7.1 Wall of Flame

Thursday, 19 June 2014: 10:30 AM
Alpine Ballroom (Resort at Squaw Creek)
Carl Rippy, North Platte, NE

Together, we will look at the sequence of events that led up to the fateful day of June 30th, 2013 at Yarnell Hill, Arizona where nineteen elite firefighters known as “Hotshots” were lost as a 60 foot wall of flame overran the entire crew known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots.

Three integral parts of every fire should be up-to-date two-way radios that are properly frequenced, GPS locators for every crew and an on staff meteorologist that is a fire weather expert: There should be no exceptions to these three integral parts.

Two-way radio traffic was heavy and messages were garbled because of improperly programmed radios. Unclear radio traffic fostered an assumption of the (incorrect) location of the Granite Mountain Hotshot team and led to their ultimate demise.

GPS tracking devices give us location coordinates that protect firefighting crews by transmitting their exact location at all times in relation to fire lines. A qualified fire weather expert, QFWE, can forecast viable and important information to fire crews before a crew is in eminent danger via two-way radio. Extreme conditions were caused by a gust front at Yarnell Hill, Arizona that accelerated the fire line and unexpectedly made the fire turn on the hotshot crew.

Critical and important weather information communicated clearly to a fire crew with the knowledge of their exact location will save firefighters lives

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