USA — It is the worst firefighting disaster in our state’s history — 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed while working the Yarnell Hill wildfire.
Now we’re hearing that team’s radio transmissions as they bravely faced the fire that would take their lives.
It’s heartbreaking to listen to the final moments of the Granite Mountain Hotshots crew — this is a powerful recording and we have edited it for you.
It was recorded by a firefighter near the scene who had a helmet cam rolling — picking up both video and audio.
In the first part of the recording, we hear the Granite Mountain Hotshots apparently as they first realized they were in trouble — and they tried to get aircraft to move in and drop water or retardant on them to save their lives.
Near the end of the recording, the Hotshots bravely announce they are deploying their shelters — something many of them had to realize — they might not survive.
“Breaking in on Arizona 16, Granite Mountain Hotshots, we are in front of the flaming front.”
“Air Attack, Granite Mountain 7!”
“Okay.. unit that’s hollerin’ in the radio, I need you to quit, and.. break, Operations Bravo 33.”
“Yeah, I’m here with Granite Mountain Hotshots, our escape route has been cut off. We are preparing a deployment site and we are burned out around ourselves in the brush and I’ll give you a call when we are under the shelters.”
That was the last time the Hotshots were heard on the radio that day.
So what happened?
Two different reports have been compiled and it appears a number of factors came together to cause this tragedy. Weather conditions, fire conditions and some key decision making from several sources have all been cited as causes.