Firefighting, Legal, Wildland Firefighting

Yarnell Hill Fire Lawsuits Settled with Families

Arizona will pay a total of $670,000 to the families of the 19 hotshots who died fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire and will implement new wildland firefighting procedures to improve safety in a global settlement of litigation stemming from the 2013 fire, reports

Tuesday is the second anniversary of the fire in which the Granite Mountain Hotshots perished.

Questions remain about what went wrong that day and who was responsible for the deaths of the firefighters. Today’s settlement announcement means some questions might never be answered.

“I don’t know that were every going to know every detail of that fateful day,” said attorney Pat McGroder, who represents 12 families of fire victims. But McGroder said assigning blame and collecting damages was not what family members sought.

“That’s not what this case is about,” McGroder said at a 2 p.m. news conference announcing the settlement. “Our clients wanted transparency and change” as a legacy for their loved ones.

The settlement still faces formal approval from a judge and state officials.

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“Ultimately, this settlement doesn’t assign blame,” Attorney General Mark Brnovich said. “State agencies aren’t admitting any guilt or negligence.”