State leaders: Yarnell recommendations are overdue - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

State leaders: Yarnell recommendations are overdue

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -
It's hard to believe three months have passed since the brave 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots in Yarnell were lost. Now, some of the state's leaders are reacting to a newly released report saying while some changes should be made, it'll never be known if the tragedy could have been prevented. 

The Forestry Division and their team of experts said they found no indication of any policy violations or negligence, but they did identify areas that need attention - changes that some now say are a long time coming. 

Jim Paxon with Arizona Game and Fish said the elements were working against the Granite Mountain Hotshots, who lost communication just minutes before they were overtaken by the Yarnell Hill Fire.

"No fire since '66, extended drought, extreme temperatures," he said. "They had 50-mile-an-hour winds that blew that fire directly south and through that canyon."

And Paxon agreed with the improvements the Forestry Division said need to be made to prevent another tragedy like this.

"We've got some systems and some technology that probably could be improved a little bit," Paxon said. "That's a national situation."

Improving communication and exploring technology like GPS are some of the recommendations. So is removing brush and other fuel for the fire. 

"We need to have zoning laws and zoning enforcement," said Rep. John Kavanagh. He said thinning the area is everyone's responsibility.

"Everybody has to be made to clear the areas around their homes so we don't have to put firefighters in harm's way to save them and their property," Kavanagh said. 

Independent groups will continue to analyze what happened June 30, but many agree more money needs to be allocated to deal with these wildfires. 
 
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