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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Arizona: Lawsuit settled Two Years After 19 hotshots Firefighters Died fighting Yarnell Hill Fire #AZFire

Lawsuit settled 2 years after 19 hotshots Firefighters died fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire

Yarnell Hill Fire lawsuits settle for $670,000, reforms

19 hotshots Firefighters died fighting theYarnell Hill Fire (Photo: David Kadlubowski/The Republic/azc)
PHOENIX — Arizona will pay $670,000 to the families of the 19 hotshots who died fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire and will implement new wildland firefighting procedures to improve safety in a global settlement of litigation stemming from the 2013 fire.

Tuesday is the second anniversary of the blaze in which the Granite Mountain Hotshots perished.

Questions remain about what went wrong that day and who was responsible for the deaths of the firefighters. Today's settlement announcement means some questions might never be answered.

"I don't know that we're ever going to know every detail of that fateful day," said attorney Pat McGroder, who represents 12 families of fire victims. But McGroder said assigning blame and collecting damages was not what family members sought.

"That's not what this case is about," McGroder said at a news conference announcing the settlement. "Our clients wanted transparency and change" as a legacy for their loved ones.

The settlement still faces formal approval from a judge and state officials.

"Ultimately, this settlement doesn't assign blame," Attorney General Mark Brnovichsaid. "State agencies aren't admitting any guilt or negligence.

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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