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Why Were Vital Human Factors Influencing the June 30, 2013, YH Fire GMHS Fatalities Never Revealed?


Author and Contributing authors: Fred J. Schoeffler and Lance Honda (RiP) and Joy A. Collura


Part 1 of 2 - Why Were Vital Human Factors Influencing the June 30, 2013, YH Fire GMHS Fatalities Never Revealed?


Views expressed to "the public at large” and "of public concern"


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



Figure 1. AZ State Forestry Photo IMG 1334 - Intense fire behavior from one of several likely firing operations influenced by alignment of heavy chaparral fuels, chimneys and chutes, pushed by intense thunderstorm outflow winds on Sunday June 30, 2013, around 4:29 PM (1629). Google Earth overlay depicts GMHS Mackenzie photo point, mid-slope road, GMHS descent point and descent path, GMHS Deployment Zone, and Boulder Springs Ranch (out of sight behind the foreground ridge). Source: ASF Brian Lauber; WTKTT


This photo was taken by ASF Brian Lauber from Hwy 89 near the Assembly of God Church in Yarnell, AZ. This photo is used most often by the authors because it best reflects one of the main themes of this YHFR website - the extreme fire behavior result of likely one of several firing operations and the fatal GMHS decision to leave their Safety Zone ("the black"). This occurred when they made this decision without clearly and specifically notifying anyone (supervisor or Air Attack) of their intentions.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)


Consider now some quotes about work, knowledge, trust, and planning.

Louis "Studs" Terkel, American author, historian, actor, and broadcaster writes: "Work is about daily meaning as well as daily bread; for recognition as well as cash; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday-through-Friday sort of dying....We have a right to ask of work that it include meaning, recognition, astonishment and life." (Student of Fire Facebook)


"Knowledge brokering isn't just about more experienced people passing on information to the new guys. It's about understanding who has the skills and knowledge in each area and how those people can become teachers and facilitators instead of merely subject-matter experts." Trustology - The Art and Science of Leading High-Trust Teams - Richard Fagerlin


"Trust isn’t what we 'do'—it’s what results from what we do. Trust is the single most important factor in determining whether a group of individuals will become a high-functioning, high-performance team. With all of that at stake, it’s time to be intentional about trust."


"Trust has never existed in a risk-free environment. No matter how well you know someone, given enough opportunities, every one will fall short in some way or another. High-trust teams are strong, but it's a strength that comes through mutual vulnerability. If you are not willing to accept the fundamental vulnerability of high trust teams, you'll never have one." Trustology - The Art and Science of Leading High-Trust Teams - Richard Fagerlin


"Through careful contingency planning, a leader can anticipate likely challenges that could arise during execution and map out an effective response to those challenges before they happen. That leader and his or her team are far more likely to win." Extreme Ownership by former Navy SEALS Jocko Willink and Leif Babin


This Yarnell Hill Fire Revelations ( YHFR ) post is titled to a much shorter title because of Wix size criterion as follows: Why Were Vital Human Factors Influencing the June 30, 2013, YH Fire GMHS Fatalities Never Revealed? is based on the 2021 Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE) paper titled: How Many Human Factors Influenced the June 30, 2013, Yarnell Hill Fire 19 Fatalities And Yet Were Never Investigated nor Documented?


The AHFE paper was limited to eight pages. The headings and subheadings for this YHFR post are virtually the same with some additions. Only the numbering of those bolded headings and subheadings has been removed and replaced with letters and numbers instead, (e.g.. A. Abstract or D. Human Factors and D.1. Willingness to Properly Refuse Risk. Additionally, in the AHFE paper and this YHFR post, the bracketed source or reference numbers, such as [3], are placed after the text as the sources that correspond to the relevant reference materials at the bottom of the AHFE paper.


Sources in this YHFR post.will be cited at each relevant sentence or paragraph and links will be provided on the majority of them; some links would not post even after several attempts. The authors will attempt to also place links into each of the original AHFE paper in the references section.



