis added) The professional dilemma of obeying a stupid order comes to mind as well as Groupthink as the result of his demanding leadership style throughout these threads.
Markham complied and the two lead ships turned inward toward each other in their 180-degree turn. And the inevitable happened. The Camperdown's ram buried itself deep into the starboard bow of the flagship Victoria, now fatally damaged. A great breach and water rushed in at 3,000 tons per minute. The Victoria listed starboard and the bows began to sink. The Victoria rolled over and sank quickly. Admiral Tryon and his 357 officers and men lost their lives in this baffling incident. Admiral Tyron’s body was never found. Almost 300 other crewmen of the Victoria were rescued ... (emphasis added)
Why did Tryon seem unprepared to admit his error and correct it, thus preventing a disaster and the deaths of so many men? The dialogue with his officers over the figures “six” and “eight” revealed that he preferred to risk the consequences of it, whatever the case, rather than admit to younger and more junior men that their commander was imperfect. (emphasis added) Arrogance or pride or both?
The later court martial deemed it was in the Navy's best interests to avoid censure for obeying orders. The Army commanders and the Army Commander in Chief, the Duke of Cambridge, stated: “A good deal has been said of late as to the freedom being given to inferiors to question and disobey the orders of a superior officer. Discipline must be the law, and must prevail. It is better to go wrong according to orders than to go wrong in opposition to orders.” (emphasis added)
The reaction to this disaster led to a more intelligent interpretation of the past’s rigid and inflexible adherence of “blind obedience” to orders that had blighted the peacetime 19th century Royal Navy.
( http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/tryon-sir-george-4753 ) B. N. Primrose, ‘Tryon, Sir George (1832–1893)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National Univ., published first in hardcopy in 1976. ( http://www.navy.gov.au/biography/vice-admiral-sir-george-tryon )
Hopefully, you will recognize the parallels to what occurred on the afternoon of June 30, 2013, as DIV A Marsh adamantly insisted that Acting GMHS Supt. Steed bring them down to the BSR. Steed protested that it was unsafe and either they could not or would not make it, with Marsh responding insincerely apologetic: “I understand and I’m sorry” from Marsh. Against all training and published WF Rules, the GMHS left their Safety Zone and dutifully hiked downhill through chutes / chimneys, into a deadly bowl, choked with unburned fuel.
And yet, the survivor - alleged “lookout” McDonough stated they were much smarter than those WFs following the rules because he felt those rules were ”Hillbilly” and old. Third year HS Crewmembers come to that conclusion from others, so most likely an accepted GMHS Normalization of Deviance.
Consider now further evidence of the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor area and likely Firing Operation from a WF third-person perspective within the Hearsay Exception. The PDF JPEG image posts above for Figures 51-57 stand as posted with additional narrative below the images. What follows are from several InvestigativeMEDIA posts from "Woodsman" and "Downhillndirect" - both competent and experienced WFs.
The notion of "Friendly Fire," (aka "fratricide / amicicide") from a unique wildland fire perspective is examined in the following short detour to explain what I mean by "friendly fire" in historic military passages and quotes to propose it as an analog for wildland fire incidents. During a wildland fire shelter deployment Staff Ride, the WF brother of a deceased GMHS, that had applied to be a GMHS, acknowledged and conceded that his brother died "from fratricide" on June 30, 2013, while we were discussing the YH Fire and the likely rogue firing operation. He conceded the GMHS were adults with several choices and options to choose from that day. Unfortunately, they made bad choices and paid the consequences.
According to researcher and author, former US Army Colonel turned academic, Scott Snook (PhD ) wrote extensively on the subject. "Friendly fire-casualties unintentionally inflicted on one's own forces-is not a new problem in the history of warfare. However, until quite recently, little explicit attention has been paid to studying its causes and possible solutions [Footnote omitted] The authors of a 1993 review of friendly fire by the Office of Technology Assessment conclude that: Friendly fire is often thought of as due primarily, or exclusively, to misidentification. Investigation of particular cases usually reveals that the fratricide was in fact the last link in a chain of mistakes (citation omitted). Dr. Snook wrote about the friendly fire incident in Iraq where US Air Force fighters accidentally shot down two Army Blackhawk helicopters. Author and researcher Charles Shrader found that "it may well be that in the 'fog of war' friendly fire casualties are inevitable ... The 'fog of war' is an oft-mentioned, if imperfectly understood, factor in combat. ... Given the dearth of literature on the topic, the researcher must collect and analyze the scattered, often cryptic, references to amicicide found in general operational military histories or in the available official documents of combat units." (emphasis added) Wildland fire "friendly fire" incidents, although rare, are most often fatal as recounted below by experienced WFs and human factors researchers. Many experienced WFs and FFs believe that the Mann Gulch (MT-1949), Loop (CA 1966), Battlement Creek (CO-1976), (likely) McKenzie (AZ-1994), and the YH Fires (AZ-2013) were all the result of "friendly fire."
