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How was it possible to do everything right and yet 19 PFD FFs died in one fell swoop June 30, 2013?

Authors Fred J. Schoeffler and Joy A. Collura

Restating the post title beyond the limited Wix title allowance: How was it possible to do everything right and yet 19 Prescott Fire Dept. Firefighters died in one fell swoop on June 30, 2013?

Figure 1. Idealized image as a proxy of a Flame-zone buoyancy created stream-wise vortex pairs that alternately push flames up into peaks and down into troughs. Source: Missoula, MT Fire Sciences Lab (USFS). Dept. of Fire Protection Eng. (Univ. of MD), Dept. of Mech. Eng. (Univ. of KY)

In the above Figure 1. idealized image, this is likely similar to what occurred on June 30, 2013, afternoon as Horizontal Roll Vortices (HRV) extreme fire behavior as the result of a likely firing operation in The Shrine-Sesame Street Corridor and GMHS Deployment Zone, Boulder Springs Ranch in Yarnell, AZ


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Abbreviations used below: Wildland Firefighters (WFs) - Firefighters (FFs).


For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. 1 Corinthians 14:8-9 (NKJV)

"Because the crew was convinced that I was "on their team" there were never any issues with negative criticism... You as a mentor have to establish that you are sincerely interested in the problems of the person you are mentoring." - Retired Navy Captain L. David Marquet, is the author of the popular and unconventional book titled: Turn the Ship Around! Where he imagines a workplace where everyone engages and contributes their full intellectual capacity,


This post is derived from a paper for an upcoming annual human factors conference. Those sources and references utilized for this post are either numbered in brackets, i.e. [7] and listed at the bottom of the post under References, or embedded as a link within the identified source within the Yarnell Hill Fire Revelations (YHFR) post text.


On June 30, 2013, nineteen Prescott FD, quasi-military Granite Mountain Hot Shots, died on the Yarnell Hill (YH) Fire in Arizona. This was an Arizona State Forestry wildfire but was predictably “investigated” by a U.S. Forest Service-funded Serious Accident Investigation Team (SAIT), and when you have Federal funding you have Federal control. There is an ongoing FOIA Request for these USFS funding Public Records languishing in the USFS FOIA Black Hole for going on three years now. Crickets ...

And, of course, this Federal control continues to plague all manner of seeking the truth on this tragic fire. Their ensuing report (SAIR), based on a customary pre-determined “conclusion” - supported by specific “facts” to confirm it - inferred the following: "The judgments and decisions of the incident management organizations managing this fire were reasonable. Firefighters performed within their scope of duty, as defined by their respective organizations. And found no indication of negligence, reckless actions, or violations of policy or protocol." In other words - they did everything right, yet nineteen men perished. How is that possible? This clearly defies logic and reason. It is because wildfire tragedy "investigators" are using sleight-of-hand techniques practicing the illusion of objectivity, and using what is known as the psychologically-biased “motivated, result-oriented, or result-driven reasoning” strategies that allow them to draw the conclusions they want. Both US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management Agency training publications declare: "If firefighters follow the Standard Firefighting Orders and are alerted to the 18 Watch Out Situations, much of the risk of firefighting can be reduced." That is - they work. In 2002, former USFS Fire Director Jerry Williams fully supported that assertion. ‘The Ten Standard Firefighting Orders must be firm rules of engagement.’ Ongoing efforts to discredit the Ten Standard Fire Orders and the truth about the YH Fire; and detractors, glorifying the GMHS as heroes, while vilifying truth-tellers are addressed. Several probable resolutions to address these disputes, and promote realistic “complete” lessons learned to help reduce the number of inevitable wildfire fatalities due to any number of germane causal factors are examined, discussed, and proposed as probable solutions.


Consider now the Figure 1. idealized image (above) and the two photos (below) that follow to better understand what led up to the magnitude of the extreme fire behavior that afternoon. First off, wildfires, even though considered an inanimate phenomenon, often act as if they are alive. And they always signal their intentions and build up to this point. In other words, they don't just "explode" or "blow up" like you see in the movies or read about in the newspapers and periodicals based on carefully and coyly crafted Agency-provided "talking points" from their respective Public Disinformation Officers (PDO) attempting to "manage the information."

Consider now the images and photos revealed in these figures. Figure 1. (above) is from a well-researched and well-written in-depth research paper worth reading on fluid dynamics and buoyancy depicting an extreme fire behavior idealized image of the type witnessed on the YH Fire on June 30, 2013. Figure 2. (below, left) further reveals what type of aggressive to extreme fire behavior occurred the afternoon of June 30, 2013, as the result of a probable rogue, ad-hoc firing operation in the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor areas. Figure 3a. (below, right) depicts the extreme Horizontal Roll Vortices (HRV) fire behavior on the Bass River Fire on July 22, 1977, in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. The four FFs (RiP) seen in this photo were from the local Eagleswood Volunteer Fire Department and they all died as a result of the extreme HRV fire behavior. Interestingly, the WLF LLC video points out that this was the same area "where five FFs were killed while fighting a forest fire in 1936." Source: Bass River Fire Entrapment Fatalities (1977) (

Therefore, it is both interesting and somewhat predictable that this would be history repeating itself for several reasons. First, Watch Out #4 readily comes to mind, i.e. "Unfamiliar with weather and local factors influencing fire behavior." Second, we have what is known as "Incomplete Lessons Learned" based on Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disaster author and researcher Dianne Vaughn's research and conclusions. This local fire behavior should have been - and would have been - their own turf, their own piece of ground, and should have been discussed in their annual refreshers and seasonal training. However, typically, many of the wildland fire tragedies are the result of failure to learn from our historical mistakes.

Figure 2. (left) IMG_1334.JPG photo. View looking westerly from the Yarnell, AZ as the ASF photographer was traveling NORTH on Highway 89, north of the Ranch House restaurant (the building on left is the Assembly of God church) on June 30, 2013, at (16:29:39) 4:29:39 PM. Revealing very aggressive fire behavior and associated smoke column (plume) advancing toward the Helms / Boulder Springs Ranch (BSR) area. Source: ASF Brian Lauber.

Figure 3. Intense fire behavior on June 30, 2013, unknown time, on the YH Fire. Source: Pacific Biodiversity Institute in their referenced paper and more than likely from a local news source

Figure 3a. (left) Bass River Fire July 22, 1977; New Jersey Pine Barrens. Eagleswood Volunteer Fire Department Four Fatalities (the FFs in this photograph all died as a result of the extreme HRV fire behavior in the photo) Figure 3b. (right) Snippet from video indicating "crown streets" as a result of the HRV fire activity with the rolling fire leaving these signatures behind. Source: NIFC Training Library Archive and WFLLC Incident Reviews - Bass Fire Entrapment Fatalities (1977)

1. Introduction

Wildland Fire Fighters (WF) continually evaluate wildland fires in terms of fuels, weather, topography, fire behavior, and human factors. Researchers from the states of Arizona, Illinois, North Carolina, Washington, and elsewhere respectively (un)knowingly acknowledged the complexity of the "Old School" very effective Doug Campbell (RiP) Campbell Prediction System (CPS) and its concept and principles of the Alignment of Forces. They accurately countered the ulterior-motive-motivated, dishonest SAIT-SAIR and honestly concluded: “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.” [1, 2]. It is unknown whether the SAIT - individually or collectively - was even aware of the July 2013 research and analysis by Peter Morrison and George Wooten, titled: "Analysis and Comments on the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona and the Current Fire Situation in the United States." Pacific Biodiversity Institute. Winthrop, WA (2013). Either way, it was unfortunately intentionally absent in the SAIR for the sake of any worthwhile "complete lessons learned."

"Fire environment is not static, but varies widely in horizontal and vertical space, and in time. The fire environment components and many of their factors are closely interrelated. Thus, the current state of one factor depends on the state of the other factors. Also, a change in one factor can start a chain of reactions that can affect the other factors."
Clive M. Countryman (1968) has had more than 20 years' experience in forest fire research. He joined the U.S. Forestervice in 1939, and is now headquartered at the Pacific Southwest Station's forest fire laboratory, Riverside, Calif., where he is responsible for studies on fire behavior and fire environment. He received his bachelor of science degree in forestry from the University of Washington (1939)

The terrain, covered with a dense carpet of volatile grass from prior wet years; then a prolonged, critical drought, hit by forceful Summer outflows, and gust fronts, adversely affected fire behavior. Weather researchers Kaplan et al's instructive, in-depth paper noted: “The YHF fire front motion shifted from east-northeastward to southeastward to southward and, finally, southwest-ward over a brief period during the late afternoon of 30 June”[2]. Cliff Mass, a Univ. of WA Atmospheric Sciences professor, on his July 2, 2013, Cliff Mass Weather Blog, expertly qualified that the June 30, 2013, meteorology upset him the more he dug into it [3]. “You can see why I find this disaster so unsettling. Hours before the incident it was clear there was a real threat...satellite and radar showed developing convection to the north that was moving south towards the fire.” He at once questioned whether there were meteorologists. “This terrible tragedy needs to be reviewed carefully. … A number of media outlets called the strong winds unpredictable and random. This is [in]correct, as shown by the information I provided ...” [3]. This ensuing adverse fire weather yielded atypical extreme fire behavior according to several experienced, seasoned Air Operations personnel witnessing the Boulder Springs Ranch area that afternoon; described as “flowing like water,” rolling through the lower bowl, which was the GMHS deployment Zone (DZ), and through the upper bowl slope and through the ridgetop saddles with very aggressive horizontal roll vortices, such as those depicted in extreme fire behavior journals [4]. Extreme wildfire behavior at this stage should best be examined and debated in fluid dynamics, fluid mechanics, or buoyancy terms according to studied researchers and scientists familiar with the subject [5]. It's instructive that during the April 2016 GMHS Family Staff Ride, the USFS Air Attack (B-33) - a former highly experienced Hot Shot Superintendent, Fire Management Officer, and later Forest Fire Staff - stated that he had never in his two-plus decade's wildland fire career - witnessed fire behavior that extreme ever before. In addition, he has to live with the fact that he was the last one to talk with and listen to the GMHS before and while they were being burned over. It affected him in such a way that he asked his supervisors to be given another USFS position. He ended up at the Lessons Learned Center as the Center Manager.