A. Abstract.


Wildland firefighting is inherently dangerous, fraught with simple mishaps to inevitable fatal outcomes for the unwary. Established, sound rules and guidelines will continue to work to keep Wildland Firefighters and Firefighters safe. Human factors, consistent across all work groups, are variously broken down into human errors, human failures, error chain(s), etc. making fatalities unavoidable. All we can do is reduce them. Nineteen Prescott FD Granite Mountain Hot Shot wildland firefighters and supervisors perished on the June 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona. Inexplicably, they left their Safety Zone during explosive fire behavior. A Serious Accident Investigation Team found, “... no indication of negligence, reckless actions, or violations of policy or protocol.” The authors and others inferred on an October 2013, YH Fire and GMHS Site Visit "Integration Phase" comment by a Senior HS Supt.: "... the final, fatal link, in a long chain of bad decisions with good outcomes." Among other things, tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, goal fixation, non-critical thinking, destructive goal pursuit, Groupthink, and "Friendly Fire" are discussed.


Keywords: Yarnell Hill Fire -Wildland Firefighting - Friendly Fire - Human Factors


B. Introduction


How is it possible that 19 wildland firefighters perished on the Arizona State Forestry (ASF) Yarnell Hill (YH) Fire in one fell swoop? In a word, it is "impossible." Yet one must question if the USFS federally-funded the Serious Accident Investigation Team and Report (SAIT-SAIR) and then boldly and unbelievably concluded that they found “... no indication of negligence, reckless actions, or violations of policy or protocol”? (emphasis added)[1, 2, 3] Additionally, “3. The Team recommends ... develop[ing]a wildland fire staff ride for the Yarnell Hill Fire incident. The staff ride is a process of conveying the lessons learned from this incident for future fire leaders.” Furthermore,“5. The Team recommends that the State of Arizona request the NWCG and/or Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) to charter a team of interagency wildland fire and human factors experts to conduct further analysis of this event and the wildland fire communications environment.” (emphasis added) [1, 2, 3]


A retired USFS wildland firefighter is attributed with saying: 'Once firefighter and investigator lies about fatality fires get written into official reports, staff rides only turn the lies into dramas. Even if the Truth later seeps out, the staff rides keep regurgitating the same original lies. ... [WFs] keep dying for the same reasons thus NWCG and all its ilk are truly guilty of negligent homicide. We lie to protect our imaginary personal, crew and agency images and real firefighters keep suffering and dying to nourish those collective fragile egos.' IAWF (2011)


Human factors refer to environmental, organizational and job factors, and human and individual characteristics, which influence behavior at work in a way which can positively or adversely affect safety. [5] The Staff Ride is a stellar idea, brought to fruition more from a mandated court order than from this SAIT recommendation. [4] However, it’s been reported that the “official” ones were fairly restrictive and required to use and follow the “official” SAIR, thus impeding any valid lessons learned. [4] And the inter-agency team of “human factors experts”? These were likely pretty obvious to the alleged "investigators" and discussed among themselves and those above them, but certainly never taken onto completion for true lessons learned. And so, the authors and interested others (e.g. InvestigativeMEDIA, Yarnell Hill Fire Revelations) took it upon themselves to accept and attend to this crucial task.[4] There will always be a continuing need for dedicated research on the Yarnell Hill (YH) Fire fatalities, seeking out and gathering newly revealed public records evidence regarding the causal human factors and human errors ignored in the alleged “investigation.” Some WFs, FFs, and slightly inquisitive others are still unsure whether there was a rogue firing (burning out) operation in the Sesame Street and Shrine Fuel-Fire Break Corridor(s). This is informally referred to in the insensitively-named Serious Accident Investigation Team “Factual and Management Report”(SAIT-SAIR) as the “the two-track road (an old fuel break) between Sesame Street and Shrine Road...preparing for burnout along the dozer line.”[3] Some GMHS family, friends, and loved ones, are grudgingly aware of it, and prefer to euphemistically (and incorrectly) refer to it as a “backburn.” [4] (i.e. “I stand firm that there was a back burn that came up that canyon. It was this fact along with the weather change that the IC never sent out because they were busy evacuating that caused the death of Granite Mountain.”) [4] This is a wishful yet out-of-place sentiment. Allegedly “evacuating” had nothing to do with their deaths! Undeniably, from their viable Safety Zone in the black, they had the best vantage point of anyone on the fire (except Air Attack) and the two eyewitness hikers (Tex Gilligan and Joy A. Collura), of the increasingly adverse weather and the resultant aggressive fire behavior that somehow deceived them. The GMHS veterans knew better! Because of all this, WFs, FFs, and others will continue to struggle to make sense of the June 30, 2013, YH Fire; the “how and why” 19 of the 20 Granite Mountain Hot Shot (GMHS) fatalities. We all certainly know how they died. However, there is a rightful need to analyze why so many died needlessly and why key evidence is concealed, impeding lessons learned; all the while restricting YH Fire-informed and YH Fire-knowledgeable USFS employees from talking about or legally being questioned for the tragedy.[4]