Scott A. Snook (2000) Friendly Fire - The Accidental Shootdown of U.S. Black Hawks over Northern Iraq ( http://www.mindtherisk.com/literature/150-friendly-fire-the-accidental-shootdown-of-u-s-black-hawks-over-northern-iraq-by-scott-a-snook ) 'Mind The Risk' book review of "friendly fire" incident examined.
Shrader, C.(2005) Amicide: The Problem of Friendly Fire in Modern War. J. Army War College, 23.
Consider now the InvestigativeMEDIA (IM) posts of WFs and FFs discussing the few known, likely wildland fire "friendly fire" incidents.
Robert the Second says July 15, 2018 at 2:20 pm posts: Scott Snook notes in Friendly Fire (p. 217) “that ‘near misses' are not likely to be reported and if they are, ‘I am still doubtful that the right lessons would have been learned, that appropriate action would have been taken.’” (emphasis added)
Snook cautions to be aware of the fact that we are dealing with humans who are prone to pride and loyalty as well as error. “Our tendency to blame individuals for perverse outcomes of complex incidents continues to be perhaps the most consistent findings across all accident investigations I have reviewed. ... While acknowledging that individuals do make mistakes, in Normal Accidents these tend to be the final link in a long chain of events where removing any one link would likely have produced a very different outcome.” (emphasis added) (Snook, p. 205) It all unequivocally boils down to HUMAN FACTORS!
Woodsman says June 29, 2019 at 9:36 am
"If you’re referring to the parallels between the Loop & Yarnell Hill, then yes. They both had adjoining forces constructing firelines with dozers below their position. A common tactic being a dozer push to burn off of. Adjoining forces were under the belief the crews above were in a safe location but in both fires, the crews ending hiking into the drainage the burnout would traverse to their actual respective locations, killing them…with unintentional “friendly fire.” (emphasis added)
"The Loop fire chain of events came to me in my research just last week! See my post below.
Mann Gulch – friendly fire. Thanks to Ted Putnam. (emphasis added)
"Each instance employed tactics of a cover-up by the powers that be in the official reports after the fact. Our job (self-appointed) is the determine the whole truth in order to save lives." (emphasis added)
Woodsman says June 26, 2019 at 12:26 pm ( https://www.investigativemedia.com/please-begin-yarnell-hill-fire-chapter-xxvii-here/#comment-479354 )
"I have reason to believe there have been many, many more “friendly fire” events in wildfire history that have ever been documented as such. I believe it happened at Mann Gulch (see Putnam’s research), Battlement Creek (Gary’s account), Loop (my research I’ll share below), AND finally, Yarnell Hill. Let me know which one’s I’ve left out. (emphasis added)
"Setting aside the multiple operational failures in all instances of crew leaders doing dumb shit like working in box canyons above fires, moving their crews through unburned fuel, hubris, etc, one simply cannot ignore the facts that show real evidence for the possibility of firing operations being the final nail in the coffin of the series of bad decisions that resulted in hotshot fatalities. (emphasis added)
I’m going to point out a few key quotes in this article in support of my hypothesis that we have a pattern of friendly fire incidents which also includes the Loop fire. (emphasis added)
“On the Loop fire, King believed the biggest danger his men faced was loose rock tumbling down the nearly sheer 2,200-foot-long slope. There was no fire in sight, just light smoke a few ridgelines away.”
