Yarnell Hill Firefighters’ Families Settle Lawsuit

Twelve of 19 families settled for $50,000 each

Jun 30, 2015
Outside Magazine
yarnell hill fire, us forest service, blue ridge hotshots, grayson schaffer, one year anniversary, firefighters, oregon

Members of the U.S. Forest Service’s Blue Ridge Hotshots and other firefighters watch as the Yarnell Hill Fire advances on the town of Yarnell, Arizona, on June 30, 2013.    AP Images

The families of 12 of the firefighters killed in the 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona settled their lawsuit with the state on Tuesday after a yearlong legal debate, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Twelve of 19 families of the Granite Mountain Hotshots sued the state for negligence and settled for $50,000 each. The remaining seven families will receive $10,000 each from a workplace lawsuit filed Monday. Many complained that the state never explained the fire’s cause or how the deaths may have been avoided.
“For the families, I hope this settlement can achieve a modicum of peace,” Patrick McGroder, the attorney who represented the families, told the Los Angeles Times. “Through this settlement, the legacy of their loved ones will never be forgotten.”
A 2013 report by local, state, and federal investigators found that management errors, along with terrain and weather conditions, contributed to the deaths. It did not find any recklessness or negligence.
Following the settlement, the Arizona State Forestry Division plans to improve fire management and communications. It will also encourage a new course for firefighters on the reality of death.

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