Figure 4. YH Fire GMHS Deployment Zone and Fatality Site revealing the lower bowl, the upper bowl slope, and one of the ridgetop saddles. The media in the photo, attending the July 2013 news conference is gathering around a fenced area where the GMHS died after deploying their fire shelters on June 30, 2013. This area is also referenced in this post Source: InvestigativeMEDIA

Figure 5. (left) Figure. 5a. (right) NOAA GSL High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR). Red circle shows the fire site, with maximum wind speeds (knots). The model simulated the convection and winds it produced fairly well. Figure. 5. is the 2 PM indicating strong winds (red/purple colors) northeast of the fire. Figure 5a. indicates the 4 PM forecast, showing winds reaching the fire site. Source: Cliff Mass Blog YHF

1.1. Wildland Firefighting Rules and Guidelines Overview

The most common firefighter safety rules are the 10 Standard Firefighting Orders; 18 Situations That Shout Watch Out; (i.e. "10 & 18)"; Common Denominators of Fire Behavior on Tragedy Fires; Urban Interface Watch Out Situations; Downhill Fireline Construction Guidelines; Lookouts, Communications, Escape Routes, Safety Zones; Aircraft & Tactical Watch Outs; Rules of [Dis]Engagement; and Trigger Points to foster Entrapment Avoidance as stated by Williams [6]; listed in the NWCG Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG) [7].

Figure 6. IRPG Fire Orders and Watch Outs (Back Cover) Source: IRPG 2018

Co-author Collura, several years ago, coached several of her local six- and eight-year-old neighbor kids on the Ten Standard Fire Orders and 18 Watch Out Situations, and then those same young kids taught her how to memorize them, so there is no valid reason for whatever lame excuse you're using to avoid memorizing this instead of relying on your IRPG.

1.2. YH Fire and GMHS-Specific Intolerance of WF Rules-Guidelines Accounts

You will swiftly notice a clear, ongoing pattern of WFs, FFs - and even the non-wildfire general public - recognizing serious GMHS judgment errors, staying inquisitive regarding the Fire Orders and Watch Outs. Former Army infantryman Brian Mockenhaupt, accurately noted: “This was standard procedure, part of a basic safety system known as LCES. If you can establish and maintain this procedure, the theory goes, you should be able to avoid fatal entrapment. … The [GMHS] had walked … along a dirt road and … onto a rocky spur overlooking Yarnell. The obvious was still pushing hard into town. They … started down into a box canyon, heading for [BSR], their safety zone. With a steep slope on their left, they lost sight of the fire, breaking an important firefighting rule” [8]. The SAIT-SAIR also cites these decision errors and Fire Order violations [9] and yet they would disingenuously conclude that they: " ... found no indication of negligence, reckless actions, or violations of policy or protocol."

However, SAIT Team Leader Jim Karels dishonestly stated: “Our mission was to find out what happened and to discern the facts surrounding this tragedy to the best of our ability,” ... an official with the Florida Forest Service, said at a Saturday news conference in Prescott, according to the [AZ] Republic." Clearly, "the facts" were intentionally lacking from the SAIR!

On page 34 of the SAIT-SAIR - contradicting its own conclusion - it unambiguously points out these violations and states: "While they were descending the slope after about 1620, the GMHS likely knew or perceived the following: (1) The ridge, boulders, and brush sheltered them, so they could no longer see the fire, including its direction and rate of spread. (2) They lost the ability to feel or see wind changes. (3) They had a limited view of the smoke column, a lagging indicator of fire location and fire behavior" [9]. SAIT Co-Team Leader Dudley also picked up on these clear judgment errors and Fire Order breaches in the June 20, 2014, Yarnell Hill - Unified Fire Authority YouTube video overview of the GMHS actions: “As soon as you drop off that saddle, that prominent ridge that runs out along that box canyon blocks your view to the North-northeast and then before you even go part way down that slope you no longer have a view of anything except for the [BSR] until you drop down to the bottom of the canyon. Then you can’t even see the [BSR] [10]. Watch the Wants To Know The Truth’s (WTKTT) explanatory 'crossfade' ABC15 Helicopter Raw Video fire behavior footage and WF and FF locations; clip number 18 (taken at the YH Fire on June 30, 2013) and the equivalent 'Google Earth' imager for resource, fire location, and fire behavior in order to place everything into a better perspective ( [11]. Dudley noted: The [GMHS] team dropped into the box canyon, where their view to the north was cut off and hiked down to the [eventual] deployment site”[10]. The YH Fire rapidly became a potentially deadly fire as the day progressed based on forecast and noticeable, observed weather, and predicted and observed aggressive to exponentially extreme fire behavior [1]. The IMT had a meager grasp of this exponential fire growth and continued to remain "behind the proverbial power curve" for the remainder of their time on the fire. This critical exponential growth concept is the actual growth rate - as it is increasing at a greater and greater rate - constantly doubling in size in a set time cycle [12].

Considering the blatant contrary manner in which the 10 and 18 and human factors elements are addressed in the SAIT-SAIR - cognitive dissonance comes to mind. It is a state of tension that occurs when a person holds two ideas or beliefs that are psychologically inconsistent with each other. The SAIT-SAIR says they did everything right yet there are hundreds of WFs and FFs and citizens that intuitively believe and feel and know otherwise. And that is still producing ongoing immense mental distress issues for these YH Fire WFs, FFs, and citizens. It is troubling because “to hold two contradictory ideas is to flirt with absurdity” [13].

Mockenhaupt noted: “The Arizona State Forestry Division (ASF) commissioned an investigation team (SAIT) to determine what had gone wrong in Yarnell. ... After the other big wildfires that had killed multiple firefighters in the past century, survivors had been able to fill in crucial pieces of information about on-the-ground conversations and decision making. But the [GMHS] had died without any eyewitnesses” [8]. That is partially incorrect because the two hikers (Joy A. Collura and Sonny Tex Gilligan) witnessed and recorded the fire for the full June 28-30, 2013, weekend with cell phones, cameras, and videos/ And they discerned and heeded those warnings without the benefit of two-way radios and yet they made it safely to their vehicle in Yarnell up to 30-minutes before the GMHS were burned over [14]. Mockenhaupt accurately surmised: “As hard as they tried, however, the [ADOSH] inspectors were unable to answer the question that had stymied the first investigation team: Why had 19 skilled wildland firefighters left the safety of a burned-over area and hiked into a box canyon overgrown with dense vegetation …? [8]. And yet, ADOSH visited the GMHS DZ and Fatality Site with Collura and Gilligan compared to the lordly tunnel-visioned SAIT that never expressed any interest whatsoever to do so.

Figure 7. Bass River Fire July 22, 1977; New Jersey Pine Barrens. Eagleswood Volunteer Fire Department Four Fatalities (the FFs in this photograph all died as a result of the extreme HRV fire behavior in the photo) Source: NIFC Training Library Archive and WFLLC Incident Reviews - Bass Fire. ( )

PFD BC Willis during a 2011 South Canyon Fire Site Visit with “the [GMHS] had studied those fires and had even once walked the ground … where 14 firefighters had died in 1994, trying to understand what had happened from the firefighter's perspective. ... ‘We said we’re never going to let this happen to us, … It was kind of like a commitment: we can’t let this happen to us. I can just see another picture here. … ’2013. Yarnell Hill 19.’” PFD Willis admits: “’ … I relive it every day” [8]. The following PFD BC Willis statement is squarely within the confines of the PFD “Prescott Way” of doing things that likely guaranteed their fatal actions [8]. “Like many others … Willis has spent a lot of time asking himself why … ‘They wanted to reengage … Sure, they could sit up there in the black. But if they could try to get back in the game, they were going to. … do we just sit up here and watch it go by? They knew there was an evacuation going on, they knew there were people staying in their houses. So what would the public think? You’re not going to help us? Why did you even show up’” [8]? A fatal wildfires training poster: “How is your Situational Awareness? Similar terrain, extreme fire behavior, 34 lives” is a common display at most wildland fire resource bases nationally. Compare the sobering Figure 8. NWCG poster and the GMHS DZ and Fatality Site bowl Figure 8. photos (below). But they did let it happen! During an October 2013 YH Fire and GMHS Site Visit as part of the SW Area Hot Shots After-Action-Review (AAR) Integration Phase, one of the senior HS Supts stated: “This was the final, fatal link in a long chain of bad decisions with good outcomes, we saw this coming for years.” With about eight others in the group stating that they had been unsuccessful in their attempted peer pressure to evoke change in the GMHS attitude and behavior [15]. The nagging mystery is why? Or was this “just one of those things that happened, You can call it an accident … they picked the best possible place in this bowl to deploy shelters” times when Willis obsequiously blurts it out at the July 2013 GMHS Deployment Zone News Conference [16]. Crucial proof is still being lied about, impeding YH Fire-informed USFS WFs from legally being interviewed, so then, why were the several BLM employees allowed to be interviewed [14]?

Figure 8. “How is your Situational Awareness?” (MTDC-NWCG poster) (left) along with a YH Fire bowl 2014 "ground-level view of the deployment site. The deployment site fence and flagpole can be seen in the bowl" photo (right) (Richard McCrea, IAWF, and HN) for a proposed poster to be titled: “Yarnell Hill Fire, 19 deaths. Arizona 2013” as solemnly affirmed by "this will never happen to us" PFD Willis.