If they were upslope they would be able to see if there was fire below them but ‘there was no fire in sight, just light smoke a few ridgelines away?’ (emphasis added)
“King saw Los Angeles County firefighters working with bulldozers to cut a firebreak at the bottom. He was close enough to hear voices. King heard a helicopter in a canyon to the west. The voices below turned to shouts.” (emphasis added)
"He saw LA county firefighters working below his Crew? Cutting a fire break with dozers? Were they prepping for a burnout? He was close enough to hear voices. These voices below him he could hear turned to shouts. What were they shouting? What was the reason for the shouting? Is it possible LA County firefighters torched off the bottom of the canyon using their newly constructed dozer line? Is it possible they didn’t know El Cariso was above them when they put fire on the ground and once someone realized what was happening the shouts began? (emphasis added)
"I think this is the ‘freight train' like noise El Cariso heard coming their way, a burnout fire racing up the slope. This is just like Mann Gulch, Battlement Creek, and Yarnell Hill. (emphasis added)
"The Loop, Mann Gulch, Battlement Creek, and Yarnell Hill fires are all examples of friendly fire being the final nail in the coffin of the series of bad decisions that resulted in death to hotshots which were covered up by fire managers so as shield themselves and the system from scrutiny (including prosecution), and as a by-product, increased the odds of its reoccurring in the future. No accountability, no honest reporting, equals no lessons learned." (emphasis added)
The only fire I can think of where there may have been “friendly fire” firing operation was on the 1994 Mackenzie Fire on BLM land in the rugged Hualapai Mountains near Kingman, AZ. (emphasis added)
WLFLLC links to Mackenzie Fire investigation records here:
This 1994 Mackenzie Fire, in my view, was very similar to the YH Fire in many ways regarding fuels, weather, topography (HUGE BOWL), fire behavior, and the likelihood of "friendly fire."
These three Prescott Hot Shots (PHS) were the advance load of PHS being flown into the fire; they were working the fire with another SW HS Crew already on the fire working below them. They had made a plan to land the helicopter in the black, however, the pilot changed his mind on approach (too much ash?) and landed them further away in the unburned heavy chaparral. The report notes between 1330 to 1350 reveal the fire activity timeline (pp. 8-9).
These three PHS then began hiking through the green, and according to several of the PHS WFs that includes air support personnel, they are "almost positive that a straight line / wall of fire came up out of the drainage below them from a firing operation' and was going to cut them off. One PHS WF says he "can still remember it like it was yesterday." They had to really hoof it through the green until they found a large boulder pile, only large enough for three, and they crawled in there and wrapped their fire shelters around them and plugged openings as best they could. They had fortuitously told the Helitack Crewmember to get back on the helicopter, otherwise there would have been no room for a fourth WF in their boulder pile.
They said they took considerable heat inside the boulder pile from several recurring fire fronts, immediately drying out their sweat-soaked boots (which later disintegrated due to the intense heat). They had inhaled heat, enough to require oxygen upon helicopter retrieval and at the Kingman hospital. The doctor told them they likely would have died without the initial supplemental oxygen. To this day, one of the WFs is still affected by the heat inhalation injuries.
The "professional opinions" of several WFs familiar with this incident is that there was only enough room for these three WFs in the boulder pile, and relying on fire shelters alone, without the boulder heat sink properties, would have been fatal for the three PHS. And likely fatal for the Helitack Crewmember had he not been sent back to Kingman on the helicopter.
Now that we have discussed the known incidences of "friendly fire" on a few wildland fires, consider the occurrence of the most recent and deadliest "friendly fire" - the June 30, 2013, Yarnell Hill Fire.
An InvestigativeMEDIA thread follows with the first of several posts by Downhillndirect says July 3, 2019 at 7:19 pm ( https://www.investigativemedia.com/please-begin-chapter-xxviii-here/#comment-479765 )
"Downhillndirect says - July 3, 2019 at 7:19 pm
Friendly Fire…. (all emphasis added)
I’m new to IM and this God Forsaken captcha wall.
I am here to answer any questions about my friend Jesse [Steed] and what I know to be fact on 6/30/13.(emphasis added)
"I am A FF so name dropping isn’t something I feel comfortable doing. After 2.5 decades of Hotshots/Engines and Paramedicine, I have forged many good life long friends in our small Fire Service family. I can’t say where I’m from but I can share what I know being in an inner circle of people that either showed me personal video or what was told to me by those that actually did the Firing.(emphasis added)
"I’m at a point that I try to keep my personal and emotional thoughts out of what I am going to share but I understand I lost a very good friend on June 30, 2013. (emphasis added)