Figure 2. Intense fire behavior (6/30/13 at 1629 hrs.) from the Assembly of God church along Hwy. 89 with Google Earth overlay. Right icon is GMHS location, left icon is GMHS-descent point, lower icons are GMHS deployment / fatality site - Deployment Zone (DZ) and Helms / Boulder Springs Ranch (BSR) Source: Lauber, WTKTT, Google Earth.


Figure 3. Mary Nguyen Channel 12 News photo of intense fire behavior (6/30/13 at 1631 hrs.) along Hwy. 89. The GMHS Deployment Zone would be over the small foreground ridge at the base of the intense fire behavior and intensifying, darkening smoke column. Source: ABC News, WantsToKknowTheTruth (WTKTT)


The above Figure 3. image, in the words of WTKTT, "this may be the best photographic evidence yet of the YH Fire movement entering the box canyon, eight minutes before all the GMHS would be burned over."


Figure 4. Enhanced Google Earth snippet image using Paint. Aligned northwest, Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor (middle and upper right) leading up to the parallel twin chutes (middle) funneling upslope to the GMHS Deployment Zone - Fatality Site (upper left). Source: Google Earth, Schoeffler.


This above Figure 4. image basically represents a virtual upslope ' slingshot' that funneled extremely hot gases and exponentially intense fire behavior within the narrow confines of chimneys and chutes (venturi effect), directly into the broader deadly bowl where the GMHS deployed fire shelters and ultimately perished.


Figure 5. Google Earth Vertical Cross-Section snippet image, aligned northwest, the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor (lower right) is leading up to the parallel twin chutes (middle) funneling upslope to the GMHS Deployment Zone - Fatality Site (upper left). Source: Google Earth, Schoeffler.


This idealized image represents the virtual upslope 'slingshot' that funneled extremely hot gases and exponentially intense fire behavior within the narrow confines of chimneys and chutes, directly into the broader deadly bowl where the GMHS deployed fire shelters and ultimately perished.


C. Background.


The magnitude and complexity of the fire itself and of the human response to it will vary because fire operations are inherently dangerous and will never change. [6] The risk to wildland firefighters (WFs) and Firefighters (FFs) has increased in recent years largely due to large fires having been located in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI); an increasingly common and dangerous area “where structures and other human development meet or intermingle with wildland or vegetative fuels.” [7] Was there a rogue firing operation below the GMHS in the Sesame Street and Shrine Fuel-Fire Break Corridor areas that they were unaware of because they had no lookout or because they failed to notify Air Attack of their intentions and whereabouts? Or was it because those involved with the several separate firing operations never informed anyone of them performing burnout operations below them? It was very likely all of them. (emphasis added)


The authors believe that this was a clear sign of the normalization of deviance, drifting into failure; a progressive series of elements in a long chain of bad decisions with good outcomes setting up their inevitable fatal entrapment outcome.[1, 2, 4, 7-9] The following enumerated factors may well have impeded their decision-making: (1) cultural influences of municipal fire departments with collateral wildland fire responsibilities to “save structures” at all costs while considering "FF safety as a last resort;” [9] (2) known, obvious unsafe GMHS leadership concerns; (3) weak Crew cohesion that relied on consensus-seeking (“absence of leadership”); and (4) failing to know that the situation(s) were getting out-of-hand (snowball effect), thus losing the ability to detect that they were cognitively overloaded and needed to change plans or disengage. It is wn a situation starts small and gets built up increasing in power and momentum as it grows, and it can be negative or positive.



