Demanding Change: Yarnell Hill Fire Lawsuit Filed
The Yarnell Hill Fire made national headlines in June and July of 2013 after destroying 127 homes, burning 13 square miles, and claiming the lives of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots. It was a heartbreaking and eye-opening story that rocked the nation. It was the deadliest wildfire ever in Arizona, the deadliest wildfire of any kind since 1991, the highest firefighter death toll from a wildfire in the U.S. since 1933, and the greatest loss of firefighters in the U.S. since the September 11 attacks.
The devastating loss left the families of the 19 brave young Hotshots, the families who lost their homes in the fire, and the rest of America to question how this could happen. Now, nearly a year and a half later, we know that the state was negligent in failing to quickly respond to the lightning-caused fire on June 28 and subsequently deployed inadequate resources to manage the wildfire.
We also know that the Arizona State Forestry Division committed extreme negligence. They entrusted management of the fire to a low-level, exhausted, negligent, situationally unaware, inadequately experienced and overwhelmed Type 4 Incident Commander. Worst of all, we know that the fire could have been put out the first day. Unfortunately, Yarnell firefighters and volunteers were told to stand down by officials the evening the fire started. By attacking the fire right away, it would have taken very little resources, saved millions of dollars, prevented homes from being destroyed and most importantly, it would have saved lives.
Because of this, Knapp and Roberts Law Firm filed a lawsuit on behalf of Yarnell property owners, as well as wrongful death claims on behalf of Yarnell family members who lost their loved ones. Here is an interview with Attorney Craig Knapp of Knapp and Roberts discussing the Yarnell Hill Fire lawsuits.
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