1.3. Friendly Fire. See Figure 2. (above) and YHFR website post: Schoeffler, F. (2020) “Credible evidence of June 30, 2013, "friendly fire" incidents in the Sesame / Shrine Corridor area?” [14, 17] Sound suggestive evidence exists that several local, independent WF-FF groups likely fired off the Sesame St. - Shrine corridor areas. And the GMHS short of complying with required LCES (e.g. - without communicating these actions, without a designated lookout, nor notifying Air Attack) hiked without pause, downhill toward the allegedly threatened BSR, to their deaths [14, 17]. NPS WF Weaver said: "Some in the [wildland fire] community believe WUI played a part in the death of the 19 [GMHS] on the [YHF], who were killed as they made their way to defend a home. … basically in their home unit' [18]. Watch Out #4 had to be shouting out to them after working the nearby Doce Fire with quasi-prophetic aggressive fire behavior a week before, but the SAIT-SAIR is vocal about a planned-for and silent about the executed Sesame-Shrine Area Corridor firing operation [9]. However, GMHS Andrew Ashcraft’s mother firmly believes it was a “back burn” - slang for a burn out operation (“I really think there was a back burn set possibly by the trailers [likely in the Sesame and Shrine Corridor areas])” [19].

Figure 9. (left) Snippet from April 1980 “Preliminary Report of Task Force on Study of Fatal / Near-Fatal Fire Accidents.” Note that Fire Order 4 only covers Escape Routes; No mention of

Safety Zones. WF Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR) Blowup to Burnover

Figure 10. Google Earth vertical profile of YH Fire Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor upslope virtual slingshot funneling winds and fire behavior aligned from right to left, NE↔SW, directly into the GMHS deployment site. (Not to scale) Juxtapose with Figure 11a. (below) for better clarity.

Figure 11. (left) B. Lauber, WTKTT, Google Earth photo - intense fire behavior June 30, 2013 (1629 hrs.) from Assembly of God church along Hwy. 89 with Google Earth overlay - GMHS location, GMHS-descent point, GMHS deployment / fatality site (DZ) and Helms (BSR) (11a.) (upper right) Google Earth, Collura. Enhanced Google Earth snippet image using Paint, aligned northwest, Sesame - Shrine Corridor leading to parallel twin chutes funneling upslope to GMHS DZ. (11b.) (right) Mary Nguyen Channel 12 News photo - very intense, aggressive fire behavior June 30, 2013 (1631 hrs.) along Hwy. 89. The GMHS hiked directly down into this furiously running upslope fire.

2. Schemed efforts to discredit the Wildland Firefighting Rules and Guidelines - Complicit Wildland Fire LLC and NWCG

Author and alleged former Hot Shot Kyle Dickman exposes a lot: “In January 2014, 11 veteran firefighters from the nation’s biggest fire agencies—the vanguard of fire, as they were described to me—met in Yarnell. They hiked along the route the hotshots had likely taken from the ridge into the canyon where the 19 died seven months earlier. They arrived at a startling conclusion. ‘We could see ourselves making the same decision they’d made, said Travis Dotson, a member of the WFLLC, a federally funded organization that helps [WFs and FFs] improve their performance [20]. Around the time of the field trip, Dotson and others formed an underground group called Honor the Fallen. Included in its couple dozen members were some of the highest-ranking firefighters from the various agencies in the wildland fire business: the [USFS, BLM, and NPS]. Their goal was to make sure [the YH Fire], the most publicized event in wildland firefighting history, forced some much-needed changes to the job’s outdated culture. They tried to spark “an age of enlightenment.” (emphasis added) Said Dotson: “Before Yarnell, it was about getting better at fighting fire. After, it’s been about getting better at accepting death.” And this: “They were trying to save lives,” [so-called and self-proclaimed SAIT Lead Investigator] Mayhew says: “They knew people were threatened down there. [And it] must have weighed on them” [20]. Former PFD FF McCarty lock-step with the “Prescott Way” drivel; “I can see why those guys would have gone there to try to get to the ranch house, if that’s what they were doing, to try to make a difference” [21]. Carswell, a non-WF or FF, intuitively also casts doubt on the SAIT-SAIR: “One of the most haunting questions of the [SAIT] commissioned by the [AZSF], … is why they moved. But it will remain forever unanswered. … it is very cautiously worded, drawing no strong conclusions about what should have been done differently. … no one will ever know for sure, the report speculated that the hotshots left the safe zone to ‘re-engage’ -- to try to protect houses in the fire's path” [22]. It appears that Groupthink is extolled there to support the SAIT-SAIR! Carping here on the randomly insipid, yet powerful National Wildfire Coordinating Group, this retired WF accurately stated: “For better or worse, NWCG has taken the position that the 10 Standard Fire Orders are now to be considered guidelines and not absolute orders. … No explanation … why rules that have been in place for 50 years are suddenly guidelines” [23]. This is consistent with the ongoing coordinated movement to discredit the validity of the 10 & 18.

In this Fire Management Today, 70 (2010) article titled: The 10 Standard Firefighting Orders and 18 Watch Out Situations: We Don’t Bend Them, We Don’t Break Them We Don't Know Them. by Former USFS Prineville Hot Shot Foreman Bryan Scholz. And then, because Scholz had the audacity to bravely criticize the Fire Orders, it was dutifully countered by former National USFS Health and Safety Officer Larry Sutton in the same issue titled: From Another Perspective—The 10s, 18s, and Fire Doctrine.

Figure 12. Three Snippets of former National USFS Health and Safety Officer Larry Sutton in the same issue titled: From Another Perspective—The 10s, 18s, and Fire Doctrine article. Source: FMT


Lessons From Thirtymile: Transition Fires And Fire Orders - Jerry Williams. Colorado Fire Camp. This article clearly agrees with the tried-and-true Ten Standard Fire Orders and Entrapment Avoidance practice. (

2.1 Honor the Fallen Underground Group, Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center (LLC), and YouTube Video

The video caption disingenuously states: “This video was captured on site of the Yarnell Hill Fire in January 2014. The participants spent the day walking the ground and discussing the challenges facing the wildland fire service as a whole.” On the contrary, this is a specious statement that it is from “the wildland fire service as a whole[24]. According to author Kyle Dickamn, it is from an unofficial “underground group” which suggests secret societies, subversions, and clandestine organizations. USFS Apprenticeship Academy Program Manager Heath Cota stated: “And the truth is that we try to put it into these little boxes and these rules of the 10 and 18s that cannot ... they're not going to keep us safe. It's been proven time and time again. We can't follow our own rule ... you know, these rules, whatever they are ... this environment is way too complex. Ah, we're really lucky we do a good job at it. And I think that to me, the luck, the whole luck decision conversation, how often is it luck? … The gravity of walking down that [is] where it hit me like a ton of bricks … Looking down, seeing how close it looks, … how far it is. Scurrying through that is where it hit home for me. ... we can all see the path of the friction, the uncertainty, the fluidity in the environment, and how it just shapes it … where [it] is absolutely feasible and possible. Like … at that time. It was good until it wasn’t” [24]. This is a most dangerous group! And the fact that this is coming from the (at the time) USFS Apprenticeship Academy Program Manager that leads those that train new, incoming future permanent USFS employees makes it even more dangerous in the minds of those of us that practice the successful "Old School" endorsed Entrapment Avoidance.

2.2 WLF LLC Kelly Woods and USFS PNF (R5) WF Eric Apland Podcast

In their "official" “Reading, Reflecting, and Changing Behavior” September 10, 2021, podcast (link provided) by the WLF LLC Center Manager Kelly Woods and the Plumas NF Graduate Degree WF Erik Apland talk about Apland's WLF LLC Incident Review Database task to read all of their archived entrapment reports. Woods in a calculated condescending question asks Apland: "focusing on this, this huge deep dive you've done in these kinds of events ...." Deep dive? Really? Regarding his expected and presumed neutral, objective research, he instead provided a very narrow-minded insight on those hundreds of investigative reports to match the YH Fire SAIT-SAIR conclusion of no wrongdoing when stating his own conclusions and findings. Moreover, it is rather significant and telling that he totally dodged the subject of the 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire (AZ) and yet had plenty to say about the 1949 Mann Gulch Fire (MT), the 1964 Sundance Fire (ID), the 1979 Ship Island Fire (ID) the 1985 Lake Mountain and Butte Fires (ID), the 1994 South Canyon Fire (CO), the 2002 Price Canyon Fire (UT), the 2016 Pagami Creek Fire (MN) and then this is what he had to say about the historic 1933 Griffith Park Fire: "There's been things like I've heard of Griffith Park, right, that's it, that's about it. I'd heard it, it, that it had happened but I didn't know really anything about it at all, and there are fires in there that I didn't even know that happened never heard their name before you know pretty major fires, ..." One of my favorites in the podcast (35:17) was this use of a fire shelter: "... if you can improve your conditions, and, you know, prevent some sunburns, or get better air ..." Prevent some sunburns? Are you friggin kidding me? Sunburns! You really can't make this s**t up!

And ever-so-expectedly, there is absolutely no mention in this podcast of the world-renowned June 2013 YH Fire or the GMHS debacle or how effective the tried-and-true Ten Standard Fire Orders and the 18 Watch Out Situations (10 & 18) are toward the goal of Entrapment Avoidance [24]. Once again, the fact that they obviously completely avoided mentioning even once, the most tragic wildfire in modern history is rather significant and disturbing and fully supports our contention that the WLF LLC has clearly lost its ethically objective compass; misusing our Federal tax dollars, and straying far from its mandated roots: "the LLC operates as a national, interagency, federally-funded organization with interagency staffing. The LLC’s primary goal continues to be striving to improve safe work performance and organizational learning for all wildland firefighters." Remember that statements like this one fall squarely within the famous "Three Big Lies" category, i.e. "Trust us, we work for the Government and we're here to help you."