Figure 6. Decisions and Outcomes Matrix. Source: CAWRT PowerPoint snippet


Amazingly, at the July 2013 GMHS Deployment Zone News Conference, Prescott FD Wildland Fire Battalion Chief Darrel Willis, obviously attempting to ameliorate the situation and justify the GMHS' individual and collective actions, blatantly downplayed the significance of LCES and the required need to have a Lookout “they emphasized ... (LCES), ... ,however, there are points during that workday ... you don’t have all of those standards in place ... especially with them moving, ... you couldn’t leave anybody behind. ... wouldn’t have left anybody behind.


These men “died with honor, ... stuck together, ... saw / felt the same way”“protected themselves as a last resort... picked the best location in this bowl... “ Suggesting Groupthink here. And nowhere in any wildland fire training or annual refreshers does it encourage anyone to seek refuge in a bowl. It specifically cautions against deploying in chimneys and chutes.

.

He fallaciously asks this rhetorical question: “ ...**why do [FF] run into burning buildings** ...it’s ingrained in them... not going to sit up there in a Safety Zone when... potential for people to be at risk somewhere.” This is the **Fallacy of False Equivalence or False Analogy** and an enormous ‘leap’ from structure to wildland fire. ("they couldn't have left anyone up there;" He encouraged deadly Groupthink ("I would have followed them blindfolded into the place where they were at ... I'd have been right there with them"), encouraged leaving the safe black to engage and attempt to save structures ("no firefighter is satisfied sitting in the black, in a SZ watching the fire progress below them"), and he even deemed the tragic event as this is “an accident, just one of those things that happen.” Yeah, right! "Just one of those things that happen." All by itself it just happened? No blame, no fault, nobody made any bad decisions? Yet 19 GMHS died in one fell swoop! What a bunch of bovine feculence!


Consider now some further critical, causal human factors never revealed -


Stress matters. When ... stressed, ... inhibited in practicing new ways of acting. ..., relying on their most familiar habits.Daniel Goleman (2012)


Tunneling” or “Fixation–locking on to one explanation of your world –behavior is driven by events and difficult to anticipate and influence future circumstances. Dekker, Sydney (2000) The Field Guide to Human Error


In times of the highest stress, trained individuals fall back on their ‘highest level of overtraining’". Karl Weick -South Canyon Revisited. (USFS -MTDC)



Based on the above quotes, consider now some renowned fatal wildfires where this stress reaction influence was pervasive and manifested itself in the following ways:


South Canyon Fire (1994) CO BLM -14 fatalities - IC sharpening chainsaw instead of managing the fire and his resources

Thirtymile Fire (2001) WA FS - 4 fatalities - IC using hose and nozzle instead of managing the fire and his resources. NOTE: this was the final straw of being a Crew Leader while also performing as an Incident Commander as a collateral duty.

Yarnell Hill Fire (2013) AZ ASF, BLM, and Private – 19 fatalities – DIVS A and Acting GMHS Supt. refer to GMHS as “Granite Mountain 7” – formerly a Fuels Crew, i.e. “Crew 7” and DIVS A answering for GMHS instead of DIVS A in response to AA and being emboldened by their “ final, fatal link, in a long chain of bad decisions with good outcomes


OPS (PFD BC) radio briefing “Hold that line at all costs“ Thompson Ridge Fire SNF NM in May 2013. This statement by PFD Willis highly suggests giving one's life to hold the line. The Prescott Way?


