I noted in my calendar recently that the first anniversary of the Yarnell Hill Fire was approaching. As I thought about what I would write in our Fire Break blog about the incident, I happened to visit NIFC’s (National Interagency Fire Center) website (for something else completely) and saw their announcement on the homepage about designating this week, the week of Monday, June 30 – Sunday, July 6, as “A Week to Remember, Reflect and Learn,” to honor the memories of all fallen wildland firefighters, and to reflect on lessons learned from different types of wildland fire accidents.
I thought, what a wonderful way to commemorate those who have dedicated their lives to the safety of others. And so, I wanted to share this with all of you.
According to the announcement, which was sent out from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG), this week also marks the 20-year anniversary of the South Canyon Fire that started on July 6, 1994 and took the lives of 14 wildland firefighters on Storm King Mountain near Glenwood Springs, Colorado, and as I mentioned above, the one-year anniversary of the Yarnell Hill Fire, which ignited on June 28 near Prescott, Arizona and killed 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew on June 30, 2013. As the announcement goes on to say, while the accidents happened 19 years apart, they are still bound together by several tragic commonalities.
Take a look at the announcement from the NWCG. There, you will find information about the handful of commemoration events in both Arizona and Colorado, (My colleague, Cathy Prudhomme, also wrote a blog post last Friday about some of these events around the Yarnell Hill Fire. Check out her blog to learn more about what will be happening in Arizona.)
The announcement also provides a number of resources that, according to the NWCG, “will facilitate reflection on, and discussion of, the South Canyon and Yarnell Hill fires as well as some of the hazards that pose the most serious risks to wildland firefighters.”
So this week, let's all take a moment to remember and reflect … and together, let's pledge to continue our fight to help make our world a safer place from wildfire.