Figure 13. Snippet of Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center Mission Statement. Source: WLFLLC

Consider now the "official" explanation of their ulterior motivated podcast:

"Kelly Woods talks with Erik Apland about his assignment to read all of the entrapment reports housed in the LLC Incident Review Database. Erik provides perspective on the evolution of reports spanning over a century. He highlights how old reports contain modern topics and he also provides some unique thoughts on PPE. In addition, Erik discusses how reading the reports has changed him and will affect his future actions."

Apland most definitely provided some unique thoughts on PPE to "prevent sunburns." In addition, he discussed how reading the reports has changed him and will affect his future actions of toeing the Party Line and drinking the Kool-Aid.


And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Ephesians 5:11-13 (NKHV)


Their WLF LLC podcast is painfully about one and one-half hours long and only allows you to comment by Google Play with another verbal podcast. In other words, you are prohibited from posting a written comment. What BS!. The author emailed them a copy of this Otter Transcript to post for those that would rather read what they discussed. They obviously never posted it. You'll be able to decipher who is speaking fairly easily. Please consider below my written Otter Transcription, which is the product of a FREE very cool tool with about 95% accuracy - spelling, punctuation, and grammar. It's funny that PPE continually came out as "pee pee" and it is edited for the Snowflakes as well as Fire names, etc. to improve readability.