Public Decisions - A factor that binds people to their actions is ‘going public’ when someone participates in and is identified publicly with a decision, that person will resolve inconsistencies to produce attitudes consistent with that choice.” The Challenger Launch Decision – Diane Vaughan (1996) The GMHS made a public decision to stay in place when ordered to go to Yarnell to assist. And then micro-public decisions on their discrete Crew Net channel to leave the black ("discussing our options." ) ( https://www.high-reliability.org/allied-knowledge-impediments )


The GMHS were "in the black" when the Yarnell Structure Group Supervisor called OPS and requested the GMHS to assist with Yarnell structure protection, while all other WFs and FFs were told to disengage antd stage at the Ranch House resaurant. At 1542 (3:42 PM) OPS requested the GMHS assistance. And the GMHS response was: “we are committed to the black, send BRHS, they’re already there.” OPS then reaffirmed that DIVS A and that GMHS in their SZ and in the black, and to HUNKER AND BE SAFE. The Group Supervisor also called the TFLD(T) to send two Engines to the BSR to meet GMHS coming down and to make sure GMHS ‘gets out of there safely." (emphasis added)


From TFLDT(t)

Esquibel’s Unit Log… ————————————————– 1445 ( 2:45 PM ) Met with Structure Group 2 ( Gary Cordes ). Plan to use TF2 ( Esquibel’s Task Force 2 ) resources to tie dozer line to rock outcrop on Mountain west of Shrine Road in Harper Canyon. Blue Ridge IHC AND Granite Mountain IHC ( BOTH Type 1 Hotshot crews ) to improve dozer line.

1632 ( 4:32 PM ) St Group 1 ( Cordes ) request (1) engine to Boulder Spgs. ( and also says to make sure Granite Mountain gets out of there safely ).


( https://www.investigativemedia.com/please-begin-yarnell-hill-fire-chapter-xviii-here/#comment-322869 )


The Structure Group Supervisor is incredulous and surprised when he was later informed that the GMHS had deployed fire shelters. “They had plenty of time.” The Structure Group Supervisor said he wasn’t surprised that Granite Mountain attempted to reach the BSR. (emphasis added) Source: ADOSH Interviews, September 11, 2013 and February 27, 2014



Doing it Right - Entrapment Avoidance


• Talk With Each Other/Discuss the YH Fire to Encourage and Foster Healing


• If You Are The Boss, Then BE The Boss ! Double SSOB!


• Know and Understand and Recognize ALL the WF Rules by Heart


• Give Leader’s Intent and Then Ask Resources For Input, Ideas, Suggestions to Avoid Groupthink


• Heed Watch Out #4 dealing with local weather and fire behavior factors


• Know, Understand, and Practice Sound Risk Management


• Learn to Properly Process All the Information You Receive


• ALWAYS HEED and DISCUSS INSTINCTS, INNER WARNING SIGNS, ‘GUT FEELINGS’


• Know How to Properly Refuse Risk (Turn Down Protocol) IRPG page 19


• If You See Something Say Something to Others AND Especially Your Supervisor(s)


• Use Direct Speech ! -Avoid Mitigating and/or Hinting Speech


• Speak Up If / When Uncomfortable With and/or Unsure of Tactics, Plan


• Avoid the Dangers and Traps of Groupthink


• Avoid ‘Going Along Just To Get Along’ with everyone else, i.e. Trips to Abilene


Source: Human Factors Influenced the June 30, 2013, YH Fire and GMHS Fatalities. Google Scholar


Major Phillip M. Johnson (2001) Effects of Groupthink on Tactical Decision-Making. Defense Technical Information Center


Major Johnson stated that the way to almost guarantee Groupthink was to give Leader's Intent and then tell your resources what he plans to do, because most people will want to do what the Boss wants to do. And then he stressed that the way to avoid Groupthink was to give Leader's Intent, then ask your resources what they think should be done. Thus giving them some ownership in the decision.


