Investigation opens into why Yarnell Hill Fire killed 19 - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Investigation opens into why Yarnell Hill Fire killed 19

Posted: Updated:
This photo was the last photo Andrew Ashcraft texted to his wife before he and 18 other Hotshots were overcome by the Yarnell Hill Fire. (Source: Facebook) This photo was the last photo Andrew Ashcraft texted to his wife before he and 18 other Hotshots were overcome by the Yarnell Hill Fire. (Source: Facebook)
  • NEWSMore>>

  • Uptown Columbus previews fall event series

    Uptown Columbus previews fall event series

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 12:53 AM EDT2014-08-20 04:53:08 GMT
    There will be plenty to do in Uptown Columbus this fall. Uptown Columbus announced their fall event series on Tuesday. Some events will be coming back this season, such as "Blues, Brew And Q," the popular
    More >>
    There will be plenty to do in Uptown Columbus this fall. Uptown Columbus announced their fall event series on Tuesday. Some events will be coming back this season, such as "Blues, Brew And Q," the popular concert series and the continuation of Saturday Market Days. More >>
  • New deputy coroner for Muscogee County

    New deputy coroner for Muscogee County

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 12:38 AM EDT2014-08-20 04:38:04 GMT
    Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan has announced a new member of his team. Trev Fuller was sworn in at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 19, as a Muscogee County Deputy Coroner. The addition of Fuller bringsMore >>
    Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan has announced a new member of his team. Trev Fuller was sworn in at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 19, as a Muscogee County Deputy Coroner. The addition of Fuller bringsMore >>
  • Examining race relations in Columbus

    Examining race relations in Columbus

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 12:34 AM EDT2014-08-20 04:34:03 GMT
    The Missouri crisis is rekindling a debate in America: race relations between blacks and the men and women in blue. News Leader 9's Roslyn Giles hit the streets to find out how African American men in
    More >>
    The Missouri crisis is rekindling a debate in America: race relations between blacks and the men and women in blue. News Leader 9's Roslyn Giles hit the streets to find out how African American men in this community see the issue. More >>
PRESCOTT, AZ (CBS5/AP) -

Investigators are in Yarnell to figure out why 19 elite firefighters perished in the Yarnell Hill Fire and whether human error played a role in the tragedy.

The investigation will look at whether the Hotshot crew paid attention to the forecast, created an escape route and took other precautions developed after a similar disaster in Colorado nearly two decades ago.

The bodies of the 19 firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hotshots crew were brought off the mountainside where they were overtaken by the fire, and brought to the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office, where the causes of death will be officially determined.

The team of about 10 investigators from various agencies also will look at whether the crew should have been pulled out before the fire exploded on Sunday.

The independent investigation will be led by Florida State Forester Jim Karels. Mike Dudley, acting director of Cooperative Forestry for the USDA Forest Service, will be the secondary team lead.

Others participating in the investigation include the U.S. Forest Service Missoula Technology and Development Center, the Missoula Fire Department, the Bureau of Land Management and Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health. Team members are technical specialist and fire behavior analysts.

The local liaisons to the nine-member Yarnell Hill Investigation Team are Arizona State Forester Scott Hunt and Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo.

"These investigators, with 30-plus years of experience, are scientists," Jim Paxon toild CBS 5 News. Paxson is a founding member of the Arizona Wildfire Academy and served on the Southwest Interagency Incident Management Team during the Rodeo-Chediski Fire in 2002.

"They will try to discern what happened and how can we prevent it in the future," he said. "They will try to reconstruct the fire as it blew up and ran over the Granite Mountain crew."

Paxson said they will use a number of tools and to determine just why it was so intense and extreme that the firefighters' fireproof tents didn't protect them.

About 500 firefighters are fighting powerful winds as they continue to battle the fire, which has burned about 13 square miles.

Yavapai County authorities said about 50 homes and other structures burned in Yarnell, and hundreds of people have been evacuated.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Powered by WorldNow

1909 Wynnton Road
Columbus, Ga. 31906

FCC Public File
publicfile@wtvm.com
706-494-5400
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WTVM. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.