The two speakers are WLFLLC Kelly Woods and USFS Plumas NF Erik Apland - Reading, Reflecting and Changing Behavior podcast (9-16-21) Unknown 0:00 reading all of these and really diving into them is, for me, I think what it took to pass from kind of the, well that's interesting to. This is something that deeply connects with me enough to change my behavior. And that's a hard thing to get to. Unknown 0:22 This is the wildfire lessons podcast. Our goal is to promote learning by revealing the complexity and risk in the wildland fire environment. We share the lessons, the learning that follows is up to you. Hi, I'm Kelly Woods director of the wildland fire Lessons Learned center on today's podcast I sit down with Eric Applan to visit about his analysis of being traveling reports posted in our wildland fire Lessons Learned center incident review database throughout the podcast, you'll hear Eric mentioned multiple reports, some of which you may have read and others of which may be new to you. Either way, Eric has read them all and offers some unique conclusions lessons in perspective. My advice, as you listen, is to take note of some of the incidents, so you can look them up in our incident review database for further study to find our IR dB, visit our website wildfire lessons dot net. Let's listen to my chat with Eric and see if there are any surprises for you in the conversation Unknown 1:28 here. Okay, thanks for joining us today to talk a little bit about what you've been doing, what kind of research, what kind of deep dive into our Incident Review Database, and some of the cool stuff you've been finding so appreciate you being here. Why don't we start with you telling us who you are and how you got here. Yeah, great. Unknown 1:48 Hey Kelly. Yeah, it's really nice to be here, be able to talk about this. My name is Eric apple and I started my fire career and in 2005 at Lassen National Park up in Northern California and kind of as a temp wandered around the West a little bit, until I came back to California and a few mouth 10 years ago, I guess at this point and now on a permanent TEALS tack on the Plumas National Forest up in in Northern California, but this summer I've been a Field Operations Specialist detailed to the lessons learned center and this looking into these entrapment reports that we have housed on our incident review database has been kind of a project I've been working on for majority of the summer so far, Unknown 2:31 it's been awesome to have you we've loved having you on our, on our staff and getting your perspective. And this project has been pretty cool and really it just, you know, the, the assignment was to go through our incident review database, and look at all of the entrapments that we have on there, any reports that we have that are tagged with entrapments or as entrapments, so that means starting the incidents you looked at I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, start at about 1910 and go through, you know 2020 All of those, those things and so you're sitting in this really cool, unique position where you've read those reports, all in this, you know 120 Day detail, and it's been so fun to listen to you talk about some of your findings, and some of the things you've seen, so it just made sense. Let's sit down and let's do a podcast, let's have some fun. Let's pull some of the details out and, You know, talk about some events that maybe we don't even aren't at all on our radar is it community because they happened so long ago but might have some really valuable lesson so I appreciate you, I mean, that simple assignment go through the IMDB, and look at entrapments you've taken it and just run with it and it's been so awesome, so I'm excited to to have you share some of what you learned so let's go to dive in, what are some of the things you found. So like Unknown 4:05 you said, it starts the database the first entrapment that's, that's mentioned on there as 1910 was there great Idaho fire blow up. And then from there it's, it's very sparse until you get into the 1960s and then it really picks up in the seven days and it's kind of exponential. From then, but there's a few things that seem to come out of it, for me anyway and they're interesting because some of them are very sort of detailed sort of small, day to day type of issues and then some of them are much, much larger. So one of them that really came out for me was the evolution of our personal protective equipment and how that started. You know where people were basically wearing what loggers were at that at that time, right 1910 Especially Filson kind of stuff and whatever if they could afford. Yeah. And then so there's so there's that piece of it right and then of course the fire shelter as a part of that. That came later. Then there's things like the issues that that would come up in these reports, usually starting more around the 60s, and 70s that are still issues now or are things that we seem to have finally started to address, even in the 15 years of my career, the last 15 years, there's how these reports have changed and how variable they are, because I think there's a kind of an assumption that the older reports are a certain way the newer reports are a different way. Right, but that's not actually really true, they're kind of a really, I think depending on who was writing it and what their directives were and, and there are some old older reports from the 60s and 70s that that say some things that are really surprising that are said in different terminology than we would use now, but are definitely things that, that we could say now, and have the same sort of sensitivity to things like mental health and personal well being that kind of stuff that, that we kind of talk a lot more about now and I think aren't we don't think about being in seven days. So there's, there's just a wide variety of different things that come up and it's been really fascinating to see this, Unknown 6:13 let's kind of dive a little bit more into the reports initially I definitely want to talk about the PPE thing because I think that's something that's pretty fascinating, and, you know, looking at that evolution but I you know at the lessons learned center of course we're, we like to, to look at the reports we like to look at how the learning culture has grown and evolved in huge piece of that is how reports have evolved. So, dive in a little bit more. Give me some more details on like what you might have seen in, you know, early reports, whatever pick a decade. Up until, you know, like maybe what was going on in the 90s versus what we're seeing now give us. Yeah, talk about that a little bit. Unknown 6:56 Yeah, absolutely, starting with 1910. That first 50 years from 1910 to 1960 There are only 13 reports that are in there. Obviously there are many more entrapments than that in those 50 years, and those early ones are very factual there, but like I said, they're very variable, you really can't tell exactly what it's going to say, I mean what's fascinating about them to me is that there really are a pretty interesting window into what it looked like to fight fire in the first 50 years basically of since The Big Blow Up, and how, how different truly different it was then, versus even, even in the 60s and 70s and certainly now, Unknown 7:38 like in what ways, what Unknown 7:39 are some great, so, you know, the only organized type of crews that seemed to exist at that time were like the C's right the CCC program in the 1930s otherwise, it was kind of, you know ranchers would show up or they have some loggers that were nearby and they'd come over. Very little, sort of existing organization. And, you know, these were times when these land management agencies existed but they didn't really have much as far as an existing organization. And so, if you think about something like that, you know, we may have had at that time, different kinds of fire safety training where, you know, I think, don't go above a fire. Don't be downwind of a fire that sort of thing, or have a safe place that you can escape to. Those are those go back decades and decades, Unknown 8:27 those kinds of themes without calling it LCS are Unknown 8:31 yeah we're having 10 and 18 and that kind of thing. But, you know, if you're a logger or a rancher who lives nearby or whatever the case, you probably haven't had any of that kind of training you may think you know some things intuitively but that's probably the extent of it right. So, the some of the things that that happened, where we had I mean sort of shocking in a way, you know like the Griffith Park Fire right and I think it was 1933 down in LA County, yeah it was, I think one of the largest fatality fires in US history, at least, firefighters that after 1910 Probably. And, you know, largely because I think there wasn't really much of an organized firefighting force at that at that time. Unknown 9:13 It's fascinating to hear you bring up Griffith Park Fire, and, you know, how many people have studied that or looked at that or even know that that fire took place is kind of an interesting thing because it goes back into, you know, the several decades ago and I, that's pretty interesting that he can say it's got that many fatalities and, you know I'm this is my 30th tire season and I'm going home. Okay, I better look that one up, you know, you know. Unknown 9:42 Yeah, that was definitely been the case with me as well. There's been things like I've heard of Griffith Park, right, that's it, that's about it. I'd heard it, it, that it had happened but I didn't know really anything about it at all, and there are fires in there that I didn't even know that happened never heard their name before you know pretty major fires, but to get back to the report thing. So that was kind of the first part of the first 50 years, you know, it's sort of it's hit or miss. There's huge things that probably happen that are lost to history, unless somebody decided to write it down. And then there's kind of a period in the 60s and, and getting into the 70s when it's kind of hard to categorize it it's certainly not the. It's not the kind of rules focused sort of reports that came a little bit later. That stuff is in there, you know, a focus on once they had developed a 10 and 13 at the time. Once they had developed that, then there is reference to those things, but often there are some of these reports that really do look at, they wouldn't call it human factors but they talk about those types of things, and look at more sort of more deeply or try to question more deeply like why, why do these things keep happening and what can we do as an organization to, to change that, whether it's the Forest Service or a lot of stuff came out of the state of California during that time, but it doesn't really matter, you know, depending on the agency doesn't necessarily matter. There was kind of a focus on the sort of systemic change versus really rules-based stuff. Unknown 11:19 I'm curious Eric did you, you know, some of those things that started getting highlighted in reports are. Some of the things that we as a culture have found some resolution to are some, or some of those things that still linger today that we still grapple with how to address. Unknown 11:41 Right, yeah, yeah, no, definitely that so both right, I think. So there's the PP part right that that is very very slowly, is instituted, you know the bringing there's mentions of fire of flame resistant clothing right. And then, that those mentioned started in the 1960s. And you see it for 10 years. At the same with fire shelters, it starts in the 1960s and you see it for 10 years that maybe we would have had a different outcome here if, if these people had been carrying fire shelters but at the time they weren't required they may not have even had access to them at all, Right, but there's a lot of reference earlier than I would have thought about things like work to rest guidelines. I thought that was a newer kind of guideline than, than it is something that's been around for quite a while it's I think it's mentioned in the Butte Fire report, which was a fire in Idaho and in 1985. It's a believe it's mentioned in there but it's certainly mentioned around that time, and that continually comes up, the use of hospital liaisons, there was a fire in the State of California. In the early 1970s, which I believe is a first time it's mentioned that somebody. Yeah, it was really cool. Where they assigned a Battalion Chief to be at the hospital every day with a burn firefighter, be there for the family and be a liaison between the hospital and family it's really, it's really cool to see that. Unknown 13:07 Yeah, that's a lot earlier than I would have speculated that that kind of concept would be implemented addressed and implemented so I absolutely Unknown 13:15 and then as far as stuff that's brought up and then not fully addressed say there's a lot of that, the biggest one, I think the most surprising one for me was finding a reference in a report, and a fire called the Mac Two Fire which happened either right adjacent to the San Bernardino National Forest or on the Forest, I can't remember, but right up next to it down there in Southern California, in 1971, and they mentioned in the report in fact it's a pretty significant bulk of the report they mentioned how, at that time, the US Forest Service was in, particularly the Pacific Southwest Region California was having a hard time competing with county fire departments. And at that time the California Department of Forestry CDF, the competing for employees, because of their working conditions. The state of housing that the Forest Service could provide for people and pay that they were not competitive at that fascinating Unknown 14:20 1971 that's identified in a report and we certainly are still grappling with that, Unknown 14:28 right, it's a big one, right. Yeah, yeah, yeah, so that was, I was, I was shocked to see that and they really do delve into it in pretty great detail to this, to the extent that they even have photos comparing bunkhouses on the San Bernardino versus what the state had It's really amazing how they took it really seriously. Unknown 14:50 That's very, very interesting. Anything else with reports that. Unknown 14:55 Yeah. So the big thing that I think people talk about with these reports is that there was this period of time up until the early to mid 2000s And there was a lot of work done at that time with people who were very serious about developing, you know, sort of a safety culture right where that was not punitive, and before that, and obviously there's a reason why that happened and there are, there are things that were written in the 80s and 90s that are shocking to read, how Unknown 15:27 you mean from like a punitive standpoint, like, Unknown 15:30 yeah, like how judgmental I guess would be the word that I would use and it's, it's really, it's very common kind of calling people out, sometimes almost by name in very harsh terms, it's certainly not anything that you would see now, Unknown 15:53 you're focusing on one person was at fault for this whole thing rather than looking at the collective organization and how what happened and what can we learn from it really about assigning blame and moving on, kind of zero, Unknown 16:08 yeah exactly one that one that really comes to mind is the Ship Island fire, which was in Idaho and in 1979. It actually says in that in that report that. One of the problems they think is that cruise, that there was not retribution for crews that didn't produce line. And because the thought was, we can always catch on the next bridge so why bother. And I find that hard to believe that anybody actually thought that way. Unknown 16:37 Yeah, that sentence made it into a report, it's amazing Unknown 16:41 and in the same report, it says a