Jerry B. Harvey – Abilene Paradox (1996) Abilene Paradox is a phenomenon that describes a situation in which a group makes a collective decision that does not correspond to the feeling and thoughts of the individuals in the group.( https://www.talentlyft.com/en/resources/what-is-abilene-paradox ) ( https://images.app.goo.gl/YSPuxQD7xUH61FfAA )


Malcolm Gladwell – OutliersMitigated Speech - addressed in A Missing Plane, Mitigation Speech and The Fire Service (Part 1) On the Fire Ground by Grant Schwalbe (Mar 14, 2014)


  • Command: “E43 will stretch a 2 1/2” line through the Bravo side door” (Very direct)

  • Crew Obligation Statement: “I think we may not want to do our normal Alpha-side stretch here”. (Softer statement and use of “we”.)

  • Crew Suggestion: “Let’s try to attack from the unburned side.” (We are deciding together.)

  • Query: “Where would you like me to stretch the line since we aren’t going in the front?” (Speaker is conceding that he is not in charge.)

  • Preference: “I think it’d be wise to should stretch the line someplace other than the Alpha-Side”

  • Hint: “This doesn’t look like our typical stretch at a fire.” (Outliers, p 194-195)



Figure 7. July 2013 GMHS DZ News Conference Source: YouTube, IM John Dougherty


Figure 7.1. July 2013 GMHS DZ News Conference Source: YouTube, IM John Dougherty


D. Motivation.


A retired USFS wildland firefighter wrote: Generally, the goal of accident reports is to convey as much of the truth of an event that is discoverable. Sometimes investigators deliberately distort or do not report all the causal elements, leading firefighters to distrust these reports, which can hamper our efforts to stay safe. [4, 11] ‘Wildland firefighting is a high-risk occupation, shown each year by deaths or injuries in the line of duty. Identifying causal human factors to mitigate them in the future is critical.’ [6] The authors allege the USDA has been exceptionally deceptive. Given all this, one has to ask how are true, intended complete “lessons learned” possible? Veteran WF Bruce Hensler points out that it does no good to identify or share any “lessons learned” if the industry that needs to learn them refuses to do so.[12] Hensler noted: "[A retired USFS wildland fire fighter] believes wildland firefighters will continue to die as long as they fail to acknowledge and come to terms with certain realities by acknowledging the trap of a can-do spirit; unwise agency cost-control measures; image of self, crew and agency; and the recurring failure to learn from lessons." [12] However, it should be attributed to Hensler [12] and will be corrected here, because this was incorrectly cited as [11 - Accidents, accident guides, stories, and the truth. IAWF] in the original AHFE paper.


NOTE: The authors shared this post in draft form with [A retired USFS wildland fire firefighter] for the several references and quotes from him that are cited here. He took issue with some of what Hensler stated in his Fire Rescue article (2019) titled Yarnell Hill: The Human Factor .' [A retired USFS wildland firefighter] wrote: "There are problems with what Hensler says that can' be easily addressed. Some are false and misquoting me! ..." The YHFR lead author encouraged a retired USFS wildland fire fighter to submit a comment to the article and that we would place his comments in this post.


E. Fullness of meaning - We no longer have so-called "investigations" anymore and instead have the latest vouge replacement of "no blame, no fault" Facilitated Learning Analysis (FLA), Coordinated Response Protocol (CRaP), Learning Reviews, Learning From Unintended Consequences, and the like. It is interesting to note that most - not all - of this cadre of alleged "experts" are the ones giving us less than the truth on these incidents. "It's just an accident, one of those things that happens" mentality. So then, how can instructors and supervisors honor the fullness of meaning in those involved WFs' and FFs' experiences, involvement, discussions, decisions, actions, etc. that led to the unfortunate outcome. Instead, it's been replaced with stories ("tell us your story") because we do no more statements. Why? Because those are considered too harsh and invasive. Whatever. And so, we must ask - what benefit is there in doing so? Hensler also stated: "While investigation reports tend to distill incident details down to the facts and figures, it is the more elusive human factor that is perhaps most telling when trying to understand decision-making – and determine lessons learned." (emphasis added)


