After two long, painful years for hotshot relatives, a settlement is reached with the state in the deaths of 19 firefighters at Yarnell Hill. Hotshot family Attorney Pat Mc Groder says the settlement with the state means 50,000 dollars apiece for each family. Mc Groder, along with state parties such as the
Forestry department, Governor’s office and Attorney General’s office, say the settlement pins no blame on anyone for the tragic events, but is intended to help families move on.
But Roxie Warnecke, whose husband,Bill, died in the rampant wildfire, says she was enraged when she learned of the instructions the hotshots were given that sealed their fate. She says descending into a canyon violated her husband’s 8 years of training. But she says the settlement is “one step close to closure.”
As for the compensation, Warnecke says, the families are passing up any personal enrichment to fund a non-profit foundation to prevent future tragedies. She explains, “the organization will conduct independent investigations into fatalities, injuries, equipment and technology. We will be a wildland wildfire watchdog group, where anyone can report to us anonymously to seek positive change in wildland firefighting.”
A ceremony commemorating the second anniversary of the deadly wildfire is being held Tuesday afternoon at the Prescott Courthouse steps. The 19 died June 30th, 2013.