little bit later on, that when the fire was first identified, I believe, certainly smokejumpers flew it. I believe the hell attack crew fluid as well and both of them separately, said they didn't believe the fire should be staffed at all. It's a very strange thing, it's almost like they it's almost like they didn't read their own report if it existed. It's so contradictory and all these different things, and then ultimately the firefighter who passed away on that fire you know they have criticism for him as well and it's like I said it's not, it's not the kind of thing that you would see now. And I think in that respect of, that's a good thing that the change that has come about. Unknown 17:23 Yeah. What are, what are your thoughts just like I said, you've just read all of these reports. In this short timeframe. So what are what are your thoughts on reports of, you know today or the last few years and, and how those look, and it seems to me there's more of a focus on a narrative, telling a story. You know, looking for opportunities to learn. What's your reaction to what the contents look like now and how we can apply them back to the community to learn. Unknown 17:56 So it's often the case that the, the newer reports, tend to be, in some cases longer, but it's because they look more seriously at things like human factors and so there was a fire in 2011, a Coal Canyon Fire in South Dakota, where a type six engine got burned over, and in that case, there is a long discussion of why there were actually two separate burn overs that were very close to each other. And there's a long discussion of why. In the one case, the people who were driving the type six engine decided to go forward, rather than back up, and then includes even photos of what it would have looked like, from their point of view, what it would have looked like out of the windshield versus the side mirror, and why they would have chosen to go forward, which ultimately ended in a pretty narrow draw, which is where the Attract with that burn over happened. And then on the same fire on the same road, there was a single firefighter who was standing in the road, when there was a sudden flare up. Right. And rather than move forward, away from that. He laid down in the rough. Right. And there was something similar that happened in the past, and when it happened in the past, it wasn't commented on, It was just this happened with no explanation as to why. Really anything it was just sort of left sort of an explicable, but in this case, in both the case of the engine and then the single firefighter on the road they really dug into why would you why would you do something that now, with hindsight and knowing the outcome. We think looks strange. And I think, I think that particular report puts it in very, very well, why it made sense to do what they did. Unknown 20:00 That's, that's pretty awesome because that's one of the things is getting. When we look at these reports we want to be able to suspend our hindsight bias right and look and think about what were they seen and what did they base their actions on instead of just judging and saying, Well, I would never do that. Because how can we ever know what we would do until we're faced with the same situation, seeing the same thing so yeah that's that's a pretty cool thing and it takes narrative right to get there, you can't, you can't just have bullet statements and say this and this and this, these are the facts of what happened. You need that narrative in there to tell the story to paint the picture so that the reader, it brings the reader, closer to the event to maybe even get an emotional connection to actually learn, and your emotional connection may still be, I would never do that, that's fine. Once you've at least thought about it, you've got more details. And if you find yourself in that scenario now you almost have at your own slide it's one from reading and studying, but you kind of have a slide and you think, Okay, I've thought about this before this is what I'm going to do or this is what not, what I'm going to do or this when I'm, you know, going to avoid doing so. So that's where that narrative is so important. So yeah, pretty cool. Unknown 21:26 Yeah, I totally agree. I think it's, it's critically important and I think that one thing that I've gotten out of this, of doing this project is that you really have to take seriously the idea that you're going into this, to learn why something happened to people who are basically in your exact shoes. Unknown 21:46 Yeah, professionals with a set of skills a set of experience on which to base their actions. Why did they have the outcome they had, right, Unknown 21:55 and whether, even if it looks even if things look strange. Now, because our maybe some of our practices are different, they were still, you know, in a, in a situation where they took, you know, the, the slides right like you said, they looked at their decision space and they made a decision, it's exactly the same as you would do now, and I think you have to, you do have to spend time with some of these, especially the longer, some of the longer ones because they're in, you know, vast majority of cases they're long for a reason and there's really good stuff in there. It just, you have to take it seriously to take the time to do it. Not that you have to read them all, but, but if you're going to, you know, try to learn and really derive, you know hopefully maybe change your behavior or train your crew or something like that and like really really dive into it and take it seriously. Unknown 22:53 Well I think that's the you know the, the notion of honor through learning, right, we honor all of the members of our community who've, you know, had bad or good outcomes, whatever, you know, by learning from them, studying and yeah I definitely appreciate that, you know, you mentioned the Ship Island fire from salmon shells National Forest, 1979, and I want to talk about that a little bit because I want to kind of launch into some of your findings about PPE and you know as I, as I recall from that fire firefighter, Kyle Puttee, you know, lost his life on that fire, getting in his fire shelter, without gloves, he had given his gloves away to somebody got into the shelter and then couldn't hold down the shelter, because it got so hot, and he didn't have his gloves. So that just, you know that fire has always really resonated with me I you know I remember my own little sketchy scenario in Nevada, quite some time ago but you know flying in the helicopter. We were going to see if we could take some action on, you know this big fire outside Battle Mountain, and jump out of the helicopter there were four of us from our crew, take off our flight helmet Shover flight gloves, in the, you know with our helmets, put them in the ship pilot takes off. Now we turn and we're, we were ready to see what we can do to engage, you know, start doing implementing our plan. We did have a plan when we got on the ground but the fire behavior changed so quickly. And we had to basically you know it's kind of started coming out as from a couple of sides and in the four of us had to make the decision. We just got to find a spot that we can pop through this, just run through the fire, get into the black is kind of where we were. But I remember in my head Ship Island fire I mean I distinctively remember that I did not have my gloves on because I was in a hurry, you know I just threw my hard hat on through, you know, toss that stuff in the aircraft and started to go my gloves were in my pack because I was a repeller and we didn't have our gloves outside, because we need if we were going to repel, we didn't want our clothes hanging out right. So, my gloves are in my pack and I remember as the four of us were looking for an opportunity to maybe find a break in the flames or smell, you know, I remember thinking, oh my gosh, I don't have my gloves if I end up needing to get into my shelter. This is not going to be good, so it's so resonated with me that that story always did, and here I find myself in that situation, right. So, so talk a little bit about PP, you know, gloves, fire resistant clothing, and of course, shelters, what, what are some of the things you pulled from the reports related to that. Unknown 26:04 Yeah, there's so much in there. I think actually something that, having read all of these right and and seeing this, this evolution from, from just kind of thick cotton clothing to flame resistant clothing. First, just the shirt, then shirt and pants. And then throughout the decades, especially when often in these in these reports there will be an analysis of PP especially starting maybe in the 1990s. And so and it will look at how did it do, right, for further development and seeing that really made me think, in a new way, which I was kind of surprised that I had never thought about this before, but what RPP is actually supposed to do, and what it's capable of and what it's not capable of, And that kind of led me to a really, really great video, that's on YouTube of a, he's a fire, or was I don't know if he's retired or what but he was a fire captain with LA County. His name is David Leary, and he does a, it's a presentation and he's giving to a rookie class, where he talks about falling through a roof on a warehouse fire, and he says, the reason why he's here, is because he was wearing, everything. And the only thing he has all of his peepee that he was wearing, lay down on the table. And he said, visit this is what the Department issued me I was wearing, all of it. And he said at all of this, all this stuff all it did was buy me some time at it. And I never had thought about it like that before. And, you know his big point was, he was walking on a roof, and all of a sudden, he had fallen almost 20 feet into a burning building. It happened instantaneously. And so whatever. Whatever he was wearing the moment he fell through the roof is all he was ever going to be wearing but didn't Unknown 28:08 didn't have time to put a shroud on, get his gloves on it, that was, yeah. Unknown 28:14 And I think that's one of the surprising things for me that has come out of doing this just personally is that I've always definitely been someone who would have the gloves clipped to the pack, and with the thought that I could just throw them on when I had when they, if it ever got hot or something like yeah I had mine inside my right yep check that box. Yeah. But in reality, that's just not true. When fire reaches you, or heat or whatever it is, but what you're wearing is what you're probably going to be wearing, you're probably not going to have, there are cases of course where people have some time, and sort of watch the fire come but. But in, I would say the majority of cases it's whatever you've got on his way, is all that's all you're ever going to have on, and it's not going to get better. So, so that's so that's that part of it sort of the flame resistant clothing the gloves. The fire shelters is a, is a really fascinating Unknown 29:14 topic we could probably do a whole podcast just on that Unknown 29:17 multiple probably, but one thing that I just looked this up to get a real number, And of course, these, these reports aren't aren't comprehensive to everything that happened, but Unknown 29:29 I think that's an important thing too for us to always remember in this processes. These are the reports we have, you know somebody took the time to study it to draft it to submit it to lessons learned. That's what the IR DB is so it's not inclusive of every single activity or event or incident that's happened over time. Unknown 29:50 No, no, not by any means. I mean I remember meeting someone my first fire season who showed me some scarring on his on his wrists from being in an entrapment, with a fire shelter and I, I've never found that in the database, I don't know where it was, when really it's interesting so I. But in looking, I look this up this number. And just in the period of 19 1985 through 1989 And really, there were about 600 fire shelters that will deploy, which is half of the total, what's it and it's it's fascinating because they got to such a huge number because it during that time there were these mass sheltered deployments of dozens of people whole divisions in some cases yeah Unknown 30:34 Butte fire. Yeah, Unknown 30:35 the Butte Fire in 85 same lake, Lake Mountain Fire both on the Salmon in 1985, there were several 1988 was actually the had the most shelters deployed there was a layout entire division 107 people got into fire shelters up in Montana. Just, you know, shocking. And what, what came out of that for me anyway is that they, they really really worked. And, and, especially those that Butte and like mountain fire, those are, in many cases, I'm sure not across every different location that people were at, but in many cases, they certainly saved people from being injured, but I'm sure there would have been, you know many fatalities as well. And as it as it is, you know, in the report at least according to the report, there really weren't any burn related injuries associated with the Butte Fire in particular or I believe Lake Mountain Fire too, which is, which is pretty incredible. Yeah, so to get back to, to kind of fire shelters and you know how they, how they kind of came about through the lens of these entrapment reports, and the first reference that I found was from a letter that the Chief of the Forest Service wrote after the Sundance Fire, which was in North Idaho in 1967, and is an entrapment of a dozer operator and what I believe at the time was called a sector boss but basically a division. And they were out, way, way ahead of the fire. Right. I mean, miles. But it so happened that that day the fire ran, something like 15 miles, very unexpected. And, and so they were caught and, and, at that time, fire shelters did exist, But the belief was that they were only really useful in very light fuels like grass and light brush, and so they were only issued to crews who were fighting fires in that kind of fuel, and so you didn't. This was a big timber fire up in north Idaho, so nobody, the cash didn't even have fire shelters to issue to them. And in the attached to this report is a letter from the Chief of the Forest Service that says, even if in this case, where they were, maybe it would not have helped them, they should at least have been given a chance to try to use it right, and that was in 1967, and it took 10 years of more entrapments and more fatalities, to finally get to a point where they became mandated across the board, which was in 1976. And then, so that was in 1976, all foresters firefighters at least we're required to wear a fire shelter, no matter who the fire belong to, so to speak, and then you'd have 10 years later, a little less than 10 years later, you have all of these huge entrapments you know, dozens and dozens of people. And what's fascinating about it is that immediately. In, in, I mean, as a rule in all of these reports, they say, what's happening is wrong. Unknown 33:46 The beginning of the shelter is also the beginning of the shelter stigma as soon Unknown 33:51 as people actually started to really use them. They really focused hard on trying to stigmatize using them I don't think that of course they would put it in those terms. I'm sure that our, I believe they were worried that people were taking undue risk because they believe that they could because they had a fire shelter. But you know I think the result of that, I think it's pretty clear that there is this huge stigma around it that we've been dealing with since then some of the things that are said in these reports from the, from the mid and late 80s are again they're shocking you know the recommendation that there should be an 11th Fire Order saying that you can all, you