The verb "decide" has deadly interesting origins. Though it came through Middle English deciden, Old French decider, and Latin decidere, you can tell that there's the prefix de-, kind of meaning "off". This was in the language as far as etymologists can trace it, and is either from Etruscan or Proto-Indo-European. It's the other part of decide that's surprising: -cide. Yup, as you may have guessed, this is the same -cide present in words like homicide, suicide, regicide, fratricide, genocide, and all those other euphemistic terms for nasty kinds of death. All the roots trace to the Latin verb caedere, meaning "to cut". The death-related words are connected because of the correlation between "cut" and "kill", a side meaning which later evolved from the word, and decide is connected because when you make a choice, you cut out all the other possible choices. So it sort of makes sense, right? Caedere comes from Proto-Italic kaido, from Proto-Indo-European kehid, which meant something more like "strike". Theentomologynerd


This should certainly give one pause and a different perspective on decision-making, ey.


F. The Sesame Street and Shrine Fuel / Fire Break Corridor Area(s) Firing Operations


At least twenty (20) people, including veteran WFs and FFs and the two YH Fire eyewitness hikers watched a video in July 2013 at the Yarnell, AZ Library of a Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor firing operation; also viewed by one FF on YouTube before it was removed. The video abruptly vanished without a trace, like other YH Fire evidence. There were also burnt fusees (firing devices akin to large road flares) found on a 2014 site visit and a GMHS family member found “accelerants” with local-area specialized dogs another time.[4] Former YFD Fire Chief Peter Andersen (RiP) validated this with his statement: “we built an emergency escape route for Yarnell in case there was a burnout like this... in that area below The Shrine, west of The Shrine, they had dozers back there widening that so that it would create a fire break, ... ” [13] These WFs and local FFs regarded it as so, and they rightly acted accordingly and utilized the Corridor for one of the firing operations discussed in the SAIT-SAIR.

Figure 8. Former Yarnell Fire Chief Peter Andersen (RiP) describes the Arizona Forestry Division's response to the Yarnell Hill Fire that killed 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots on June 30, 2013. Source: YouTube, IM John Dougherty

These particular excerpts (below) deal with radio conversations between DIVS A Eric Marsh and DIVS Z Rance Marquez and his Strike Team Leader (T) Coughan Carrothers and their locations, decision-making, and actions during at least one of the possible ostensibly rogue firing operations along the Sesame Street - Shrine Corridor areas on June 30, 2013. They come from the SAIT and / or ADOSH interviews and interview notes. (https://www.investigativemedia.com/yarnell-hill-fire-chapter-xi/#comment-259128 )


Marquez: "Um, [Marsh] understood what I was saying, but he had about two other radios going off in his ear plus other things going on, so he just said, 'Yeah. Um, we’re off – we’re going to have uh, at a later – later time.' and started to prioritize information." (emphasis added)


This statement by DIVS Z Marquez about DIVS A Marsh is verified as a fairly strong distraction from the Tunnel Vision and Auditory Exclusion research (John Hopkins) discussed in the relevant Human Factors section in G.9. (below).


IM Marti Reed - "My problem is that, since this visual scenario doesn’t correspond with what Carothers and Marquez told ADOSH, I’m not all that convinced their story about what they did over at Sickles Road is true. And that ties in with that photo of Carothers’ truck up there on the Dozer Line above Sesame at 10:12 on Sunday Morning. There’s just too much that doesn’t connect between their visual footprints and their stories.That’s been bugging me all along……"

( https://www.investigativemedia.com/yarnell-hill-fire-chapter-xi/#comment-247647 )



The Prescott Daily Courier - A Narrow escape: Peeples Valley firefighters recount that frightening day. Published: 6/30/2014 6:00:00 AM by Joanna Dodder Nellans


( https://web.archive.org/web/20140805112142/http://dcourier.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubsectionID=1&ArticleID=133345 ) Internet Archive Wayback Machine link because the IM link was no good. ("Page not found. The requested page could not be found").


The authors took some minor liberties combining some short sentences into the paragraphs above them. (all emphasis added below)


YARNELL - Bob Brandon and Ron Smith feel lucky to be alive after running for their lives from the Yarnell Hill wildfire.


They were among the Peeples Valley firefighters working in a valley on the west edge of Yarnell, only about three-quarters of a mile from the site where the flames overran 19