should only use a fire shelter as a last resort. And so it's kind of an interesting question like, is, is a show is a fire shelter, a piece of PPE like Nomex, that, that you should use, if you think there's a possibility you might be burned or, or that the air is not going to be breathable, or, you know, really significant Ember fall or something like that. Should you just err on the side of caution and use it or should you treat it like a last resort. And I'm almost like I'm only going to use this thing to save my life and any other use of it is legitimate, which is kind of the way that those reports are written that if you weren't if it wasn't immediately life threatening, then you probably shouldn't have Unknown 35:17 have used, and it's interesting because if you can improve your conditions, and, you know, prevent some sunburns, or get better air, you know, to protect your lungs or if you can improve your conditions. It's like you put on a shrub to, you know, improve your conditions or you know you do these things but. But yeah, that if you pop a shelter you know that stigma, it's not about Well, I wanted to improve my conditions, you know, right, yeah it's it's really pretty fascinating, is it truly PPE. And if it is, then we need to change that narrative of last resort, it's like now I was improving my conditions so I deployed my shelter and not feel this justification well I didn't really think it was necessary I, you know, because obviously the danger in that last resort is, when do you cross the line from having plenty of time, and then it's last resort and now you've squandered your time, and can't get yourself a good spot to deploy your shelter you don't have time to do the things you need to do to get your shelter, a good seal a good location, all of that so yeah that narrative of last resort, lead you to that you know precious seconds, you know, last. Unknown 36:44 Yeah absolutely and, you know, something that I didn't know about really at all until I started reading these was how common it is for it to be necessary to remove one usually says one, but sometimes both gloves to get the fire shelter open, and it's something that I know that they have been working on for decades, and, and it is better, but it's, but it's still there. And, and so you can read about that going back to the, I think the first time I saw it referenced was in 1987 Yeah, they talked about there being at the at the entrapment site there being multiple of, like, right handed gloves, left, left in place because they couldn't, manipulate, opening the shelter, and that just carries on, and so like you said, if you're, if you're thinking, you know, okay, maybe I'll take it out of my pack, and I'll hold it. Or maybe I'll take it out of its case, and I'll hold it in this, that, that sort of soft plastic medicine. You may get to a point where if you're in the situation where you actually do have the time, right, where when you finally decide okay, it is, it is too hot, I need to use this thing, where all of a sudden now you realize you can't, you need to take your gloves off to open it and now, and now there's, you know, fire, wind and, yeah, exactly. Yeah, and all that stuff. Yeah, I think that, and it and it's, it's mentioned, more, you know, in the last say 10 years, that people's main trauma survivors say, We need to look at you like training on this as not being sort of this extreme last resort, kind of thing because you're kind of setting or you can be setting yourself up to, sort of, fail, Unknown 38:37 yeah. What I think that's a really interesting thing, what, you know, based on your readings, specifically with a focus on fire shelters. How would you change fire shelter training annually, I mean we're all supposed to do it and you know we wear gloves or we try and visualize you know some people have a fan going. Some people run up here, you know, all kinds of things, but based on an actual analysis of shelter deployments in our, in our business, how would you change the training, what would you recommend people do. Unknown 39:15 Yeah, I mean just, you know, going by the words of some of the survivors that are that are interviewed in these reports, you know, well first of all, taking the taking the training seriously. I know that someone I work with on the plume is they, they would, when he was a smokejumper they used to. They used to try to do deployments behind the DC-3power up and, you know, at high wind right and they have really good ceiling and yeah very noisy right uncomfortable, and it gives you a sense of how difficult that might be. So, so there's, there's sort of that thing which people have talked about right using fans and that kind of thing. You know this is, this was brought up during actually a previous podcast on the bowl fire in Arizona. When do you get training. When do you talk about using a fire shelter as a, as a shield, traveling like moving with it. Yeah, there was a fire in 2002 where it's called the Price Canyon Fire in Utah, where a group of smoke jumpers, ended up being trapped and escaping or, you know, variety of different things but there was one fellow who used the fire shelter kind of as like a turtle shell we put his arms and legs through the straps and. And with that on his back, you know, facing away from, from the oncoming heat. He dug himself out an area to the point of shelter, and it, and it's a brilliant idea right and I didn't see that referenced anywhere else. So I think, probably, at least you know, in my experience, I don't think I ever got enough practice, is kind of the, you go to, you go to the refresher, you go out on the lawn, and you're good for the year. Right, yeah. And I think that's especially true of militia, and maybe places with that don't have as high of a fire load as well. So it may be the case that there are, there are places you know like, like, behind the DC-3 right wherever where they do, where they do more intensive kinds of training but, you know, anybody could find themselves in that situation and. And so I think, doing, doing a variety of different, not just different sort of environmental conditions but also what the goal is, right, because to me in my in my sort of mental model, the goal is escape, until a point where I realize I can't escape anymore, find a good place and then deploy it in that, you know that that prone position, wearing all my PPE right there are many many deployments that don't look like that, that were successful in some way, you know, prevented injury or, or whatever. So, I think, really training on that more in different ways, in ways that look different, would be potentially very helpful. Unknown 42:07 Yeah, and maybe, you know just increased dialogue if you're facilitating the training, increased dialogue. You know what, what is in the realm of possibility or what are some considerations and, as you say, listening to those survivor stories you know our last podcast that mud fire. You heard the story from, from Chris Fry you know, off the Angeles of what it was like for him and that decision making and one time, you know when things, the time were just closing and you gotta, you got to take care of it or you know the the South Canyon video that WFSTAR put out several years ago, listening to Tony Petrelli and Mike Cooper those jumpers that deployed they're really taking those words, and, and thinking about them facilitating a really good discussion rather than like you said, Yeah, popping your shelter in the in the grass and going. Cool, I'm, I'm done for the year check that box and I'm moving on, give me my red card. Unknown 43:10 Yeah, shake. Shaking it somebody outside shaking it. Yeah, because Unknown 43:13 the more we can have considered these things like wow, what would I do, given that scenario, the more we will be ready to make good decisions, critical thinking, you know, when we find ourselves in a decision in a, in a space that we never thought we'd be in because nobody ever thinks Yeah, I'll probably deploy at some point, you know, nobody thinks that right we'll think it's never going to be me, never going to be me, but, but really thinking about it and studying and so it's cool that you've, you know, mind through all of this and come to some good conclusions. Yeah, Unknown 43:51 and I think that how I looked at fire shelters and what I believed about entrapment has changed, you know, just in the past couple of months from doing that so I again my sort of mental model of what an entrapment and shelter deployment look like was the South Canyon Fire, and that happens, right, that happens with some frequency and often those are, those kinds of fires, those kinds of entrapments are the ones that have a lot of people associated with them right. But the majority of instances of entrapment, don't actually look like that really, they're more like, as a very sudden increase in fire intensity or a very very sudden change in direction, that then you know oftentimes just immediately falls away again. And in that case, you may or may not have a chance to even get the fire shelter out but, but those are those are entrapments as well. And that's not something that I really ever thought about at all. And I think that's where the sort of thinking of the fire shelter as something that could potentially be a shield, you know, could be, could be very useful and being ready I guess in your mind, to not have to try to eliminate any stigma, you might have to, like, what does it mean that I'm that I have to get my shelter either I'm crossing a line I'm stepping just immediately going forward, the same way that you would, you know, raise your hand to your face to protect your face from heat right, same thing. And those, those there are there are cases of those types of things happen. Unknown 45:41 Yeah, so one thing I'm curious about Eric is, you know you've gone through all of this, this work and I know it was sort of, I mean it was a lot of work, a lot of reading and study what is, You know, is there a report that stands out to you that people should get into the IRPG and check out now. And, and read and learn from. Is there something like that or what you know what, what would you tell people what did you learn that you think other people could learn. Unknown 46:12 Yeah that's a great question, Kelly. I think I would say that my number one answer would be. Look for your area. Look, so look for your state. So, because you can select out in the IRB, you can select out, you know, type of incidents so you can look for entrapment, and then you can put in your state, and just leave the rest blank and see what's there, see what's there. There's some states you're going to come up with a lot of a lot, right, because in my case like I found out that there, there were multiple entrapments directly an area that I work in now, and I was only marginally aware of a couple of them and completely unaware of several of them. Yeah, right, and so that that would be my first recommendation is, if it's an area that you're working in, especially if it's like your IA responsibility area. Be very behoove you to know what happened and what's the history. Yeah, but you know it's a sort of generally speaking, I would say, I really really thought that the Coal Canyon Fire so the 2011 in South Dakota. I really think that's a very good report, and really. It delves into so many different things that in the past had not been looked into, and really take seriously trying to figure out why the people who were involved, thought that they were making the best decision that they could. I think it's, I think that one's incredibly good. So if there's only one that would be that one. I also would highly recommend for Pagami Creek which is 2006 in Minnesota and that was one that involved, folks that were, I believe not primary firefighters that were obviously red carded and that but and they were clearing camp grounds in the Boundary Waters, you know, very major fire run happened, and they ended up having to deploy shelters, either in water deep water, cold deep water, or on the little sandbar, that is also a very good report and goes into a lot of different human factors and thought processes, not just among them. But what was going on back at camp as well as the planning process and sort of miscommunications or opportunities that could have been taken that weren't in the planning process at that one that was very good as well. Unknown 48:36 Awesome. Thanks Eric. Just in closing, I'm going to ask you, what is a personal lesson, you know, focusing on this, this huge deep dive you've done in these kinds of events. What's a personal lesson, what did you learn that you are going to immediately apply throughout the rest of your career. Unknown 49:01 I think I've been thinking about this and I think so. Again, you know, I have multiple answers so I have the. I'm going to come up with. What are the scenarios in which I need to be wearing gloves, not having attached to me, but actually have them on my hands, because I realized that I've been in a lot of situations where I should have been wearing them, and I wasn't right. That's one thing that's kind of a really easy, sort of takeaway right, but the, the big thing for me is that it took, reading this stuff, and spending hours and hours with all of this to get to a point where it actually did sort of have the emotional weight, that it would change behavior I believe I mean I haven't been on a fire since it started this so we'll see, I guess, but I do believe that that it will change my behavior, and it took time, but I, you know, there's some really hard things in some of these reports, and when you, when you read through those. In others, that was somebody, right, and, and I think like you said, you know, we, we need to, we honor these people by remembering and learning from them right, whether they were injured or or or passed away in the way of sort of reading all of these and really diving into them is, for me, I think what it took to pass from kind of the, well that's interesting to. This is something that deeply connects with me enough to change my behavior. And that's a hard thing to get to, I think. But that's where you're going to be able to make a difference in yourself, or with your crew, or whoever it is having, finding a way to make that connection, so that it is truly meaningful to you, and not just kind of an interesting part of history. Unknown 51:03 Yeah, thank you. Thank you so much, Eric Eflin for sitting down today, with, with me, and for taking on this, this project to really appreciate it. I gotta say Dude, the original assignment was go through and check tagging. He pretty much blew it out of the water. A plus. Unknown 51:28 Thanks to Eric for sharing his perspective. Keep in mind that this conversation only scratched the surface on the information that can be mined from studying incidents of the past. Also remember, it would be impossible to mention every entrapment incident that has occurred since 1910 In this one podcast, there's some amazing stories that you should check out if you never have such as the story of Zuni Hot Shot Chrissie Boone, who used your shroud to protect her Global's hands during her sheltered deployment on the Holloway fire in Oregon in 2012 or some of my favorite lessons can be found in the info li written about the Horse Park fire and treatment, which took place in Colorado in 2008. Those involved in this entrapment capture their story and share lessons that have immediate practical application for others. I hope this podcast has gotten you interested in visiting our website and Iyer db [IRPG?] to conduct your own study of our incident reports. Also, remember, we rely on you to send us your lessons. Thanks so much for listening. Thank You for listening to the wildfire lessons podcast. This transcript was generated by


3. Sesame Street - Shrine Fuel - Fire Break Corridor Firing Operations

At least twenty (20) people, including WFs, FFs, and the two YH Fire hikers watched a video in July 2013 at the Yarnell, AZ Library of a June 30, 2013, firing operation showing WFs or FFs wearing Nomex clothing using drip torches; this was also viewed by one other FF on YouTube before it abruptly vanished without a trace, like so much other YH Fire evidence. Former YFD Fire Chief Peter Andersen (RiP) verified: “we built an emergency escape route for Yarnell in case there was a burnout like this … in that area below [and West of] The Shrine, … they had dozers back … so that it would create a fire break, … ” [25]

Figure 14. Former Yarnell FD Fire Chief Peter Andersen (RiP) describes the Arizona Forestry Division's response to the Yarnell Hill Fire that killed 19 GMHS. Source: Dougherty, InvestigativeMEDIA

Eyewitness hiker Sonny Gilligan said of one area from a July 2013 video: ‘We identified it by the short rock wall that is seen just by walking a bit above the Shrine and just before the locked gates that were open due to the fire in the [area].’ A key firing operation occurred in this Sesame-Shrine Corridor areas and is mentioned in several other YHFR posts by these same authors from the video witnessed at the Yarnell Library before it disappeared.

If the Shrine rock wall video link below fails to play, then copy and paste the link below and use this link in the URL slot instead on your own: (

Figure 15. The Shrine Area - Yarnell, Arizona - (Waltraud) Rock Wall - Yarnell Hill Fire 2013 Source: Collura, YouTube

4. Conclusions

Wildfires are profoundly captive to external and internal forces. To be sure, it was impossible to do everything right, and yet 19 Prescott FD FFs die in one fell swoop on June 30, 2013. Haughty attorneys claim otherwise in public forums about the biggest cover-up, lie, and whitewash in wildland fire history telling us that "anything is possible." The plethora of the hikers’ evidence overwhelmingly disputed the SAIT-SAIR. Additionally, false contrived defensive claims thrive, this one by PFD FF Patrick McCarty: “Lessons from Yarnell continue to echo throughout the wildland [FF] community.” and also “The [YHF] remains part of an ongoing discussion on wildland firefighting safety” [21]. Authors and researchers Gleason and Robinson cautioned: “… failing to learn the lessons of the past dooms us to reliving those lessons, then we must either impress indelibly into the minds of firefighters the lessons of the South Canyon Fire or we will again experience its tragic outcome” [27]. They certainly called that one accurately. And one of our favorites, Student of Fire [28] commenter #19 Matt: “It is unforgivable that we allow sentiment and tradition [to] prevent us from learning anything from the human factors surrounding Yarnell because we continue to be blinkered and sentimental in our eagerness to ‘not speak ill’ of the dead. It is nothing short of astonishing that the official conclusion was that everybody involved in the YHF] did everything right - despite the incineration of the 19 hotshots by flames so hellish that granite boulders fractured. Covering up facts because they make us uncomfortable dishonors the dead, and ensures the same mistakes will be made in the future [28]. The utter danger to the public comes from contrived accounts by the SAIT et al that deem them and their dubious conclusions as above the law and beyond reproach. So then, wildfire fatalities will needlessly continue to occur from these same preventable causal factors!

5. Recommendations

(1) Create an AZ Wildland Incident Management Academy (AWIMA) course specifically for YHF and GMHS site visits or Staff Rides. The heartland of this epic tragedy is notably and purposely sterile about those falsely espoused “Lessons Learned.” (2) The truth is a good anchor point to begin to honor both the living and those fallen. (3) Stress that WFs and FFs are different than the military and have no acceptable losses. (4) Require the YH Fire USFS WFs, and untold other WFs, FFs, holding a lot of valid evidence about this epic, tragic wildfire inside, to come forward in order to release their internalized demons and “complete lessons” can be learned (5). Compel strict Ten Standard Firefighting Orders diligence and mitigation of any Watch Out Situations; (6) Require GMHS autopsy reports analyses in vital, annual RT-130 Critical Trainings: (7) Within the 2016 GMHS Family Staff Ride (2016) guide’s attempt to mollify and justify rash GMHS decisions and actions and fatal outcome, this dangerous 1930 essay should get serious reconsideration for removal as it cunningly attempts GMHS validation: “The Courage to Be,” (J.A. Lejeune): “If each man knows that all the officers and men in his division are animated with the same fiery zeal as he himself feels, unquenchable courage and unconquerable determination crush out fear, and death becomes preferable to defeat and dishonor” [29]. Why should we encourage WF s and FFs to commit suicide rather than accept being dishonored? And (8) “The most important step in becoming successful in anything is to first become interested in it." - Sir William Osler 1st Baronet, FRS FRCP

Acknowledgments. The authors wish to express their gratitude to Dr. Ted Putnam for his Human Factors insights; InvestigativeMEDIA; the two Yarnell Hill Fire Eyewitness Hikers; former USFS Hot Shot Supt. and National Training Coordinator Jim Cook for including this YHFR website as a YH Fire Staff Ride information source; those ordered into silence due to Agency ‘direction’ and ‘guidance.’ To those who lost family, friends, and loved ones, the authors think about those young men every single day and night, inspiring us to research and write toward reducing fatalities.

6. References

1. Morrison P.H. and Wooten, G.: Analysis and Comments on the [YH Fire] in [AZ] and the Current Fire Situation in the [US]. Pacific Biodiversity Inst., Winthrop, WA (2013)

2. Kaplan, M., James, C.N., Ising, J., Sinclair M.R., Lin, Y.L., Taylor, A., Riley, J., Karim, S.M.S., Wiles, J.: The Multi-Scale Dynamics Organizing a Favorable Environment for Convective Density Currents That Redirected the YH Fire. Climate, 9 (2021)

3. Mass, C.: The Yarnell Hill Fire: The Meteorological Origins. Cliff Mass Weather Blog ( (July 2, 2013)

4. Werth, P.: The Synthesis of Knowledge of Extreme Fire Behavior. Parts 1 & 2 PNW

5. Tieszen, S.R.: On the Fluid Mechanics of Fires. Sandia National Laboratories (2000)

6. Williams, J.: Next Steps in Wildland Fire Management (2002) Fire Management Today (FRAMES). 62, 4, Fall (2002)

7. NWCG: Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG). PMS 461, NFES 001077 (2018)

8. Mockenhaupt, B.: Fire on the Mountain. The Atlantic (2014)

9. Karels, J., Dudley, M.: Yarnell Hill Fire Serious Accident Invest. Team (SAIT): Yarnell Hill Fire Serious Accident Investigation Report (SAIR). 122 pp. (2013)

10. Peterson, F.: Co-Team Leader M. Dudley. Unified Fire Authority YouTube (2014)

11. WantsToKnowTheTruth. Several Cross-fade Google Earth overlays. YouTube ( (2015)

12. Dorner, D.: The Logic of Failure. Recognizing and Avoiding Error in Complex Situations. New York (2009)

13. Tavris, C. and Aronson, E.: Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) Pinter & Martin Ltd. London. 436 pp. (2007)

14. Sheff LLC: YH Fire Revelations ( (2018)

15. Schoeffler, F.J.: Human Factors Influenced the 30 June 2013 YH Fire Fatalities. CAWRT, RT-130 Refresher. PDF. 48 pp. (2016)

16. Dougherty, J.: GMHS Deployment Site News Conference. Yarnell, YouTube (2013)

17. Schoeffler, F., Honda, L., Collura, J.: Credible Evidence Continues to Surface Regarding a Likely "Friendly Fire" Incident Along the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor Area on June 30, 2013 (2019)

18. Wright, C.: The Real Toll of the West’s Battle with Fire. Gear Patrol LLC (2018)

19. Pfingston, D. and Harwood, D.: Our Investigation, Our Truth podcast (2018-2019)

20. Dickman, K: What We Learned from the Yarnell Hill Fire Deaths. Outside (2018)

21. Lingle, B. Friends, Family Remember the Granite Mountain 19 Seven Years After the Tragic Accident. Black Rifle Coffee Company. Coffee or Die (2020)

22. Carswell, C.: Why are the conclusions of the [YHF SAIR]? High Country News (2013)

23. Thuermer, A.M.: WyoFile Fire. Wildland Colleagues in Danger (2014)

24. Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center (LLC): - Honor the Fallen. YouTube (2014) Incident Reviews, Online (2018) Reading, Reflecting, and Changing Behavior (2021)

25. Dougherty, J.: Former Yarnell Hill Fire Chief Peter Andersen (RiP) Interview Oct. 8, 2013. YouTube ( ) (2013)

26. Collura, J: The Shrine Area - Yarnell, Arizona - (Waltraud) Rock Wall - Yarnell Hill Fire. YouTube ( (2019)

27. Close. K. Fire Behavior vs. Human Behavior. 8th Intl. Wildfire Safety Summit (2005)

28. Woodbridge, J.: Student of Fire. “On The Road: Yarnell” ( (only accessible on Facebook and may require “PHP installation for the MySQL extension which is required by WordPress”) (accessed 2021)

29. Dougherty, J.: Wildfire Expert Alleges [AZ] Forestry Division Covering Up Yarnell Hill Tragedy. New Times ( (2016)

30. Mark A. Finney, Jack D. Cohen, Jason M. Forthofer, Sara S. McAllister, Michael J. Gollner, Daniel J. Gorham, Kozo Saito, Nelson K. Akafuah, Brittany A. Adam, and Justin D. English. Edited by Robert E. Dickinson, (2015) Role of buoyant flame dynamics in wildfire spread. Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory, US Forest Service, Missoula, MT; Department of Fire Protection Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, MD; Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, Univ. of TX; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS-USA). 112 (


And now to address and answer the post title question: "How was it possible to do everything right and yet 19 Prescott Fire Dept. Firefighters died in one fell swoop on June 30, 2013?" Quite simply for several reasons. Up until the June 30, 2013, YH Fire and GMHS disaster, there has never been a case of a WF, FF, or certainly, an entire Crew that abided by the Ten Standard Fire Orders, LCES, the Downhill Checklist, the principles of the Common Denominators of Fire Behavior on Tragedy Fires while knowing, recognizing, and then mitigating the Watch Out Situations. Never!

Detractors and naysayers historically continue to claim that there are many. However, they are never able to provide the documentation. Former National USFS Health and Safety Officer Larry Sutton in his 2010 FMT article titled: From Another Perspective—The 10s, 18s, and Fire Doctrine disingenuously and fallaciously uses several specious examples of tree felling and vehicle accidents to support his weak argument.

On the other hand, mentioned elsewhere on other YHFR posts, former Lewis and Clark HS Supt. Matt Holmstrom, wrote an outstanding IAWF paper in 2016 titled "Common Denominators on Tragedy Fires – Updated for a New (Human) Fire Environment." Holstrom is now the USFS Pacific NW Region Risk Management Officer.


There is no evil under the sun but what is to be dreaded from men, who may do what they please with impunity: They seldom or never stop at certain degrees of mischief when they have power to go farther; but hurry on from wickedness to wickedness, as far and as fast as human malice can prompt human power.

It is nothing strange, that men, who think themselves unaccountable, should act unaccountably.

Thomas Gordon, Cato’s Letters No. 33 (1721) Between November 1720 and December 1723, John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon wrote an extraordinary series of 144 weekly essays for the London Journal, taking their pen name, Cato, from the Roman statesman who had defied the emperor Julius Caesar. (The First Amendment Encyclopedia)



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